As humans, we overthink. It’s natural.
Whether it’s a recent breakup or an unpaid parking ticket, overarching stress is constantly trying to sneak its way into our minds. And while unwanted thoughts can be scary, we often don’t realize, is that we always have the power to control them.
No matter what has your mind racing, you can always shift your mindset or gear your thoughts elsewhere with a few simple tactics.
The goal is to take a step back to focus on only what we can control. With these techniques, all other thoughts of uncertainty will begin to fade in time.
How To Take Your Mind Off Something Stressful
When a certain thought is overwhelming you, or you can’t seem to get it off your mind, meditation is a powerful way to shift your mindset.
By activating the body’s natural relaxed state, meditation provides a clear way to let the stress leave your body. it provides practices with a deeper understanding of their mind and emotions, subsequently allowing them to take control of such.
If you already have a meditation practice you love, be sure to put it to work in times of overthinking.
If you’re new to meditation, there are a ton of guided practices to get you started. Guided meditation is great for both newbies and experts as it allows ample room for your focus to remain on yourself. Following a voice will leave little room for your mind to wander back to whatever is causing it turmoil.
Check out our blog featuring Guided Meditations By Rick Hanson to get you started.
While the goal of these techniques is to get our minds away from overwhelming thought, we often need to acknowledge that thought head-on before we are able to do so.
Journaling is one of the best ways to recognize a feeling before letting it go.
If you are new to journaling, we recommend starting with a prompt. Try beginning your entry with one of the ones below:
- Simply start by writing down everything that taking up space in your mind
- Today I choose to let go of things that no longer serve me. This includes… (your overarching thought).
- Despite all the challenges you may be facing, what do you love about your current life?
Breathing is a great way to get your mind off of things. Exercises like the 4×4 technique, also known as both breathing, works by giving your mind the opportunity to focus solely on one thing: your breath.
The best part about box breathing is that it can be done from anywhere at any time. All you need is the right mindset.
Here’s how it works:
- Inhale your breath for a count of 4
- Pause for a count of 4, holding in the air
- Exhale for a count of 4
- Exhale and pause for a count of 4.
A few things to remember:
To get the most benefits out of 4×4 breathing, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping good posture. Further, when you’re comfortable, you may want to increase the length of your breaths to 6 or even 8 seconds.
As you breathe through this cycle, you’ll begin to notice your breath becoming more full and even. As these long, full breaths increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, your mind will begin to relax as all other thoughts and worries fade.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to remember that you are in control and these thoughts are only as strong as you allow them to be.
There are many ways to get your mind off of worries and onto what matters, but these three approaches are a great place to start.