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What Is Mental Chatter? How To Relax And Avoid Overthinking For Good

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What Is Mental Chatter? How To Relax And Avoid Overthinking For Good

As a society, we’ve generally been a whole lot more receptive and understanding of mental health, and have learned to tap into mindfulness and assess our wellbeing when something isn’t quite right. 

But mental chatter and stress is something that can strike and take over even the most zen and mindful human beings. 

Factors like work, financial responsibilities and even home life can be a trigger for stress, and sometimes it isn’t as simple as just eliminating what’s making you stressed. So, how can you relax and avoid overthinking for good?

Well, LADbible has enlisted the help of an NHS psychologist, a personal trainer and a yoga teacher for the best ways to overcome stress and eliminate that annoying mental chatter for good.

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What is mental chatter?

Mental chatter can be described as the ongoing string of thoughts, whether anxious, panicked or otherwise, which overload your mind. You might be familiar with the constant stream of to-do lists, second-guessing, relationship or money concerns floating around in your mind.

Aysha Bell, a meditation, yoga, breath and healing expert explains that mental chatter “is the ongoing dialogue that most of us live through.”

“There is always some kind of activity going on in the mind. Unfortunately, a lot of the time it can be negative.”

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Mental chatter can be described as the ongoing string of thoughts, whether anxious, panicked or otherwise, which overload your mind ( engin akyurt on Unsplash).
Mental chatter can be described as the ongoing string of thoughts, whether anxious, panicked or otherwise, which overload your mind ( engin akyurt on Unsplash).

She adds: “Part of this can be imposter syndrome when we get thoughts creeping in filling us with doubt, this can cause anxiety and panic attacks in some people.”

Despite the unsettling nature of mental chatter, it’s totally normal to have those thoughts. You’ve just got to learn to train your mind away from them - and you’ve conquered half the battle by reading this article (well done you!).

How do I relax my mind?

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Relaxing your mind can sound like a daunting task - but it doesn’t have to be. NHS psychologist Gemma Applegarth explains that “something as small as taking five minutes to actually be with that cup of coffee” can be enough to tap into your senses and relax.

“That may sound strange but often we go through life on autopilot. We never really taste the coffee, as we are busy thinking about the next bit of our day or going over something that has already happened. 

“See if you can bring all your senses to the drink, really taste it, smell it, feel it in your mouth, on your tongue and trickling down your throat.”

NHS psychologist Gemma Applegarth explains that “something as small as taking five minutes to actually be with that cup of coffee” can be enough to tap into your senses and relax (Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash).
NHS psychologist Gemma Applegarth explains that “something as small as taking five minutes to actually be with that cup of coffee” can be enough to tap into your senses and relax (Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash).
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Applegarth also believes it's important to prioritise socialising when you’re stressed, even though going out and seeing people might be the last thing on your mind.

She explains: “It's tempting when we are stressed to drop all our social activities as we often feel we don't have time or won't be sociable. 

“However, connecting with others can be the perfect tonic to stress. It allows us a chance to move our minds away from the stresses of daily life, to be ourselves and to get back a sense of who we are.”

Another way to relax is to “allow stress to leave your body” through activities like exercise or meditation. 

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“Stress has a tendency to store in our bodies. We have all this adrenaline pumping around our bodies that has nowhere to go, leading to tension in our muscles and bones. We need to physically release the tension,” Applegarth explains.

What activities are good for mental health?

If your mental health needs a bit of TLC, or you’re struggling with mental health issues like depression or anxiety, there are activities you can take up to help alleviate some of those symptoms - like exercise.

Diren Kartel, a personal trainer recognises that when exercising, “we are releasing chemicals called endorphins in our brain which make us feel a lot happier, as well as dopamine which also has a positive effect on our brain and our mental state.” 

It may be beneficial to try going to a fitness class or try a sport “where someone else is guiding you so that you don’t stress over what you’re meant to be doing,” he advises.

Diren Kartel, a personal trainer recognises that when exercising, “we are releasing chemicals called endorphins in our brain which make us feel a lot happier" (Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash).
Diren Kartel, a personal trainer recognises that when exercising, “we are releasing chemicals called endorphins in our brain which make us feel a lot happier" (Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash).

However, some people can be triggered by “being in a group environment, so if this is you and you prefer to be alone, then choose something like walking, running or yoga where you can be in your own space.”

Bell believes that meditation and practising mindfulness is great for benefiting mental health and promotes relaxation, too.

“When we practise mindfulness we are very much in the present and able to work through things in a calm way that might normally cause knee jerk reactions,” the mindfulness coach explains. 

“Mindfulness practices can help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment.”

Bell believes that meditation and practising mindfulness is great for benefiting mental health and promotes relaxation, too (Aysha Bell)
Bell believes that meditation and practising mindfulness is great for benefiting mental health and promotes relaxation, too (Aysha Bell)

If you want to try meditating, you should “breathe naturally, get comfortable with discomfort and don’t judge”. 

She explains: “Using the same time and place each day will create a space and routine. Introduce a mantra of inhaling love and gratitude for myself exhaling love and gratitude for yourself.”

And if the idea of meditation is daunting to you, “listening to guided meditation is a great way to get you into a regular practice and helps to shut out the chatter that we all experience. 

“Be gentle with yourself, thoughts will come. Observe them with love and gratitude.”

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash Madison Lavern / Christian Erfurt

Topics: Mental Health, Sport

Gabriella Ferlita
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