a man sitting on a rock talking on a cell phone.

How to Get Your Mind Off Something: 10 Ways That Work

Amber Murphy

Most can attest to the dreaded feeling of not being able to stop thinking about something-whether that be a perceived mistake you may think you have made, a task you must do, a person, or something else entirely. These thoughts can overtake all other thoughts we have, to the point where you may feel that you can focus on little else besides this one thing nagging at your subconscious. This can prove to be infuriating and even upsetting, depending on what the specific situation at hand is. While focusing solely on one thing that happens to nearly everyone at one point or another, it can become a considerable problem when individuals can not live life generally due to these intrusive thoughts happening continuously throughout the day. If you are looking for some helpful tips on getting your mind off something, you have come to the right place! These are 10 tips worth trying to regain control of your thoughts and stop thinking about that one thing once and for all.

10 Ways to Get Your Mind Off Something

1. Exercise

Woman exercising in gym

Not only does regular exercise work to increase stamina, tone, and perfect your body, and get you in great shape, but it also works to put you in a great mood, release endorphins, and overall quell external anxieties and stresses. Plus, depending on how strenuous the workout you are participating in is, you will likely not even have the time to allocate any brainpower to thinking about what you would like to not think about-you will be far too busy focusing on your workout. For those who do not currently work out regularly and are intimidated by the beginning, there are plenty of low-impact exercises such as walking or using the elliptical machine that will work great.

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2. Be Mindful

Another great way to get your mind off something is to practice mindfulness. This simply means focusing solely on being present in the moment and can be done through various ways to practice mindfulness. These exercises force you to think only about the current moment you are in and leaves no room to worry about anything additional that may be going on in your life. As you can imagine, this leaves absolutely no room to think about what you are trying to forget.

A simple way to start being mindful is to start a meditation practice. Declutter The Mind is a free guided meditation app that can help you meditate and get your mind off something.

3. Work on Decluttering Your Space

The simple act of cleaning and decluttering your own personal space-whether is your home, office, or both-can work tremendously to get your mind off something and put your mind at ease overall. When your space is messy, unorganized, or chaotic, it can tend to lead to feelings of stress or worry or just overall dissatisfaction. With a clean, fresh space, you will have a much more calm environment to focus your energy on much more positive thoughts.

4. Cultivate Positive Connections

Surrounding yourself with only positive, like-minded, and spiritually enriching individuals will likely lead you to feel much more relaxed and calm-thus, also lead you to a much more positive mindset. Suppose you are always surrounded by negative people. In that case, you may feel drained. You will probably find your mind filled continuously with unhealthy thoughts, including the thing you would instead not focus on. When you are surrounded by positive people, you will likely be in a great mood and frequently smiling and laughing, which will also work tremendously to improve your mental health and overall outlook on life.

5. Start Doing Hobbies You Love

Do you have an interest in writing, drawing, hiking, or perhaps painting? Making time to really tap into and explore these interests further will not only enrich your life significantly by being able to participate in the thing you truly love, but it is also a great and proven mode to get your mind off something. When you are doing these hobbies, you will likely be so enthralled by and focused on the task at hand that you will not be worrying at all about anything else besides what you are currently working on. Plus, this could even be a great way to make new friends or make some extra cash on the side, which is a fantastic bonus!

6. Work on Letting Go of Regrets

Man sitting with hands on head, frustrated

If what you are trying to get your mind off of has to do with regretting something in the past, whether something you have done or something, in general, that has happened, it is advantageous to let go of this regret. Sitting down and working through your emotions about this perceived regret through writing or meditation is a great way to get started. Once you realize you have forgiven yourself (or someone else) for what has happened, you will have made a substantial, important step in the process of getting your mind off of this thing. You will likely feel that you don’t need to spend so much time thinking about it any longer.

7. Talk With Someone Trusted

Talking your worries out with someone trusted, whether a family member, friend or therapist, is a great way to get your mind off something. Sometimes only talking through the thoughts we are experiencing and hearing someone else’s perspective about what we are going through is a huge help and can do wonders in reducing stress and anxiety. Even if the person or people you choose to talk to can’t offer you a reliable way in which to solve the problem at hand, the mere act of releasing your thoughts aloud can still be extremely beneficial overall.

8. Get to the Root of the Issue

Likely, you will not be able to fully get your mind off something until you really get to the root of why it is on your mind so often in the first place. Why is this matter so important to you? What caused this issue to arise in the first place, and when did it start? Additionally, once you have those things figured out- is this something that can be fixed or dealt with feasibly? If the answer to the latter question is yes, now is the time to make a list of correct methods or improve the issue. If the answer is no, it is time to instead work to accept the issue or problem at hand since it is likely that it can’t be fixed or amended, and you will need to learn to live with it. Regardless, merely knowing why exactly it is that you cannot get your mind off a sole issue is extremely important and is a vital step in the process of working towards getting your mind off of it.

9. Journal

Woman writing in her journal

Writing down your emotions in a mindfulness journal or notebook can expel the strong feelings tied to them and is a great way to try to get your mind off something. Suppose you are not comfortable with having your thoughts down in a physical form. In that case, you can even go as far as to burn the book afterward so you can ensure that no one will read your words after you. The act of burning the book can also be seen as an act of releasing these thoughts and emotions, which is another plus!

10. Hide Potential Triggers

This may not apply to every situation, but there are apparent triggers to what you would like to not think about in your space-hide them immediately. For example, if work is the thing you are trying to forget when you are off the clock, hide your laptop or work bag; or if you are trying to stop thinking about a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are no longer with, hide all pictures of them, gifts they have given you, or other potential items that could remind you of them. Hiding these things will work to ensure that you are not randomly reminded of something you are trying desperately to forget due to no fault of your own.

Start getting your mind off that certain something

The bottom line is: when dealing with how to get your mind off something, you are likely to find it an arduous task that requires a lot of effort and dedication to doing so. However, that is not to say that it is an impossible feat. Once you pinpoint the root of why you are so focused on thinking about this one thing, you can then work to adopt methods that will work immensely to shift your focus off of this thing and onto other, more essential, and worthwhile things. Whether that be through spending more time with family or friends, doing more of the hobbies you love, exercising, or only talking through your issues or journaling-there are many routes to take. Not only will these tips work to get your mind off of the thing you are trying to think about, but they will offer work to offer you an overall better and more positive state of mind altogether.

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