Take a walk, a run, or a swim. Go for a hike or a bike ride. Try dancing, yoga stretching, or even just start imagining that you are exercising. It takes deliberate effort to stop yourself from obsessively worrying. It’s great to do something physical to get you out of your head, and into your body. One way to think about it is kind of like how you have to shift gears on a bicycle. Sometimes you have to go from peddling in gear 1 (in your head) to gear 3 (in your body), which is a different modality of experience. This forces your mind to slow down and have more peace.
2. Listen to Music.
Feelings you may not be consciously aware of. Often our feelings are repressed when we are worrying since we are so caught up in our thoughts. Play music you like to move to or something that calms you and your spirit. Go to a concert and hear music live. Like jazz? Go listen to some.
3. Go to a museum, to a park, or to a beach.
Art and nature have a profound ability to engage all or most of our physical senses. You can see the colors of the artwork, listen to the waves, hear the wind in the trees, smell the salt or fresh air, feel the sand or grass on your feet. Engaging our senses helps us to reconnect with our bodies and ground us.
4. Create something.
Do you like to draw, write, paint, work with wood or clay, or make jewelry? How about cooking or gardening? Go ahead, get creative. Get a coloring book to draw in or just doodle on a piece of paper. Let yourself be free to create whatever comes out without any judgment. This isn’t about creating a masterpiece, but rather about immersing yourself in the experience of doing something and using your motor skills. This emphasizes exercising a different part of your brain.
5. Talk to someone.
Talk to someone and illicit their help. Talk, but about something other than what you’re worrying about. While it’s very tempting to talk incessantly about the thing you are worrying about, try to refrain. Instead, when you notice an urge to talk about the thing that you’re worrying about, when you notice the urge say so out loud. Let the person you’re talking to know that you’re trying to get your mind off of something that is worrying you and that you’re having an urge to speak about it. This takes some practice and some discipline, but you may find that it’s easier than you think when you have support from a trusted friend, family member or therapist.
For more information on how to better manage and control your worrying, contact Craig M. Hands Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org.