But it’s not always easy to get off the worry train. There are so many times when you get stuck on a one-way trip on the windowless worry train. That’s why you end up not being able to see things going on around you, and you feel defenseless because you have no outlook except for the one your overpowering anxiety gives you.
And whatever people might think, these painful cycles will never end simply with trite, well-meaning tips: “Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. Relax. Stop and enjoy life for a second.”
When your mind falls into this exhausting dynamic and doesn’t listen to logic, it does things automatically. It lets itself go down an unconscious stream where your whole being plays along to a pointless, rhythm-less internal music.
If you want to stop worrying you need a different perspective that goes beyond the brain. You need your entire being, senses, and conscious mind to take part in the process. And now we’ll tell you how exactly to do that.
Three exercises to stop worrying
Worrying goes hand-in-hand with doubt. And if there’s one thing everyone knows it’s that the modern world is defined by that very leitmotif. On the other hand, there’s one thing people don’t talk about much: we aren’t always in full control of our mental processes.
You’ll notice the anxiety or stress in your body, or the pain in your stomach, or your headache, etc… But you don’t always pick up on how fast your mind works. You never notice the paths it goes down, the fears it anticipates, or the terrible things it brings you without you asking. Maintaining control and stopping this negative cycle is your absolute biggest responsibility.
Your eyes in front of a camera
This exercise is simple, original, and above all, effective. It might seem strange at first, but it does have its logic and value. Now let’s look at what it involves.
- When you feel worn out by the overpowering pull of your thoughts, do this: pick up your phone, open the front-facing camera like you’re about to take a selfie, and look at the screen. Focus on your eyes.
- This is a remarkable way of becoming aware of yourself. Something happens inside you when you look yourself in your eyes. Something tells you to stop, slow down your hyperactive mind, and focus on the here and now.
- It also helps tune you into your needs as you look into your eyes and reflect on the person in front of you. Relax and let the world pause so you can embrace this person you neglect so often: yourself.
Pick a sound
Another wonderful strategy to stop worrying involves picking out one single sound. What you do is stop and focus on just one of the very large number of stimulating sounds around you.
- Let’s say that you’re at work. There’s sound all around you: conversations, seats being dragged, knocking, computers, cars constantly coming and going on the street, coworkers talking about random rumors…
- Now out of that huge sea of sounds, pick out just one. Maybe in front of your window there’s a tree where all the birds go to sing. Pick that sound, focus on those birds, and let the rest of the stimuli disappear for a few minutes. Little by little, your mind will calm down because it only has one job: to focus on the way the birds are singing.
A mug of hot chocolate
The next idea is original and pretty uncommon. If you want to stop worrying, you need to stimulate your senses. We all know that advice doesn’t help much. We all know that saying something like, “I’m going to relax and think less” doesn’t always work. Instead, the best thing you can do at those times is go another route. Activate your smell, taste, or any of your other physical senses.
This technique has a direct link to mindful eating, which itself is linked to mindfulness. And if you don’t like hot chocolate, you can choose a different drink. The idea is that it be a hot drink.
- The first thing you have to do is let the scent and warm steam rising from the hot chocolate embrace you. Then breathe deeply, calmly.
- Now take a sip, but don’t swallow it right away. Instead, keep it in your mouth and let your tongue enjoy the flavor. Let your taste buds fill up with hints of chocolate.
- In that instant you’re holding the mug in your hands, nothing else will matter. You’ll appreciate the present moment and all the sensations you’re experiencing.
What you’ll get from these three simple exercises is this: you’ll start to focus on your senses and calm down your body. And that will get your mind to calm down too. But it’s not about tricking it; you’re just calming it down to get control over it and stop it from being hyperactive. Because sometimes all you have to do to control your mind is relax your body by using your five senses.
Give it a try today.