When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can often seem impossible to focus on anything else.
It’s often easy to let your feelings get the better of you, but by trying out few simple tips and forming new habits, you can free yourself from these negative emotions for a brief period of time. If you’ve ever experienced stress before, it may feel like you have the same thoughts running though your head, as if they are impossible to turn off. Such repetitive thought patterns aren’t going to help you solve any of your issues – in fact, it can sometimes make them worse.
If you can’t find positive distractions for yourself when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, your emotions can start to interfere with other aspects of your life – it may stop you from being able to focus at work, get a good night’s sleep, or live a healthy lifestyle.
You may have been told a few techniques in the past that aim to help you let go of stress and anxiety. While these methods can work for some people, they aren’t always the most effective way of dealing with things.
In this list of tips, we’ll be taking you through some distraction techniques that help you to be more mindful of your emotions, allowing you to acknowledge what you’re feeling without any judgment.
The benefits of being more mindful
Mindfulness can have a range of wonderful effects on your mental health, helping you to overcome obstacles and deal with emotions as they come up.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you could experience by being more mindful.
Get a better night’s sleep
Without mindfulness practices, you might find yourself awake at night and staring at the ceiling. If you can’t find a way to calm down at the end of the day it could stop you from getting a peaceful, restful night’s sleep.
This can have many knock-on effects in other areas of your life. You may not have the energy to exercise or eat a balanced diet, and you might not have the focus you need to get through a day of work.
Feel more creative
Stress and anxiety can seriously impact your creativity at work, preventing you from using your problem-solving skills, and finding solutions to issues.
Stronger personal relationships
Using mindfulness techniques to distract yourself from stress and anxiety can also have a positive effect on your personal relationships.
You may be more likely to accept other people’s flaws, find yourself to be more satisfied with your relationships, and show more empathy to others.
Improved physical health
Not only does mindfulness have excellent benefits for your mental health, but it can also work wonders for your physical health.
Some research has suggested that simple mindfulness techniques have been linked to improvements in psoriasis, arthritis, and lower back pain.
Nine methods to distract yourself from stress or anxiety
Stimulate yourself with memory games
Memory games can be challenging, and they require your full attention. This makes them a great way to focus your mind on something other than the problems you’re thinking about.
Try a game where you have to memorize a scene and recreate the photo in your mind. Give yourself a time limit and see how much you’re able to remember – try to do it in as much detail as possible!
Imagine leaving your stress and anxiety behind
Lie down in your bed, close your eyes and picture yourself gathering up all your emotions and storing them away in a box.
Try to create this picture in as much detail as possible. Imagine where you are, what your emotions, and the box look like.
Try and use numbers to focus your mind
Not everyone likes math, but it can be a good way of focusing on something. You could try thinking of some times tables in your head, or simply count backwards from 100.
Working with numbers may take a bit of extra thought, which is a good thing for when you’re trying to distract yourself.
Try out yoga or meditation
Lots of people love yoga and meditation as a way to feel connected to their bodies and slow down their minds.
Focus on how your body is moving, together with your breathing. If you’re finding it hard to focus, you could put on some background music to help distract you from your thoughts.
Get your blood pumping and try a new sport
Working out can help you to relax – it’s easy to forget about your stress when you’re focusing on scoring goals or hitting a tennis ball. Go to your local gym, or meet some friends in the park to try and new sport and get your blood pumping.
Come up with an anchoring phrase
Come up with a phrase that you say to yourself when you’re feeling stressed or anxious to bring you back down and center yourself.
It can be as simple as describing what’s around you. Whatever it is, it should be something that focuses you on the present moment, rather than your emotions.
Listen to soothing music
When you’re feeling stressed, you may not feel like listening to heavy rock or upbeat pop music with lots of sounds and instruments.
Instead, find a calming playlist of soothing instrumental and vocal pieces that can help to relax your mind.
Cuddle with your pets
One thing we can always count on is our pets. The next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take a moment to breathe and relax with your four-legged friend.
Take a long walk
When your emotions are overwhelming, you can take yourself out of the situation by going for a long walk. You can walk in silence, enjoying the sounds around you, or you can put your headphones in and listen to your favorite songs.
There are many different ways to relax and unwind when you feel stressed – try out different methods until you find the ones that are right for you.