Throw Your Dog (Mind) A Bone: 25 ways to Stop Addictive Obsessions!
How many times have you been up in the middle of the night chewing a bone of worry? Replaying a conversation or argument in your mind with all the accompanying “Oh I should have said that to him!” or “What did she mean when she said x, y or z?” is wasted energy. It’s so hard to go to or return to sleep what the mind is on a tear, chewing, gnawing and grinding on an issue or issues. The best solution to this is to throw your mind a bone to chew on that you control. Curious? Well keep reading.
Our minds are natural problem solvers. We have a problem so we stew on it and create solutions. We needed to wheels to get around easier so we made them. We needed fire for tastier food and neighborhood cookouts so we created a way to start it and keep it going. It’s what we do, we create tools, procedures, internets pretty much entire worlds through the amazing problem solving ability in our noggins. The problem is when those powers stop being used for good and we start chewing our own paws so to speak. And when we chew long enough without progress we find depression setting in, feelings of defeat, self-doubt and angst begin to percolate and make us feel worthless which can lead to triggering addictive behaviors and all manner or not so good things we do to try and shut the brain down.
This is an easy fix relatively speaking. You have to train yourself like you would a new puppy. You don’t allow obsessions to take over your mind. Your mind is chewing your new leather shoes so you take those away and give it a rawhide of a “problem” to solve that you know you can figure out. The success of solving a problem or introducing something, anything, unfamiliar to the brain creates a nice rush of brain chemicals and can provide a respite from obsessions.
Here are 25 options:
1. Sudoku or crossword puzzle.
2. Music lessons which are often free and very easily found by using Google to search for “kazoo lessons” or any other instrument of your choice.
3. Take apart your old VCR gathering dust in the garage and try to put it back together.
4. Jigsaw puzzles.
5. Take up knitting or crochet for which you can also find numerous free video lessons through Google.
6. Gratitude lists.
7. Organize your bookshelves.
8. Clean your kitchen drawers.
9. Rearrange your closet.
10. Make Fido or Fifi healthy dog cookies.
11. Make a guest list for your next party.
12. Try out a few yoga poses. Try holding them for 2-3 minutes if you can without pain.
13. Mindfulness exercises such as eating a raisin or chocolate chip or Doritos with incredible slowness.
14. Massage a nice smelling lotion on your hands making sure you really stay aware of how it feels.
15. Change up your routine in any area that you can.
16. Dig out those foreign language CDs and start listening. Just listen, don’t strain, focus on the sound of the words.
17. Try to find a foreign newspaper at the library or online and try to read it.
18. Buy a coloring book for adults and use it! My favorite is ‘Everyone’s Mandala Coloring Book” by Monique Mandali.
19. Swipe one of your kids coloring books and go at it. Disney Princesses or Winnie The Pooh might be just what you need.
20. Brainstorm 25 ways to get rich quick.
21. Take action on one of those ways with any small step you can.
22. Walk and breathe and breathe. Try coordinating your breathing with your footsteps.
23. Walk backwards and then forwards. Alternate. Your brain loves change ups.
24. Watch your breathing and try to count 1 inhale, 1 exhale, 2 inhale, 2 exhale until you get to 10. Sounds easy? It so is not!
25. Play the game of what you would do if you won the lottery. Make lists in order of what you’d do first.
The point is to give your brain something to do other than grind on whatever issue you are stuck on. Learning something new or doing something different may be all you need to relax and when you revisit your original problem you’ll be much more likely to solve it. If obsession or depression is impacting your life please seek professional help immediately. Remember problems are a given, suffering over them is optional.
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