We all get in our heads in one way or another – you know, that little voice that whispers in our ear that can say a lot of mean things like…You’re not good enough. No one likes you. You’ll never get anywhere.
It can start from the comparison game, a comment you made that didn’t come out the way you intended or for some of us, we can just wake up with our minds racing. After many years of struggling with anxiety and depression, I have worked really, really hard to keep that voice quiet and listen to a new voice instead. But it’s not always the new voice that wins, so I’ve put together ten ways that help me get out of my head.
Change the Voice
Replace that mean, nagging voice with a new one – one filled with self-love and gratitude. Repeat the following statements to yourself. Perhaps even record yourself speaking them aloud and listen back.
- I am not these thoughts
- These thoughts and emotions will pass
- I am not alone
- I am strong
- I am capable
- I am loved
- I am grateful
- I am resilient
- I am enough
Write it Out
What’s on your mind? Making a list of what is in your control versus out of your control is incredibly helpful, as well. Let out your worries, fears, and general musings by putting the pen to paper.
Talk With Your Safe People
Share your thoughts with those that make you feel safe – whether it be a trusted friend, your partner, or your therapist. Find that person that you can be completely candid with. Most of the time we’re not looking for advice, but rather someone who will simply listen.
From coloring, doodling, knitting, cooking, or baking, working with your hands to create gives you something to focus on and a tangible finished product to be proud of.
Care for Another Living Thing
Whether it’s your cat, guinea pig, or plant, caring for something else that depends on you gives you a sense of purpose. Not to mention the added benefit of the love and companionship you receive in return!
Move Your Body
This has taken a new meaning for me over the last several months. If going for a run or walk is not accessible to you, try small movements – even from bed – like neck, shoulder, wrist, and ankle rolls. My favorite, when able, is to go on a walk with the dogs or getting on my mat for a gentle yoga practice, which can vary from the restorative heart and hip openers to slow paced modified vinyasa.
Deep Breaths and Fresh Air
Meditating is a wonderful way to quiet the mind, but it can be hard to do when thoughts are racing. Your meditation does not have to be long or guided. It can be as simple as stepping outside for a few moments of deep, focused breathing in the fresh air. Inhale deeply, all the way to your belly – to a count of three and exhale to a count of three. Bring your attention to following the breath in and out or focus on the count. Take note of what you hear – birds chirping, a quiet breeze, trees rustling. Continue for at least 10 deep breaths before slowly blinking your eyes open.
Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
Everything comes down to gratitude. Even on your worst days, you can find gratitude. Can you feel your breath, your heartbeat? Do you have a home, fresh drinking water, and food? Write down at least three things you are grateful for. These are a privilege that we can be grateful for, even when it feels like everything else is slipping away from us.
Recognize These Feelings, Then Let Them Go
It is only human to have bad days. It is human to have bad thoughts. We can’t push these feelings aside or sweep them under the rug. That only makes them stronger, trust me. But we don’t have to live with them. When you feel the rumblings of the storm, acknowledge what you are experiencing. Then part ways by going through this list or finding anything that helps you get out of your head. Take it a day, even moment, at a time, and know you will get through.
If You Need Help
If you or someone you know is struggling, please do not hesitate to call or use the online features of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You are needed and loved.