Sponsored by Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare System
Have you ever had thoughts that just buzzed around inside your head, refusing to let you be? Usually negative and always grating, these thoughts bounce around and weigh you down all day, sapping your mental energy.
These negative thoughts can become particularly overwhelming when you’re experiencing powerful emotions, like sadness anger and anxiety. These emotions exacerbate these thoughts and make them seem louder and more unavoidable.
According to Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare, it is helpful to learn how to block these thoughts out. She recommends distracting yourself from these thought to give your mind some rest and peace.
English provides five tips for distracting your mind from these restless thoughts.
- Talk to Your Thoughts
By this, English means you should give your thoughts command, telling them to go away or to return at a later time. Whether you “talk” to your thoughts out loud or inside your mind, this is a way of resetting your thoughts in the moment.
- Listen to Music
For English, listening to music is a way of getting outside of your thought cycle. Music, she says, is powerful and can help you focus on it while drawing your mind away from what has bothered it.
- Do Something Active
Get up and get active, whether it is stretching, running, doing yoga or another favorite exercise. Becoming active, English says, puts the focus on your body and takes you outside of your mind.
- Think of a Happy Memory or a Funny Joke
This is a way of using powerful but positive emotions to overwhelm the negative thoughts.
- Practice Mindfulness
English recommends taking deep breaths and becoming mindful of yourself and surroundings when you are overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Focus on the now, instead of your anxious feelings about the future or about things outside your control.
However, English cautions that distracting yourself from negative thoughts might not be helpful if they are persistent thoughts. In this case, it is important to ask yourself why you are having these thoughts and if you need to see a therapist to address them.