We all have those moments (or days) when we get in our head too much. Our constant stream of thought is running the show. We get stuck in the past. We future trip. We overthink a decision to death. It can be agony and sometimes physically painful.
It’s easy to get stuck in our heads; to let our thoughts completely consume us. But thoughts only stick around for as long as we allow them to.
Instead, get out of your head and go out into the world. Replace ruminating thoughts with physical activities that will refocus your mind and help you feel better. When you need to get outta your noisy head and into a calm zone, here’s what to do:
1. Go for a nature walk. Go for a walk and fade into the environment around you, and listen for sounds you’d otherwise have missed. Watch a sunset from the most beautiful view in your city.
2. Do one thing every day to work towards a dream. Everything starts with the first step. Identify your goal and the changes needed, and take that first leap. You’ll soon be on your way to achieving your dreams, rather than just thinking about them
3. Forgive. Forgiving another person (or yourself) can help you to move on from the past and release yourself from negative emotions and thoughts.
4. Go to a cafe and people watch while sipping on a caramel latte. Grab a nice book with you.
5. Spend the morning at a bookstore; venturing through worlds within the many books.
6. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. And yes, call. Don’t text.
7. Notice the hobbies you enjoy so much that you lose a sense of time. Do these more often!
8. Make the decision to let go of toxic relationships and nourish positive connections. Nourishing positive relationships will enrich your life, filling your mind with more positive thoughts and memories.
9. Let go of regrets. You could write a letter to yourself or make a list and then burn or throw it into a stream as a ritual of letting the regrets go.
10. Get your hands dirty planting some flowers or herbs.
11. Bake some cookies and deliver them to your neighbors. Strike up a conversation even.
12. Find like-minded and positive people. When you spend time with those kind of people, you spend more of your time in the moment instead of over-thinking or analyzing yourself.
13. Go for a stroll through your neighborhood. Discover hidden gems you never knew existed.
14. Watch a funny film. It is a great way to escape reality!
15. Volunteer your skills. Teach others your expertise.
16. Go for a hike and breathe some fresh air.
17. Read Inspirational Stories. Reading about people and events that inspire you can help put your thoughts into a different context.
18. Take a yoga class. Get to know the teacher and the person next to you in class.
19. Walk through a park and take photos of little things you find beautiful.
20. Make plans with that person you really like hanging out with, but never see.
21. Declutter your physical possessions. A calming environment free from clutter can help you get into a more relaxed state of mind.
22. Color a picture. Just like you did when you were a kid.
23. Go outside and walk barefoot on the grass.
24. Go for a swim. In the ocean. In the pool. Wherever you can.
25. Take a warm shower and enjoy the feeling of the water rolling down your skin. Baths can help you relax by forcing you to take a step back from the bustle of the day, and they can be a great way to let your worries fall away as they fade into the heat of the water.
26. Stop People-Pleasing and Approval-Seeking Behaviors. People who please others or seek their approval ultimately feel trapped, as though you are living their lives for others.
27. Dance. Dance in the rain. Literally. Move your body and let go of what you think you look like! This is guaranteed to alter your mood and free your mind.
28. Visit a local museum. Let your eyes experience something new.
29. Lay on the ground and watch the clouds float by.
30. Sit outside at night and look at the moon. Contemplate how we fit into this vast.
31. Practice self-love. Honor yourself and your choices and let go of self criticism.
32. Spend time alone. Get used to your own company and enjoy just “being” without the need for constant company, entertainment, or being busy for its own sake.
33. Daydream. Allow yourself time to daydream regularly. This is so good for the soul!
34. Become less attached. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things in life, but when you become attached, you rely on something external to make you happy, which traps the mind.
35. Practice gratitude. Being grateful allows you to live in the present and see the blessings in front of you right now. Keeping a gratitude journal helps pull us away from the stress of the day. It also forces us to appreciate life as it comes and find the good in every day.
36. Meditate. Meditation has been used for thousands of years to clear and free the mind. It can simply be sitting comfortably, allowing thoughts to enter your mind and pass through without engaging in them. Doing this for as little as ten minutes can be enough to free your mind from persistent or annoying thoughts.
37. Exercise. Exercising focuses the body on its physical requirements and takes your attention off your mind. Exercise also releases endorphins and lowers cortisol, often bringing about a more positive and happier mood.
38. Let go of the past. Letting go of the past allows you to focus on the here and now, and also helps you choose more empowering thoughts.
39. Be mindful. Being mindful is the practice of focusing the mind on everyday actions that you might normally do on autopilot. By practicing mindfulness, the mind concentrates on the task at hand rather than thoughts and feelings you might prefer not to have.
40. Do nothing…On Purpose. Recently, another rapid and pleasurable way to release unpleasant thoughts and feelings about disturbing people or life challenges in minutes is by doing nothing. All you need to do is sit comfortably, close your eyes and watch your thoughts and feelings go by for a few minutes. Don’t try to quiet the thoughts; instead, just watch them flow along in your mind, as if you were a passenger on a bus or train watching the scenes go by outside the window.
41. Breathe. Take a long breath through your nose and breathe it out through your mouth. This can help to calm you and remind you that your thoughts are a small part of the infinitely vast world around you.
42. Leave your phone on silent all day. You can also turn off your phone’s notifications, as these can be distracting and pull you away from the present moment. Your messages will still be waiting for you there later when you’re ready to go through them.
43. Eat slowly. Focusing on the texture and the taste of what you eat can help remind you that while all feelings are temporary, it’s important to truly experience the moments as they come, rather than letting them pass you by.
44. Listen to instrumental music. It’s proven to boost your ability to focus, which can raise your quality of mind and help you relax when your thoughts won’t stop coming.
45. Do a word puzzle. Crosswords can help your mind be creative and can boost your intelligence, as well as the overall clarity of your thoughts. They can also provide a break from your daily routines, all while being fun to complete.
46. Do the dishes. Doing the dishes can be a great way to take a break from life, and also be productive while you’re at it. Cleaning dishes can help you feel great, and it pulls you away from your current thoughts, which in turn, can give your mind permission to relax and recharge from the stress of the day.
47. Pet a dog or cat. Feel the fur beneath your hands and the softness of their skin. Petting an animal can help release our tensions and connect us to the moment, and can pull us away from our thoughts.
48. Smile. Smiling helps focus our attention outward to the people around us, and by reconnecting with this gratitude for others, we can connect more deeply to the present moment and remind ourselves to simply be.
49. Drink tea. Tea can help calm your nerves and slow down your thoughts and connect you more to the present moment.
50. Create a mindfulness mantra. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” Every morning we must remind myself that our new life starts today, which helps us step into the now and connect more deeply with the present moment and separate ourselves from the worries of our minds.