When looking to refocus the mind, distraction is the simplest approach and requires the least amount of energy. When there isn’t enough energy for anything more, it can be a decent short term strategy to break the pattern and a step in the right direction.
Some examples of distraction are listening to music, watching something, social media, or doing busywork. If we do choose distraction as a new focus, it will be even better if we choose something that will have an uplifting and energizing effect, for example a beautiful piece of music, an empowering video or photo, a funny video or photo, or a self-improvement article or podcast. The quality of information we expose ourselves to profoundly affects our energetic state. When we focus on programming that’s violent or depressing it lowers our energetic state. If we expose ourselves to information that’s uplifting, inspiring and life enhancing, it will elevate our energetic state. When we choose to distract ourselves, it’s valuable to consider the effect it will have on our state.
We’ll often choose distraction, without even knowing we’re choosing it. We don’t like how we’re feeling and intuitively we do something to distract ourselves. Be aware that distraction is like hitting the ‘PAUSE’ button. The energetic state that was present and manifesting as low energy thoughts and feelings hasn’t really changed, but at least it’s probably not getting worse.
Moving our body is a brilliant way to shift the focus and change our energetic state. It helps to move our focus out of the mind, leaving unwanted thoughts behind. Try going for a walk, doing a workout, or maybe doing a yoga pose or squats and pushups. Movement can get us out of our heads and refocus to more presence in the body. Who doesn’t feel better after getting their heart pumping and having a rush of healthy endorphins to make the brain happier?
Connection and Mindfulness
Mindfulness is one of our favorite refocusing strategies because it’s a way to create connection. In our model of wellness, we want to connect with what’s happening inside as opposed to avoiding it or distracting ourselves from it. When we’re mindful, we’re paying attention to the experience of being in the body. We’re aware of our senses, our breath, our movement and how we’re feeling. This is effective because when we pay attention to our sensory experience, it’s very difficult to continue thinking so we’ll automatically ‘STOP IT!’.
Mindfulness activities are also generally relaxing. With relaxation, our body and brain shift from a sympathetic (fight or flight) mode into a more parasympathetic (rest and recover) state (see our article Cellular Management – Part 1). This allows us to think more clearly and process our thoughts and feelings more effectively. One of the most powerful tools we have for connection is the breath and it’s so brilliant because it’s with us all the time. The simple act of paying attention to our breathing for a few moments or minutes will not only help us shift our focus, but it could also help to problem solve the challenges we’re dealing with due to the clarity gained by upgrading our state. We’ve created a couple of videos to guide you in the process of creating connection within (Check out Spinal Connection 1 and Spinal Connection 2).
Taking Action: building strength, creating solutions
Above, we’ve focused on some concepts and ideas to ‘STOP IT!’ in the moment. Additionally you can read our article De-stress and revitalize in 5 minutes or less for some more ideas to refocus and create a quick shift in our state. These moment to moment tools are important to break the cycle and stop going down the rabbit hole.
If we really want to see a sustainable change in our energetic state and the quality of our thoughts, we’ll want to take further action. If we can move into some kind of action it can be a good way to ‘STOP IT!’ and shift our energetic state. Of course, all of this depends on having enough energy to make the decision and get things moving in a new direction. Perhaps in the moment we catch ourselves, we could take an action that would directly address our current predicament or maybe we could take an action that we’ve been procrastinating on.
We can also think longer term about how to improve our state and create healing within. The effects of getting adequate sleep, eating well and exercising all impact the amount of energy that’s available as we walk through life. Focusing on body centered activities like chiropractic entrainment, yoga and specific types of meditation can help us move out of the mind, de-stress, heal and improve our energetic state. We also know that building strong connections with others is one of the keys to having a healthy body and mind. Remember when we take small steps regularly we can build sustainable improvements in our vitality and energetic state.