How to Get Out of Your Own Head for Five Seconds

My partner in crime/podcasting (shameless plug, have you checked ours out yet?) Ali jokes about my tendency to assume the worst will happen. If we’re trying a new restaurant before we have to go to an event, I’m sure we’ll get food poisoning and will be puking through the whole thing. As we were setting up for an *N Sync/Backstreet Boys brunch we put on, I was freaking out that we didn’t have a step and repeat, sure that this was a necessary detail to make the whole thing a success. I have no idea why.

It’s safe to say that I get in my own head a lot, both about big picture and small stuff. I know this is my anxiety trying to run my life, and it needs to be the other way around. I try to meditate, but I find it extremely difficult to turn my brain off. It’s something I’m working on. I wish I made more time to journal, which seems to help. But one thing I’ve found to be useful when I’m stuck firmly in my own mind and need to rejoin the real world is to check in on other people. Getting connected in real life (Instagram comments don’t count) takes you past your own worries and centers you. It breaks that endless “what if?” loop you’ve got going on and brings you back to reality.

Also, making yourself useful to other people helps you feel better too. As easy as it is to worry about our own issues, remember that other people are going through similar things. Breakups. Career confusion. Family drama. Friend stuff. We’re all wading through it at the same time. Instead of obsessing over your own concerns, shift that attention to others for a while. How can you be of use to them? Do they need advice? Someone to vent to? Maybe they just want some company. Sometimes you forget that other people can feel lonely or confused too when you’re scoping out their perfectly filtered and hashtagged lives.

The other thing I’ve noticed: you can feel so connected, but also extremely lonely all at once. It’s a weird paradox. We all like each other’s posts nonstop, but how many people actually know what’s going on with you? Probably just a couple. That’s why when you’re in your own head, taking the time to shut off your phone, X out of Twitter, and schedule a real life conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while is so powerful. Social media is great, but when you’re feeling anxious and maybe a little disconnected, a dose of the real world is probably in order.

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