We all do it. Some of us daily. Overthinking your every move, every thought, decision, or past events is the source of much of our unhappiness. Phycologists link overthinking negative thoughts to depression and anxiety disorders. When our mind is focused on the past or worrying about the future, we are more likely to feel unhappy in our present. When we let our mind wander, we miss out on the good things happening right now. So how do we learn to get out of our head and appreciate what we are experiencing in the moment? Keep reading for 11 ways to put a stop to your racing thoughts, get out of your head, and enjoy the present.
11 Ways To Get Out of Your Head
Practice Mindfulness Exercises to Get Out of Your Head
A mindfulness exercise is a practice in which you train your mind to avert your attention to what you are experiencing in the present. Mindfulness meditation techniques help you get out of your head. They can include breathing exercises, guided imagery, or just simply making a conscious effort to control your spiraling thoughts and be present. Practicing mindfulness in daily meditations can help you stay grounded in the present and end unwanted thoughts from consuming your mind. To begin, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie comfortably and uninterrupted for at least 10 minutes. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths, and pay attention to how your breath moves in through your nose and into your belly before exhaling out through your mouth.
Focusing on your breath makes it easier to get out of your head and clear your mind of any intrusive thought. To achieve this, pay attention to the sound of your breath or listen to white noise in the background. As thoughts begin to emerge (and they will) simply let them pass and refocus on the present and the sound of your breaths. Picture your thoughts as bubbles passing through your mind. Simply observe these thoughts as you picture them floating away. Imagery is another technique you can apply during mindful meditations and help train your mind to stay focused. For example, imagine yourself on a quiet beach and do your best to picture every detail. Think about what you see, feel, hear, and smell. Whenever a thought begins to intrude into your meditation, return to the image you’ve created. Mindfulness meditations can help to reduce anxiety, depression, and even help you sleep better.
Get Out of Your Head With a Workout
The benefits of exercise are numerous. Regular workouts strengthen your body, reduce your risk of diseases (like heart disease), help you lose unwanted fat, and improve your overall well-being. Exercise also stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as the happy hormones. When you are anxious, a short workout can help you get out of your head by distracting your mind and focusing on the task at hand. Through physical activity, you are less likely to stress over negative thoughts. Working out will force you to get out of your head and pay attention to what you are doing. Whether you are lifting weights, doing sprint intervals on a treadmill, or taking a brisk walk, you’ll need to focus on the current exercise. Plus, once those endorphins kick in, your negative thoughts will be replaced by a feeling of calmness and euphoria. Get out of your head by getting in shape.
Remember Your Point of Power
Get out of your head by reminding yourself that your point of power is now, not in the past, and not in the future. Your only point of power, or opportunity to make decisions and act, is right now, in the present. Dwelling on past events is fruitless. You cannot change the past or the decisions you made. Worrying about the future is equally as pointless. The future has not happened yet. You cannot predict what will happen because the future is uncertain. Every worst-case scenario you can conjure in your mind could come true, but so could the very best-case scenario, why worry? Either outcome is possible. When you allow your mind to drift to past, or perhaps future concerns, you only make your present unbearable. Get out of your head and focus on what can be accomplished right now. The present is where we have the power to make decisions and take action.
Get Out of Your Head by Repeating Affirmations
Your internal dialogue can affect your daily life positively or negatively. If you continually tell yourself you are worthless, you will likely start to feel worthless. However, if you tell yourself you have great potential, you will start to fulfil that potential. Keeping a positive mindset will help you get out of your head because positivity breeds positivity. Repeating affirmations to yourself is a great tool to aid in achieving a positive mindset. Affirmations work by rewiring your brain to accept different thoughts as beliefs. Your beliefs are what you yourself accept as fact. So, when you continually tell yourself that you are worthless or uninteresting, you will believe this. Thus, you will begin to subconsciously act in ways that may seem uninteresting to validate your sense of worthlessness.
But to get out of your head and rewire your brain into believing new ideas, you must repeat these new beliefs over and over to yourself. Positive affirmations plant these new beliefs into your mind. Whenever you are spiraling down the tunnel of negative self-talk, quickly replace these negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
Get Out of Your Head By Being Selfless
Continuously allowing our minds to be consumed with unpleasant thoughts or worry-some problems has a negative effect. These thoughts also tend to result in an overly self-involved persona. When we only focus on our problems, it’s easy to forget that other people have problems too. Get out of your head by stopping to think about someone else. Call up a friend or family member and see how they are getting along. Maybe there is someone you know who could use a helping hand. By redirecting your focus from your own problems, you can get out of your head. You may even start to see your problems from a different angle.
For example, maybe you’ve been upset recently because a love interest of yours won’t text you back. But if you get out of your head long enough to call up your best friend, you might discover the problems she is facing, trump yours. Suddenly your big problems seem small in comparison. You may even come to terms with the idea that the person who didn’t text you back isn’t interested. And you know what? That’s okay because there are plenty of fish in the sea. Get out of your head long enough to look at your problems from a different perspective, you may be surprised by what you find.
Watch Something Funny
You get out of your head by averting your attention elsewhere. So, why not avert your attention to something that makes you laugh? Research shows that laughter has numerous health benefits including but not limited to, stress reduction and immune system support. Funny movies and TV shows are great way to escape the reality for a short time, help us unwind, and laugh. If you need to get out of your head, take a break from your mental struggle and hit a comedy club. Laughing with a crowd of other people only heightens the experience and acts as even more of a distraction from your unwanted thoughts.
But if going to a comedy club isn’t possible, turn on the television and find the latest Netflix comedy special. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.
Isolation can be terrible for wandering minds. When you’re alone with no one to talk to, it’s easy to get stuck in your head. You may allow your anxiety to take over and find yourself in a full-blown panic attack. With no one else to bounce ideas off or speak to you internalize your problems. Get out of your head by calling up a friend or family member and arrange a time to meet. Humans need social interaction for survival. Positive social interactions are linked to reduced depression and a higher sense of belonging. Having people to talk to about your problems helps you to externalize them, and they will become less of a burden draining on your psyche.
Plus, spending time with the people you care about the most is what life is all about. It’s easy to forget what matters most in life, especially when we are consumed by our sometimes-trivial problems. Being with your friends and family allows you to get out of your head and enjoy your time in the present. Afterall, no one knows how long we have on this earth. Therefore, we should do our best to spend time with our loved ones before our time is up.
Get Out of Your Head With a Journal
Writing in a journal is therapy for your mind. Transferring your obsessive thoughts onto paper can bring you a sense of relief and release. Journaling is both a physical act and mental release. When your mind is spinning out of control with random thoughts, worries, or fears journaling can help. When bothersome thoughts preoccupy your mind, write them down in a journal, and get them out of your head. You may be surprised how effective this practice is in easing your mind. An additional benefit of journaling is it helps you focus. When thoughts are consuming you, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate on other tasks. Journaling helps to focus your mind by moving those thoughts and ideas into physical reality. When your thoughts and ideas are written out on paper, they no longer occupy space in your mind. It’s the same logic that applies to making a grocery list. If you have 20 different things you need to pick up from the store, you write a list, so you don’t forget. Once your list is written, you no longer need to continually remind yourself not to forget the eggs, or flour or whatever it is you need from the grocery store.
Working through your thoughts by journaling achieves the same goal. When all your worries or ideas are jotted down on paper, you can focus your attention elsewhere. Should you want to return to these thoughts later, all you need to do is read your journal. Psychologically, you’ll trick yourself into clearing your mind. Your journaling exercise can consist of writing whatever is on your mind in a stream of consciousness capacity or perhaps listing your thoughts work better for you. Maybe poetry is in your wheelhouse and is also your preference. apply to your life are also options. You may discover writing down positive affirmations you want to apply to your life is the best choice for you. If you just don’t know where to begin your journaling exercise, writing prompts are a great way to start. These prompts ask you to answer certain questions which, in turn, help you to reflect on your feelings. Whatever option you choose, journaling is a great way to get out of your head!
Do Something Creative
Being creative can reduce your symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as improve your immune system. Creative expression helps you get out of your head by transferring your restless emotions into art. Next time you are hurdling down the tunnel of overactive thinking, put yourself into a mode of creativity. Express your thoughts or emotions into a drawing or paint a picture. If drawing and painting isn’t your niche, try singing a song at karaoke place or dancing to your favorite tunes in the living room. Don’t worry about being any good, creative expression is not about being the best. It’s simply about self-expression. Being creative helps you to get out of your head by physically expressing your thoughts through a creative avenue.
Tap into your creative mind and let your worries slip away through creative expression.
Sometimes the best way to get out of your head is to act. If you are continually replaying a past mistake, fretting about a task you need to complete, or worried about how someone will react to news you have to share, act. Rip that band-aid off and do what needs to be done so you are no longer incessantly mulling it over in your head. For example, if you have a big project due that’s been hanging over your head, start working on it. As soon as you begin to actively work on your project, the anxiety you have over finishing it in time, will be reduced.
Or say you are driving yourself crazy by repeating in your mind a mistake you’ve made in the past. While you certainly can’t change the past, sometimes you can take actions that help you move forward. For example, maybe you regret saying something unkind or hurtful to someone in your past. You may wish you could take it back and you are haunted by it. While you can’t take back what you said, you can apologize. The act of expressing remorse to someone you’ve wronged can be a huge relief to your mental well-being. Regardless of their reaction, at the very least you can rest your mind knowing that you tried to make amends. If it’s not possible to reach out to them, apologize to them in your heart and vow to be a better person in the future. Any way you can act towards addressing your problems, fears, or anxieties, is the quickest way to get out of your head.
Spend Time in Nature
When life feels overwhelming, spending time in nature can help. Pausing for a moment to relish in natures beauty can be highly therapeutic. Do yourself a favor and get out of your head and get outside. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Pay close attention to the colors you see, the sounds you hear, and the sensations you feel. Take long deep breaths of invigorating fresh air, and allow the sights, sounds, and smells of nature to ease your troubled mind. Life is happening around us all the time, but often we don’t take the time to appreciate it. Spending time outdoors reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. Think of your time outdoors as an exercise in relaxation. Walking, running, biking, and gardening outdoors provides an excellent opportunity for you to get in touch with nature. Plus, getting your daily dose of vitamin D from the sunshine is good for both your physical and mental health.
Get Out of Your Head For Good
Negative thinking negatively affects your mood and overall well-being. Obsessing over personal issues contribute to depression, anxiety, and stress. Most of our anxious thoughts are baseless and generally the worst of our fears rarely come true. Get out of your head and start enjoying your life.