Apr 022013

We’ve had quite a long run of deep introspection in these posts and I think it’s time to remind ourselves that there’s a big, wide world out there, beyond our issues and concerns. The reason it’s useful to do this is to help us keep our worries in perspective. If you’re anything like me, you spend a vast amount of time thinking, weighing things up, calculating… Just living can be exhausting and it’s vital we give our overheated brain a rest sometimes.

Productivity gurus emphasise the importance of taking regular time off to recharge your batteries and the same principle applies to personal development. Time spent concentrating on something completely different refreshes us, if nothing else, and makes it easier to keep our feet on the ground.

Here are a few suggestions for ways you can shift your focus away from yourself and all the stuff you’re dealing with:

Do some strenuous exercise (obviously, only if you’re physically able to without causing yourself harm). The endorphins generated by even just going for a brisk half-hour walk or swim will lift your mood, but if you really want to rest your mind you may need to push a bit harder than this. For me, running eclipses all other thoughts.

Discuss the news or some other subject of intellectual, rather than emotional, interest to you. If you find the interaction with other people sucks you back into your issues, perhaps write an article instead. You don’t have to show it to anybody – the point is simply to fix your attention on something external to you. If this doesn’t appeal to you, what about a puzzle, or even a computer game? Whatever it is, it’s got to be utterly absorbing, so there is no space for niggles at the back of your mind.

Go shopping. You don’t have to buy anything, just be aware of what’s around you. I find getting out into the mêlée of a shopping centre makes me feel I’m taking part in society (as opposed to hiding), while also allowing me to be anonymous, with nothing expected of me.

I also recommend you take time out on a frequent basis to count your blessings and fully appreciate the good things in your life. Being positive brings its own benefits and in this context it’s all part of breaking the cycles and patterns of introspective thought that can, if we’re not careful, weigh us down.

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