When you have something on your mind, it can be very distracting. There are essential things you have to do at times that require your undivided attention, and it is challenging to focus if you are thinking about something else. Sleeping is also tough if your mind won’t stop thinking about something.
Getting your mind off things is not always easy, though. It is human nature to worry, but worrying won’t do you any good. It can be very detrimental and cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. So, here are some things you can do to clear your mind.
The Problems with Worrying
Worrying causes a lot of unnecessary stress. You cannot change a situation by continually thinking about it, and continuously thinking about what is wrong can harm other areas of your life.
For example, if you are always thinking about things going wrong, you fail to see what is going right. There are a host of other problems that worrying causes, as well. A few of the adverse physical conditions caused by stress are below:
- Sleep disorders
- Loss of appetite
- Addictive behavior
- Suppressed immune system
The reason people suffer from these ailments is the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are meant to protect you in a flight or fight situation. However, when you expose your body to them over an extended period, you suffer the effects.
The production of the stress hormone, cortisol, can even have lasting effects on unborn children. Studies show the brain of a fetus develops differently if their mother is very stressed early in her pregnancy. These children grow up afraid of many things that do not frighten other people.
Unborn babies are not the only ones who suffer from prolonged exposure to cortisol, though. After extended periods, the brain of an adult will lose cells and shrink when cortisol is in the body. The area of the brain affected is responsible for memory.
Overthinking is also bad for relationships because people who overthink are usually insecure. Insecurities put a lot of strain on a relationship. If you are constantly worrying about someone not reciprocating your feelings, you will react accordingly. No one wants to continually reassure the person they are with that they want to be in the relationship.
All the things you conjure up might be unfounded. However, the negative scenarios you create by overthinking could cause you to fail. Furthermore, worrying about something will not change the outcome; it will just cause a lot more stress leading up to it.
These are some pretty compelling reasons to get your mind off things that are causing you stress. Furthermore, even if you do not think your thinking about something is stressing you out, chances are if it weren’t, you would be able to stop thinking about it.
Do Things You Enjoy
One of the best ways to stop thinking about something is to do something you enjoy. Of course, doing that might be difficult if you are at work or trying to sleep. However, if you are in the position, you should at least try to engage in an activity you like for a bit.
Listen to Music
You can listen to music almost anywhere, and listening to music is a great way to stop thinking about other things. It is best if you can get into it. Put on your favorite playlist and sing out loud if you can. If you can dance, that is even better.
If you are at a place where you cannot sing or dance, music can still be helpful. The great thing is you can throw on headphones, and almost immediately, your mood can change just from hearing an upbeat song.
Most types of music, as long as they make you feel good, are beneficial. They even help the areas of your brain that suffer from prolonged exposure to stress hormones.
Have a Night Out with Friends
Sometimes a night on the town with close friends is just what you need to clear your mind. Have fun, let loose, and just enjoy the moment. Just remember not to bring up your problems while you are out. Try to focus on just having a great time and living in the moment.
It is a good idea to hang out with someone good at making you laugh or someone who makes you feel good when you are with them. These friends generally have a knack for helping you focus your energy on things that make you happy.
Watch Your Favorite TV Show or Movie
Getting into a great TV show is a great way to focus on something other than your thoughts. If you can watch something with a friend or go to the movies that could work even better. That way, you are not just sitting there in your house where the thoughts can creep back in. Funny videos are often a good choice when you want to escape your feelings. However, anything you can get involved in will work.
Play a Game
Playing a game can be just what you need to turn your focus to something more entertaining. There are a million you can play, and you can pick one to play by yourself or with others. If you are racked with worry, try one that is funny and light-hearted. Ask a good friend to play with you or download a game on your phone.
Paint or Do Art
It does not matter if you are a good artist; art has many benefits for the brain. It even helps you to overcome negative emotions, which cause you to overthink, and it reduces stress. You do not have to create a Picasso. Even scribbling or coloring can help. So, pick up a box of crayons and a coloring book if you want to get your mind off things or create a masterpiece worthy of displaying.
Cook a Meal
Cooking a meal you have wanted to try is an excellent idea if you want to clear your mind. Cooking requires you to pay attention, especially if you are following a recipe and making something you have never made before. Plus, eating a good meal can help you feel good and provide your body with nutrients needed to reduce stress.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways of getting your mind off of things. However, it takes practice. Until you master it, you will likely not recognize the full benefits. There are many types of meditation.
So, it is essential to find what works for you. Some help you get to sleep faster, while others help you work through things in your life. There are even meditations to help you visualize yourself in an exotic destination.
No matter what type of meditation you choose, you should be left feeling refreshed, and after completing a meditation, it should be easier to keep your mind off of the things that are bothering you.
Gap meditation is genuinely one of the most freeing exercises you can engage in when you want to get your mind off something. It takes practice and persistence to achieve. However, if you cannot get something off your mind, you might as well try it. If you can achieve even a few seconds in the gap between your thoughts, your thoughts will slow down dramatically.
The reason this meditation is so tricky is that the human brain thinks around 60,000 thoughts every day. The majority of them are fleeting. If you keep thinking about something, chances are each thought regarding it is coming in rapid succession, and they are so fast you are not even aware of most of them.
If you always worry about things, this meditation is one of the absolute best ways to attain peace in your life. The benefits are far more significant than just eliminating unwanted thoughts.
To practice this form of meditation, sit in a quiet space. Try saying in your mind, “nothing, nothing, nothing.” Then, try to think of nothing. As previously mentioned, this is not the easiest thing to do. It is the best thing to do when you want to get your mind off something, though.
Once you master this skill, you will never have to worry about worrying about something again. It is like riding a bike. It is a skill you can take with you throughout your life. It is free, and you can do it anywhere.
For beginners, guided meditation might be a better method. You can find tons of these sessions on YouTube. Just try searching for one you will enjoy. Many of the best guided meditations are imagery-based. These meditations help you to visualize something, and they help you by replacing the thoughts in your mind.
You do not need a guided meditation to take yourself to another place using your mind. All you have to do is visualize being somewhere you would like to be. If you love the beach, just go to a quiet place in your home. Close your eyes, and see yourself in a beautiful tropical location.
Think about how it would look. Would there be people there, or would you be alone? Imagine the warmth from the sun and hear the waves crashing against the shore. If you like to swim, see yourself going into the water. Think about what the water would feel like on your feet.
You can pick any place, but the beach is a popular place to use in imagery-based meditation because it is a peaceful location that most people enjoy. The more that you do this type of meditation and visualize a specific place, the easier it will be to transport yourself there and set your mind free of constant chatter.
So, many people pick one place and try to master that. Others choose to do this meditation with whatever place they feel like being in the moment. It is also beneficial if you use a destination you have been before; that way, you can easily focus on all of the details.
Write Out How You Feel
Journaling is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental health. It is also a great way to get ideas off your mind without talking to anyone about it. Frequently, after writing about something, you no longer think about it. Just put it all on paper. Write down everything you feel.
You can also imagine the worst-case outcome of a situation and then address each of those outcomes. Come up with a solution for each scenario. Create an actionable plan to address each issue with steps you can take to achieve the results you want. When you do this, you are eliminating all of the what-ifs, and you should be able to feel better about any outcome because you are prepared no matter what.
Call a Friend
Talking to a close friend can help you get things off your chest. A supportive person might be able to help you see something about your situation that you are unable to realize, which could put your mind at ease.
However, it is also a good idea to call a friend and focus on them. Talking about something else can help you shift your focus. So, do not make it all about you or what is on your mind. Try having a conversation that will take your thoughts in a different direction.
It might not be easy to focus when you cannot stop thinking. However, you can take the opportunity to tackle tasks you have been putting off. This is especially helpful if you are overthinking because you do not have anything else to do.
Clean Your House
There are several reasons to clean your house if you want to free your mind. First, you will be focused on cleaning, and it is a productive activity. Second, creating a space that is calm and organized is more comfortable to relax in. When you look around and all you see are things out of place everywhere, it is difficult to feel good about yourself or any aspect of your life.
Even if you do not need to clean your house, you likely have something you need to organize. Perhaps you have meant to go through your clothes and donate the items you do not wear or tackle your junk drawer. Crossing these items off your to-do list will help you focus on something that will leave you feeling good about yourself.
When you can relax, you can slow down your mind, which will allow you to think less. Relaxation is the key to eliminating stress. However, resting when you are worrying is difficult. Luckily, some things are beneficial for helping you relax at home or almost anywhere.
Breathing is a great way to slow down your heart rate and become more peaceful. It is also essential to reducing a fight or flight response, which is often associated with persistent thoughts. Shallow breathing increases anxiety. However, taking deep breaths and holding them for several seconds almost immediately helps you to calm your mind.
Another thing that helps is being mindful of your breathing. By paying close attention, you can, even if only for a brief moment, clear your mind. The more you practice this technique, the more effective it is.
For the best results, do this for at least five to seven minutes. If your thoughts begin to wander, just release the thoughts and refocus on your breathing. To keep unwanted thoughts from pestering you, practice this exercise regularly. You can do it several times a week, each night before bed.
Mindful breathing is something you can do at work when you are sitting at your desk, or anywhere that you have a couple of minutes to spare. If you find yourself going all the time, take a few minutes to practice this technique while sitting in your car before you go inside that way, you can clear your mind before you have to tackle other tasks.
Take a Warm Bath
Few things are more relaxing than taking a warm bubble bath. If you are at home and have some time to yourself, creating a calm environment, and enjoying a warm soak in the tub can do wonders. You can also add things to the water to help relieve muscle tension caused by stress.
Relieving tension is good for lowering cortisol levels. It also helps to counteract the effects stress has on your body. Some useful bath additives are:
- Epsom salt
- Lavender essential oil
- Jasmine essential oil
- Rose petals
- Bubble bath
You can also turn down the lights and use candles. When you lower the brightness, your body can produce more melatonin, which helps you to relax and sleep better, as well.
Engage in Physical Activity
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and other hormones that make you feel good. Plus, physical activity is something beneficial you can do to help you focus on something other than what is bothering you. You will also feel good about taking care of yourself.
Go for a Walk
You can do something as simple as going for a walk. Walking is excellent for clearing your mind. While you are walking, try to focus on the little things around you. You can even make a game of it.
For example, try to see how many different types of birds you see while you are walking. Or try to find ten different kinds of flowers. You can also people-watch or just pay attention to the way the wind or sunshine feels on your skin.
Swimming is an enjoyable low-impact exercise, but there are some additional benefits it offers when you are trying to clear your mind. Water is peaceful, and being in a pool is relaxing. You can try doing laps in the pool to burn off energy, or just float around and take in your surroundings. Either way, being submerged in the water will likely help you feel better.
Yoga is a mild form of exercise that helps to stretch and lengthen the muscles. Doing this relieves muscle tension and has the same effect as other forms of physical activity without causing raising your heart rate so much, so doing yoga might be better before bed.
Hit the Gym
If you need to get to sleep, going to the gym right before bed is not a good idea. However, if you are angry about something lifting weights or running can help you release negative energy. Other amenities at the gym, like a steam room, are also beneficial.
Get Some Sleep
Taking a nap or going to bed early, if you can fall asleep, is a very effective way to reduce stress and get your mind off whatever is bothering you. After all, you can’t think about things if you are not awake. Furthermore, sleep helps to regulate your body. This is partly due to the production of melatonin and other beneficial hormones when you sleep.
Often, after you wake up, you will find that rest is precisely what you needed to clear your nagging thoughts. If you are not getting enough sleep regularly, everything seems more overwhelming. However, sleeping when you are worrying might not be easy. There are some things you can do to get to sleep faster, though.
Turn Off Devices
Turning off your phone and any other devices is essential when you are trying to fall asleep quickly. If you are not able to turn your phone off, turn the screen brightness down all the way. You should also turn off any notifications that might wake you.
Play Quiet Music
Soft music is a great way to create a relaxing environment. Think spa-type music. If this is not your thing, try playing rain sounds, or nature sounds. You can find all kinds of ambient sound videos on YouTube. Just make sure you have your phone backlight off, so the light does not interrupt your sleep.
There are a ton of aromatherapy products on the market. Grab a pillow spray or invest in an essential oil diffuser. Use calming scents like lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang to create peace in your surroundings.
Go to Bed Earlier
Often, the stress of needing to get to sleep causes your thoughts to race even more. So, if you get into bed earlier, you will not be as pressured, which should make it easier to relax. It is also a good idea not to keep looking at the time.
How to Get Your Mind Off Something When You Are Excited
Worry is not the only thing that can cause your mind to race. Excitement can have the same effect on the brain. Being excited about moving, starting a new job, going on a trip, or being in love can also cause you to become fixated on something.
It is a beautiful feeling to be excited about things. However, when you need to focus or fall asleep, it is very inconvenient. Plus, not being able to fall asleep can ruin a big day, and a lack of sleep can cause negative emotions to develop or make you feel overwhelmed.
Although these situations are usually few and far between, they do happen. The way you handle these situations will need to be a bit different. So, if you are lying in bed, unable to sleep because of excitement, just let the thoughts roll in and then release them.
Give yourself some time to think without fighting it. Take a bath before you get in bed to make sure you are relaxed. Shut off all the lights and get as comfortable as possible. Then, practice meditation. Guided meditations are particularly helpful at these times. You can also put on some soft music.
If it is the middle of the day, call a friend and tell them about what you have going on. Getting it out is a great way to get things off your mind. If you do not have a friend to talk to about what is going on, journal about it.
When you need to fall asleep, you can try reading a book. Most people get sleepy when they read because it helps you focus on one thing instead of having many thoughts popping up.
Trying to get your mind off something is one of the most challenging tasks you will ever do. However, mastering ways to do it that works for you is beneficial throughout your life. Once you become an expert at quieting your mind, you will see tons of benefits.
You will feel less stress, and your relationships will be healthier. You will likely start handling situations in more productive ways. You might even find that a lot of your problems were created in your mind.
Thoughts tend to materialize, so it is essential to find ways to focus on positive things. However, it is also just as important to be able to calm yourself down when you are happy or excited about something.
No matter the reason for your racing mind, you can use these simple and effective methods to help chill out. You just have to find what works best for you. You might need to do several things before you get relief. Do not give up, and if you find that something is no longer working for you, try something new.