As a person with obsessive thoughts, sometimes I find it very difficult to distract from going back to the event that triggered my thoughts over and over again.
Recently I came up with a list of few things that I tend to do to help switch my attention from that annoying voice in my head that depicts the worst possible scenarios. The most difficult part is to recognize the moment when I start to run in circles inside my head, getting all worked up and exhausted.
So, the few things I do:
- Remind myself of the good things I have/achieved. My biggest disappointment lately has been my job. While I like the organization I work at, I felt a bit behind in my career development. However, every time I start to worry that I won’t ever achieve anything else in life, I literally remind myself about all terrible jobs that I had in the past. When I graduated, I agreed to the first offer I got and was happy to get it! It turned out to be a nightmare, but it didn’t matter, as long as got paid. And thanks to my current employment, I was able to visit many countries, both for work or just vacation, and move to the States, and help my parents, and be independent… Every time I feel stuck, I tell myself that it all could have been much much worse.
- Simply do something physical. Too much exercise may be bad too – been there, done that. If you exercise every day, for a few hours, it may be a sign of a problem – at least it was for me. But, moderate cardio activity does help me “ventilate” my mind. That’s no surprise, of course, since exercise increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps reduce depression and pain. So when I feel down, I like to hop on my bike and go for an hour long ride, or simply do one of millions HIIT workouts from YouTube. Like this one from FitnessBlender.
- Listen to somebody. Sometimes we get too self-absorbed, and all we can think about are our problems, our life, our small-small world. Even when we talk to our friends and family, we keep thinking only about own issues. I keep catching myself in moments like this and immediately feel bad. Compassion is a powerful feeling, and very often we can help another person just by carefully listening to them. The amazing thing is that by hearing people’s stories and sharing their feelings, we help ourselves.
- Listen to the music. This is one of my favorites. I can’t imagine living without the music. I turn it on when I am getting ready in the morning, when I am on my way to work, when I work and when I exercise. Even now, when I am writing this, I am listening to instrumental music that helps me concentrate. I am also official live concert addict, and good thing that somebody already came up with ten reasons it’s totally fine. I the next three months I have four concerts lined up, including one today, and just a thought of it makes me happy and excited. Life is pretty good with music (or at least so much better than without it).