As summer gets into full swing, many of us will be jet-setting for beautiful vacation spots to enjoy a well-deserved break. Vacation is a marvelous way to de-stress and break up the monotony of daily routines. Research tell us that immersing oneself in a new setting stimulates creativity and promotes mindfulness, which plays a significant role in overall happiness.
The fact remains, however, that no matter how far we travel from home we tend to be plagued by the same nagging thoughts and stressors. How much fun is relaxing poolside when you can’t stop thinking about relationship issues, financial worries or the huge stack of paperwork waiting for you when you get back to the office?
As much as we try to push it out of our consciousness, when something is really stressing us out, the same movie in our mind keeps replaying again and again.
Why is it that sometimes we just can’t stop analyzing and obsessing over the annoying stuff going on in life?
The answer lies in your subconscious mind, that part of the mind that governs about 95% of all our behaviors and patterns. It’s this part of us that loves constantly re-minding us of stressful things as though they are a matter of life or death. Our subconscious draws our attention to things that it deems important with the mistaken belief that these continuous reminders will serve us and fulfill a positive underlying intention (for more on positive underlying intentions read here).
The good news is that relief from worry is possible. Here is one technique that can help you push pause on the seemingly endless flow of worrisome thoughts.
Take a Vacation from Worry through Deliberate Focus
Unwanted emotions are much easier to manage when we subject them to the power of deliberate focus.
When struggling with an emotional issue that won’t stop replaying in your head, spend 30 seconds focusing all of your awareness on the issue and be completely present with it. Fully embrace whatever pain, frustration, sadness or other feelings that come up.
After 30 seconds, shift your focus to any object in the room and give that object your total attention for 30 seconds, pretending as though it is the single most important thing in the world; then switch back to focusing on the problem after another half minute.
Continue shifting your total awareness between the problem and different random objects for several minutes. When this process is done correctly, after just five minutes you should begin to experience significant relief when you bring to mind the thought that had previously produced the negative emotion.
By intentionally shifting between the problem state and something entirely unrelated in this way, you gain a great deal more control over the worry you experience and can much more easily choose to let go of it and focus on other things.
The subconscious mind is a phenomenally powerful tool that you can harness to make positive changes in your life. Simple mindfulness techniques such as this tap into subconscious patterns that may have held us back in the past and turn them upside down. Go ahead and experiment with shifting your focus deliberately; you’ll be paving the way to many more worry-free moments.
Jeremy Stillman is a New York City-based hypnotherapist and integrative life coach who specializes in helping others manage stress and anxiety, overcome bad habits and achieve their goals. Jeremy’s integrative approach incorporates Ericksonian hypnosis, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), energy medicine, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the latest advances in neuroscience to lay the internal groundwork for success. Connect with Jeremy on Facebook, Twitter, and visit JeremyStillman.com for more insightful articles, hypnosis track downloads or to schedule a Skype or face-to-face session.