Sometimes it seems that things keep going wrong. Though you would like to, you don’t have time to devote to a mini meditation to reset your day. What then? Here are 5 ways that are proven to work:
1. Listen to upbeat music. A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience of Behavior and Physiology found that when rock or classical music was playing, people were able to recognize numbers, letters, and images faster than when it was quiet. When you listen to your favorite music, your brain releases dopamine, which helps parts of your brain work better.
2. Distracting yourself for a short time will decrease the intensity of your negative feelings, allowing you to more productively look at the situation. Working on Sudoku or a crossword puzzle are good examples of ways to distract yourself. If you work from home, take a short break to do a couple chores…but don’t let your mind dwell on the situation that brought on the negative thoughts!
3. As silly as it sounds, rapidly repeating a word or phrase over and over for a couple minutes causes it to lose its meaning over you. In psychology this is called “Cognitive Defusion.” Saying it in a favored cartoon character’s voice will make it seem even sillier.
4. Write down whatever it is thats bothering you, then do one of two things. One way is to tear it up as small as you can and dispose of it in the trash, in running water (“washing your troubles away” so to speak) ,or however you wish to responsibly dispose of it. Another way is to in a heatproof container set fire to the paper, burning it away.
5. There are a myriad of issues that yoga have been proven to counter. People who do yoga regularly have been shown to have lower levels of stress and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, and generally improved physical fitness. Sometimes all that is needed to snap you out of a negative thought pattern is to do a few moves with the accompanying breathing.
Remember though, that changing a pattern of negative thinking is a process; it can’t happen quickly. Remember to give yourself time to make the change, and not expect too much too quickly.