Welcome to our Wednesday series for anxious people who have an oversensitive alarm system, whose “danger scanner” is always on, and who need a little bit of self-care and positive emotional energy by mid-week (when the tanks are starting to approach depletion). Calm nature pictures are a great way to “nurture” our insecure selves and help us stay grounded and in the moment.
I post a lot about the first trick against anxiety, my very favorite, breathing. I’m like a broken record about it. In this post, we’ll move down the list. The second quickest trick is distraction or redirecting your thoughts.
Let me briefly introduce you to the theory of competing thoughts. Our brains have a limited capacity to consciousness. Only so many balls can be kept in the air at the same time and only a limited amount of information can fit into one stream of awareness at one time.
So, it’s almost impossible to have and sustain two thoughts in your mind at the same time. Kind of the same way, as the body, cannot be tense and relaxed at the same time.
So, if we are experiencing a negative line of thinking and we cannot shake it off with a positive re-frame, the next line of defense is to distract the brain with a positive and productive activity that involves a different type of brain focus.
- Make a list of preferred activities
- Print it
- Post it in several places where it can serve as a reminder
- When negative, ruminating thoughts hit, go to the list and start engaging in one of those activities
The purpose of the list is that you don’t have to think about it, you just start doing it!
- Read a very exciting book
- Find a new workout video on YouTube and try it out
- Color intentionally
- Wordscapes, Crosswords, all sorts of other game apps (interior design is my favorite)
- Declutter a corner of your house
- Yard work
- Paint your nails
- Pinterest for recipes
- Get out of the house and grab a coffee
The next time you feel the anxiety start to rise, try one of these distraction tricks and let me know how it worked for you! Don’t forget that you can have access to my FREE Anxiety & Stress Resource Management Center by clicking HERE. These additional resources will help you work through your anxiety at a deeper level.
ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, and stress and anxiety management. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier Marriage. Sign up to her free Wellness Library HERE for more resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or visit www.ruxandralemay.com for monthly blog posts.