It’s normal to get lost in our thoughts when we are feeling vulnerable or worried about an event in our life. We tend to get stuck on the roller coaster of thoughts, fear, and anxiety when we let our minds wander a little too far outside of our comfort zone.
When you’re feeling yourself being pulled away from the present moment, it’s important to be kind and patient with your feelings. Here are five ways to help stay present when you’re feeling overwhelmed:
1. Name 5 things in the room around you.
This little trick will help you remember where you are and can easily help you stay grounded. Naming things around us helps reframe our mind and calm the other wild thoughts and emotions inside. If your mind needs some extra effort to calm down, you can create a game out of it and name as many different colors as you can.
Here’s a simple example to help reframe your mindset: “I see a red pillow, a brown door, a white blanket, a grey cat, a pink book…”
2. Deep breathing by fours.
Breathing is one of the most powerful, yet simplest, tricks of the trade when it comes to staying as present as possible. Counting by fours when you exhale and inhale helps keep your mind focused only on your breath and nothing else. Put your hand on your stomach and feel the air flow in and out as you start to relax your mind.
Use the example below to help you get started:
Exhale – let all your air out first and hold.
Inhale and count– 1..2..3..4
Hold the air inside and count– 1..2..3..4
Exhale and count – 1..2..3..4
Repeat for 4-8 times until your mind and body is calm.
If we change how we breathe we can change our mood.
3. Take a walk – get out of your current environment.
Leaving the room or setting you are feeling overwhelmed in can help ease your mind and bring you back to the present moment. Exercise also releases endorphins that makes our brain and bodies feel happy and positive. A simple walk around the block or to get coffee can be a simple cure for your overwhelming mind.
4. Brain dump – write down all your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
Writing down everything you are thinking and feeling can help alleviate some of your anxiety and stress. Picture yourself literally dumping all your thoughts and feelings onto a piece of paper. It’s amazing how relieved you can feel after this process!
5. Is this something I can control? Is it really mine?
Asking yourself, “Is this something I can control? Is it really mine?” will help determine if it’s worth overthinking about. A majority of our anxiety and stress is related to external factors or other people. It’s important to remember that we cannot control how other people will react or think about a situation. We can only acknowledge it and say, “This is theirs, not mine.”
Separating someone else’s thoughts and emotions from our own is a good exercise that will help re-frame our mindsets when we are overwhelmed by an external factor.
"When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings, they start." — Dov Seidman