• 5 Easy Strategies to Quiet Your Mind and Stop Repetitive Thoughts

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    Learn how to stop repetitive thoughts and get practical tips to help you quiet your mind.

    Repetitive thoughts, or thoughts that circle round and round, are called rumination. The repetitive thoughts usually focus on the following:

    • why a situation is the way it is or the cause
    • what could happen because of the situation or the consequences
    • how or what the person is experiencing or the symptoms

    For example, when something embarrassing happens, it’s unpleasant, which can result in thinking about the situation over and over after it is over. When you ruminate about something negative, it often feels like you can’t turn off the thoughts, which usually leads to feeling even worse. That’s how repetitive thoughts transform a situation from a regular human fumble into a big event that leaves you feeling emotionally spent, ashamed and regretful.

    Here are some things that may lead to rumination:

    • Stressors (kids, work, relationships, money)
    • A traumatic event (chronic illness diagnosis, unexpected accident/loss, natural disaster)
    • Perfectionism
    • Low self-esteem
    • Facing a fear
    • Reminders of a past mistake or failure

    2 Types of Rumination

    Repetitive thoughts or ruminations with a quality of being obsessive are one of two types: reflective or brooding. Reflective rumination is a cycle of thinking focused on problem-solving. Brooding rumination is passively comparing your situation to a standard you haven’t attained.

    Brooding usually leads to negative self-talk, which can then lead to a cycle of negative coping behaviors, such as pessimism, comparisons, worry, stress-related eating, drinking, over-exercise and the list can go on and on.

    On the other hand, reflective rumination, while uncomfortable, is more forward-thinking. It involves thinking about changing the situation and relieving stress to get unstuck from the repetitive thought cycle.

    How to Stop Repetitive Thoughts

    1. Gratitude

    Showing gratitude can seem far too simple, yet the research suggests that gratitude teaches repetitive thoughts. Practicing gratitude can lead to being more appreciative of difficult situations and lead to strategies that transform them into positive ones. Starting a gratitude practice is simple. It could be listing three things you’re grateful for in your day before you go to sleep, saying ‘thank you,’ or even smiling at someone who has helped you. Small gestures of kindness and appreciation can go a long way.

    2. Body Scan

    Body awareness can help you be in the present moment instead of focusing on the past, which is what repetitive thinking does. A body scan lets you locate your body in space and time and supports your ability to stay grounded in the present. Do a quick body scan the next time you notice thoughts cycling in your brain. You can start with your feet or at the top of your head. Pay attention to physical sensations – your feet, legs, torso, arms, neck and head will all feel slightly different. Allow the experience to ground you in the present moment and focus only on your body scan. You’ll notice that the repetitive thoughts are quiet as you give your brain a new task to focus on.

    3. Meditation

    Consistent meditators with long-term meditation practice report fewer instances of both rumination and depression. Meditating can help improve your emotional awareness by staying present and reducing your focus on regrets. Meditating also helps to strengthen self-compassion, which is essential when the repetitive thoughts focus on mistakes or negative situations.

    4. Stop Overthinking

    Many studies in the psychology literature show paying too much attention to your thoughts leads to distress. Most people who struggle with repetitive thoughts report their thoughts are about negative situations or evaluations of themself. Many repetitive thoughts are likely focused on shortcomings in your life, your ability to control your emotions, or relationships. Mindfulness can give you some mental space and reduce overthinking so you can transform it into increased self-awareness.

    5. Self-compassion

    Rumination is often focused on a negative interpretation of a situation and self-criticism usually follows, resulting in fueling the repetitive thought cycle. The antidote can be found in a self-compassion practice. The psychology research shows that a self-compassion practice makes it less likely that adverse situations will lead to repetitive thoughts and depression. Another benefit of self-compassion is it can help reduce overthinking by getting you outside of yourself and connecting you with others. ​


    If you struggle with repetitive thoughts or rumination, the tips above can help you stop overthinking and break the cycle. The result is that you feel less isolated, so you can interrupt the cycle. The first step is to take action and break the cycle so you’re in control of your thoughts.

  • How to Gain Momentum without Stress Eating or Burning Out

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    Learn the 5 steps needed to keep up your forward momentum without stress eating or burning out.

    Cathartic – bringing about relief from strong emotions, usually by expressing them (Merriam-Webster).

    We are encouraged to “just get it out and you’ll feel better,” which is true often. Most of my clients feel relieved when they talk through pent-up feelings. It’s the feeling of a weight being lifted off their shoulders. And the result is feeling less stressed, even for a little bit.  

    Sometimes, an epiphany, spark, insight, or whatever it is called will happen, but that is rare.

    Simply understanding why or when stress eating starts rarely stops it in the future, and your forward momentum without stress eating requires different skills.

    Waiting for the ‘why’ to appear wastes your time and energy. You can use energy to create momentum that moves your life in a less stressful and more positive direction.

    Momentum provides the energy for action-taking so that you receive what you need.

    Instead of spinning around in circles, re-experiencing the emotion repeatedly, harness that energy and use it to transform your relationship with stress eating and burnout.

    You can propel your life into a life of kindness, self-compassion and fulfillment. You can change your relationship with yourself and keep up your momentum without stress eating and burning out.

    The key is to increase your emotional awareness so that you know how to support yourself when you experience a specific emotion.

    Right at the beginning, the most challenging part of the process is the decision to act, and the rest is focus and tenacity.

    Even when stress is high and you feel spen,t youcan stilln make changes that matter.

    The Stages of Change Model is a great framework to understand the change process. Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska conceptualized these changes based on their research about how people can move out of addiction. Many studies have shown that the process is the same regardless of whether it’s addiction, a job, an organization, or stress eating.

    There are five stages of change:

    1. Pre-contemplation – not ready or not aware that there’s a problem.
    2. Contemplation – knowing there’s a problem and you want to do something about it but are not ready yet.
    3. Determination – you make a plan on how to solve the problem.
    4. Action – you take action on your plan to solve the problem.
    5. Maintenance – you do what you need to do to maintain the solution.

    Since you’re reading this article, you’re most likely in the contemplation stage. You know there’s a problem. You want to change it, but you’re unsure how it’s getting to you. Another thought might be that you don’t know if the solution will be any better than the current one, even when you know it’s not helpful. Lastly, you might not be ready to give up the solution, no matter how much it pains you.

    The next stage of determination is when you’re making the plan and using the tools below to help you develop your plan to stop stress, eating and burning out. Your hope is growing and you’re optimistic that life will be better without stress eating.

    Action is the stage where you implement your plan and make adjustments as needed. As you progress in this stage, you’ll experience relief from stress eating and the peace of Conscious Eating.

    Below is a plan to help you move through these three middle stages of change. Moving through the stress is worth the effort, so you can live free from stress eating and prevent burnout.

    Here is the 5-step process to work with your feelings and gain momentum without stress eating or burning out.

    1. Get the feeling out.

    This is where it’s all about catharsis. Get the feeling out of your head and on paper through journaling, in conversation with someone, in artwork, etc. Just get it outside of yourself so you can get a little distance from it living inside you.

    Go outside and experience the feeling while getting fresh air and perspective.

    Focus on how you experience the feeling and any new insight about it.

    Allow yourself time to understand the feeling as you experience it. The more you consciously experience the feeling, the more awareness of what can help increases.

    2. Specifically, identify the feeling.

    The next step is to increase your knowledge of the feeling you’re experiencing.

    What sense do you have of the feeling?

    What does it feel like in your body?

    Does the feeling increase anxiety, anger, impatience, or something else?

    This will help you figure out what you need to calm the feeling.

    When you listen to what your mind, body and heart communicate, you’ll have the necessary information to move to the next step.

    3. Specifically, identify the feelings surrounding the situation.

    Take note of the more minor feelings that pop up as you spin around the feeling that’s got your attention.

    What other aspects of the feeling are you noticing? Sometimes, it’s helpful to think of them as sub-feelings. Think of them in terms of percentages. It might be 10 percent of one feeling, 30 percent of another, 70 percent of a different one.

    These feelings add to the quality of the main feeling you’re experiencing. They will help you understand your relationship with yourself more fully.

    They also help you to define what you need from yourself, your body and others.

    4. Specifically, define what you need.

    Now that you have a pretty good idea of the qualities of the feeling you’re experiencing and the more minor feelings that help to shape your experience.

    Take a step back and look at the big picture –

    What is it that you wish you could have to make it better?

    Are there skills that could calm or soothe the feeling?

    What will get you closer to your goal?

    5. Now, take a few minutes and think about a variety of choices you can make to move you closer to living your life more fully, more consciously.

    This can even include “not yet.” It’s okay to take time for planning. The challenge is increasing your awareness of when you’re scared and procrastinating so you’ll know when it’s time to take the leap and get moving.


    Getting started is often the most challenging part of any journey. Moving from a standstill takes more energy than taking one step after another. When you feel burned out, it takes even more energy. Yet, when you change a bit at a time, it adds up and can change everything.

    Most of the time, people get overwhelmed by feelings because they’ve never known that understanding your emotions is a skill that can be learned at any point in life. Gaining momentum without stress eating or burnout is easier when you have a framework to manage your emotions. Today is the day that changes for you!

  • 9 Practical Ways to Go From Stressed Out to Stressless

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    Are you feeling stressed out?

    There are so many reasons to be stressed out. But before you start looking for reasons why stress is getting the best of you, let’s bring it down.

    Stress reduction techniques you want to engage with suit your long-term well-being and happiness.

    Whether it’s –

    • misplacing your keys before an early meeting at work
    • being worried about an upcoming doctor’s appointment
    • having to give a presentation in front of your classmates,

    stress is a universal experience. Our daily stress levels can fluctuate due to our circumstances with work, health, or our families and friends. More extensive situations, such as global pandas, natural disasters, or political issues, can also increase stress levels.

    While we may not always be in control and feel stressed out, we are responsible for how we respond to stress. Here are some ways to deal with stressful situations and learn how to reduce stress’s impact on your well-being.

    Ways To De-Stress

    You might have a never-ending to-do list, meetings that could have been emails, or be stuck in traffic that makes your hectic life just that much busier and leaves you feeling stressed out. Finding time for yourself in the mix of your responsibilities is challenging. Luckily, even with a handful of free minutes a day, you can take action on a few things to help you calm and lower your stress.

    Here are some examples to help you go from stressed out to stressless.

    1. Go for a short walk.

    Walking lets us clear our minds, get fresh air, and move our bodies. When we go outside, our minds become stimulated by the outdoor environment rather than the internal stress we may focus on. Additionally, physical activity releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones in the brain that support pain relief.

    2. Take a music break.

    Music can feel therapeutic because listening to songs you enjoy, singing along with, or dancing releases a neurotransmitter, or a chemical messenger, in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine has several functions, but some of its functions include lowering blood pressure and feeling contentment, which may result in better moods.

    3. Call a loved one.

    It may be beneficial for you to pick up the phone to hear someone else’s voice when the stress in your head begins to feel loud. According to health psychology, social support is an incredible tool for stress relief, coping with difficult situations, and even overcoming illnesses. Talking to a loved one can help you feel less alone, especially during tough times.

    4. Cuddle with your fur baby.

    Touch and affection can positively impact your well-being. Research has shown that both can reduce cortisol—the hormone in our bodies that induces stress reactions. Not only can a quick at-home pet therapy session make you de-stress, but it can also improve the bond with your pet.

    5. Give mindfulness meditation a try.

    In recent years, mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly popular stress relief technique. Mindfulness meditation is centering ourselves by bringing awareness to the present moment.

    6. Take a hot bath or shower.

    Research suggests a hot bath or shower about 90 minutes before bed can help lower stress. When you feel elevated levels of stress emotionally, your body can feel the physical effects of tension, muscle aches, and overall fatigue.

    7. Reduce caffeine intake.

    It may be best to keep caffeine reserved for your morning coffee. Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can alter your sleep patterns, keep you awake when you’re tired and elevate your stress levels.

    8. Read instead of scroll.

    Between Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, we have more than enough apps on our phones that make it easy to absorb content endlessly. If you catch yourself repeatedly saying, “Just one more video,” and realizing it is past your bedtime, it may be time to limit your phone use before bed. The downside of scrolling on your phone late at night is that the blue light from screens can reduce the production of melatonin, a hormone in our bodies that induces sleep. If you’re craving relaxation before bed, try picking up a book you might enjoy.

    9. Write about it.

    When we face stressors, it’s easy to bundle up all our emotions about the situation. Sometimes, putting any intrusive or anxious thoughts out on paper can clarify your issues or help you find new ways to solve problems—not to mention release all your emotions about your stressors onto paper.


    We all experience some stress, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been at least a few times a year. No matter the magnitude of our stressors, the situations that elevate stress can weigh heavy on your mind and body. Well-being habits can help you de-stress every day and enhance your happiness level. I hope this article provides some options and inspires you to compile your favorite list of stress management techniques.  ​

  • How to Change Your Relationship With Stress!

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    There are two ways most people think about reducing your stress:

    1. Quick “fix” tools or strategies to push stress away.
    2. Shift the way you relate to stress.

    When you do both, you have self-knowledge, tools, and skills. Which leads you to be in control of your emotions and responses to whatever happens in your life.

    Relying on “quick fix” strategies to deal with stress can leave you feeling stressed and stuck.

    Long-term strategies can be so overwhelming you can get swept up in not knowing how to lower it right now.

    There are a lot of strategies for coping with stress, but what works when you need it most is the goal.

    Sustainable Stress Solutions

    A sustainable system for quick reductions, like when someone cuts you off on the freeway. And long-term, big-picture ways to keep your baseline level lower, like when you have small children, your business is expanding, or anything else that happens over a long time.

    Changing your relationship so that you’re in control even when it seems there’s no way you can be. The trite saying, the only thing we can count on is death and taxes. But I think we should also add stress to the list too. It will always be a part of life.

    Things will pop up unexpectedly, like:

    • The dog eats another sock and needs to go to the vet.
    • Your computer crashes when you’re in the middle of a transaction.
    • Your child must be picked up from school early because she has a sore throat.
    • You need to help your aging parents transition out of their home.
    • No matter how much you try, the 20 pounds you gained in lockdown isn’t going anywhere!

    So how do you change your relationship with stress and why is it a relationship anyway?

    We are always in a relationship with someone or something.

    Relationships are about interactions with others and the environment. It’s true for ourselves, too – we have relationships with thoughts, feelings, and actions that we take.

    We’re in the process of both experiencing and creating meaning at the same time.

    The more complex the relationship, the deeper and more critical the relationship’s meaning in our lives.

    Stress is part of our complex relationship with ourselves.

    One effective way of dealing with stress is to understand that you are always in a relationship with stress.

    Instead of trying to remove stress from your life, view it as an essential part of your life. Stress is something to be aware of and always in relationship with whatever else you are experiencing.

    As we all know, relationships have hundreds of different aspects operating simultaneously.

    Internalized Meaning

    We have internalized meanings based on all the experiences we have lived:

    • what our parents said to us
    • meaning we attached to specific emotions
    • what our parents’ beliefs are vs. our own
    • how teachers treated us
    • what value was placed on communicating our thoughts and feelings

    These are usually the unexamined assumptions we make about life. You might notice them when you have a judgment about someone’s decisions. 

    Take politics, for example; if you have strong opinions on one side, you might be utterly perplexed at how the opposite side believes what they believe.

    Most likely, the internalized meanings the other has fundamentally oppose your own internalized meanings that shape how you think the country needs to be governed.

    Externalized Meaning

    We have externalized meanings about a lot of things, like:

    • assessments from our teachers, bosses, parents, etc.
    • what we interpret others are thinking – without confirmation
    • values you receive from society, religion, work, school, etc.
    • implied meaning from laws and rules that give you a code of conduct

    Externalized meaning tells you the larger culture’s viewpoint on how to behave or what you should do to get along with others. We often assume that the meaning is correct and that it is THE way to live your life.

    Sometimes they are; it’s not good to kill people and there will be both societal and personal consequences if you do. Most people will feel regretful if they kill someone. Regret may be a personal consequence, but there are exceptions to societal consequences like self-defense, war and accidents – all based on the meaning the external forces give to the situation.

    What changes our relationship with stress?

    The internalized and externalized meanings shape your relationship with specific emotions and guide you on which action to take based on the meaning. If you struggle with emotional mastery, it’s challenging to be in alignment with what you need and want in your life, which increases your baseline level of stress. The relationship with stress changes all the time. You’re more likely to react out of self-protection than to mindfully choose what is congruent with what you need and want.

    We all need quick fixes some of the time. When you’re feeling an immediate escalation of distress, anger, or fear, calming your brain as quickly as possible might be what’s best. Tools, techniques, and strategies that you can rely on are what’s needed at the moment.

    The problem is that, at best, we’re taught quick fixes as if they are the only option. Sometimes, we’re not taught anything other than “just learn how to deal with it.” It was not very helpful since there were no instructions about what to learn!

    Stress will always be with us in some form since we have a relationship with stress.

    It’s a tension in life that can help to propel you forward to where you want to be.

    Wrapping Up

    Burnout and feeling overwhelmed aren’t possible when stress is kept at an overall lower level.

    You can establish well-being habits that help you quickly decrease stress spikes and live with a lower baseline stress level.

    If you can change how you think about stress, love, life and its meaning, you can make it work for you instead of against you. It’s different than trying to avoid, eliminate, or ignore stress; it’s working with what happens in your life and making meaning that moves you forward.