10 Suggestions to Stop a Mind Gone Wild
It's 3 AM and my mind won't stop: the upcoming court appearance, the runaway credit card balance, the issue with my daughter at school, the issue with the mother of my children, the dishes that are piled up, my growing disdain for my job, etc. To make it worse, I'm cursing myself for thinking about all of these things at 3 AM, interrupting my sleep, and tomorrow I will be less than my best.
1. Walk everywhere for 24 hours on the weekend
The point is to slow down. Walk down the same road you normally drive. It's a different view. So often when our mind is going wild, we need a change of view. Walking everywhere for 24 hours will accomplish that.
2. Let it in!
Have you ever entered a restaurant, sat yourself down and the server never came to your table and took your order. The same is true with a mind gone wild. Let it in, put it in a seat, and ignore it. Yes, you know it's there, but you don't have to serve it.
3. Cold shower or bath
Turn on the cold water. Fill up the tub. Get in and breathe. You won't think about anything that's on your mind except finding your breath.
4. Vigorous Movement
Shoot baskets at the park and don't let the ball bounce more than once. Pick up heavy things from the ground and set them back down. Ride your bike down a hill so fast that tears stream from your eyes. Do four sets of 25 push-ups for 100 total. Any vigorous movement will take you out of your mind.
5. Write it down
This especially works if it's 3 AM and your mind has gone wild. Instead of not sleeping and staring into the madness of your busy brain, get out of bed. Go to the kitchen table and write it all down. Every last detail. You will be exhausted and fall back to sleep. Review what you wrote at the same time during the day to determine how much of it you actually need to worry about.
6. Play with your children
Your children aren't worried about anything (let's hope not, anyway). Get on their level. Play catch in the front yard. Play a board game. Make art with them. Play imaginary play with them. When you get on your child's level, you will temporarily halt your mind going wild.
7. Escape into one of your favorite all-time movies
I love re-watching The Natural starring Robert Redford. It's a great movie from 1984 about a man who can't escape his past, but never gives up on his dream, and along the way, he makes amends with all that has haunted him. Interstellar is good, too. Or a documentary about alien life forms. Or binge-watch Madmen. It works like a time-out.
8. Tackle one problem at a time
Get productive. If the credit card balance has ballooned, figure it out. Take your 17-year-old son off the account so he stops buying ice cream and Wendy's with it. Call customer service and find out if there are any programs that will help you pay off the balance. The point here is to make progress on one item that is running away in your mind that way things don't just stay the same.
9. Embrace the mess, but keep the house clean
You know what's worse than a mind that's going wild, it's a mind that's going wild, and the dishes are piled up on the counter, the laundry is overdue, the grass is knee-high and beds aren't made. If you clean up your environment, you will clear up your mind.
10. Call that one friend who loves you enough to listen
Get a fresh perspective by bringing in a friend who will listen. They might even have advice or a fresh perspective that helps you see through the wilderness of your running mind.