How to get your mind off of something negative
Have you ever had a thought that you just can't get out of your head? No matter how much you try, it keeps coming back and haunting you? The detrimental part about negative thoughts that won't subside, is when they begin to sink you and take hold of more than just your mind. Negative thoughts can do a lot more harm than you might think. I believe that everything starts in our minds, from our physical health to our well being and happiness. So, as you know, a thought you can't shake is just as frustrating as getting sick, if not worse. Our minds are just as important to keep healthy as our physical bodies, if not the most important. How can we even think of running a marathon if our mind isn't first made up that it's what we are going to do? Here is an article I wrote on how you can identify which thoughts are lies and which ones are the truth, as to begin to heal our brains and have a better chance at shaking the bad thoughts. After all, practice makes perfect. That being said here are a few simple and practical steps to take to begin to learn how to control our thoughts, and get your mind off of something that is bringing you down.
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1. Change your environment
I can't tell you how many times I have laid awake in my bed and that negative, nagging thought is rolling around in my head like a metal ball in a pinball machine. Back and forth the thought goes until I realize two hours have gone by and I'm still dwelling. Negative thoughts or even thoughts, in general, are the number one cause of my insomnia. I am no psychologist or doctor, so that's just my opinion based solely off of my experiences. It is especially true for the person who has the tendency to be a people pleaser, and or a creative person, like me. My best ideas come alive when my head hits the pillow, which makes it very difficult for me to turn off and fall asleep.
The first step I will share with you has helped me to shake that thought whether I am tossing and turning in bed, or sitting at home doing nothing. Changing your environment wherever you are will not only force your mind to take a different turn, it will ignite your senses to acknowledge something else that is going on around you. I will get to our senses later and how we can use them to get something off of our mind, but right now let's focus on how changing your environment can help change your mindset.
Go into another room
Sometimes if I simply get up to use the bathroom, or go make a cup of tea, it forces my mind to focus on something else.
Do something productive
Obviously, if you're trying to get to sleep and it's 1 am, this may not be an option. But keeping your hands busy, will help your mind to settle down. Cleaning the house, reading a book, making cookies, working out, are just a few things to get your mind off of something by changing your environment.
2. Make a schedule
I have heard that stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, and people who own their own businesses are the most susceptible to anxiety, panic attacks, suicide, and depression. What do they all have in common? A lack of a schedule. Why do you think that is? They have too much time on their hands to think about things they shouldn't. It is with idle time that our minds can go to the darkest of places. Not to say there isn't a time and place for doing absolutely nothing. But I know from personal experience when I have nothing to do, my mind will go to some pretty dark places.
3. Ignite your senses
Have you ever gone outside in nature and immediately felt peace? Not only is getting into nature the best way to get your mind off of something, it is the best place to practice what I am about to share. Going along with changing your environment, simply stepping outside will cause your senses to change and adjust to a new and refreshing perspective. It gets your mind off the problem, and onto something tangible and beautiful.
How to use 3 of your 5 senses to get something off of your mind
Like I said, even if it's simply stepping onto your back porch or outside of your workplace, getting outside is the best place to do this exercise.
5 4 3 2 1 - Hearing, Feeling, and seeing
Hear - List 5 things that you can hear around from you. The birds chirping, the cars driving by, the sound of water rushing, etc.
Feel - Now list 5 things you can feel around you. The wind, the cold cement you're sitting one, the pain between your eyes that your headache is causing. Anything you feel physically, name it off.
See - List 5 things that you observe from your environment. The man across the street getting in his car, the green trees, the leaves changing, etc.
Now, in that same order list 4 things you hear, feel, and see. Then 3, then 2, and 1. It's totally fine to repeat what you have observed before.
Not only can this exercise help you get your mind off of something, it can help you to settle down if you're having a panic attack, feeling depressed, or having suicidal thoughts.
4. Just Breath
Breathing techniques are not news to most of you, but it still rings true for an amazing way to get your mind off of something. I use this as a guide for getting my mind off of something, reducing stress, and falling asleep. Mindfulness meditation, number 4 to be exact.
I hope these tips can be used for your benefit in getting your mind off of something you don't want to think about, or just using as a relaxation tool.
If you do have trouble sleeping like me, here are some great natural options that have helped me.