How to mentally switch off
I’ve often wished I had an “off switch” especially at times when my mind contains too many thoughts. Thoughts that I can’t seem to dismiss easily that lure me into the downward spiral of despair. Taunting me to investigate further into my fears and insecurities about life and my future…here are my suggestions on how to mentally switch off.
Find something that distracts you/absorbs your attention
A wandering mind is a dangerous mind. Don’t allow it to ruminate for too long without clear purpose…that’s when the “what if” thoughts get the better of us.
Breathing deeply is a great way to relax and send messages to our body to calm it down. Staying present in the moment is essential if you want to learn how to switch off more easily. Think about your pet – they happily live in the moment. Ignorance is bliss. Don’t overthink!
Prepare your body for rest and relaxation
Create positive mental associations between certain behavioural patterns and relaxation – this is based on classical conditioning (Pavlov’s dog). When you sit on the sofa, try to create a positive mental image to accompany the act of sitting on the couch. The more you do this, the quicker the brain will form the positive assocation – thereby creating faster routes to feeling good.
Spend time with family/friends/pets
Engage your senses – touch (massage), sight, etc This releases oxytocin, a feel good hormone that keeps us feeling fuzzy and warm and connected.
Mindfulness and meditation
These are the best ways to switch off – focus your attention and practise awareness training daily. The better you get at controlling your mental focus the less likely you will end up overthinking and worrying.
It takes practise but you can inch your way closer to being able switch off. Get out of your head and into your life.