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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happiness Can Be as Simple as Cooking Chili



"I CAN'T STOP thinking about _____and it's upsetting me." We have all been there at one time. It may be a past pain or a future worry that is disturbing your peace of mind. You may have tried to be present to keep the thought at bay, but it just keeps coming back. Here are a few hyper-focus techniques that will effectively block those haunting thoughts:

Create: When you focus on a new garden project, cooking a new recipe, or redecorating a room you are paying attention to the process of creation. This usually will keep your attention enough to quell negative trains of thought. My favorites: cooking chili, sand castles, finger painting.

Play games: Playing games will focus your attention enough to stop all other thoughts from taking over your mind. If you are alone, try puzzles, word games, or Sudoku. Scrabble is my favorite. Playing board games has the added value of nurturing relationships. (I highly recommend this to all families.) Playing sports has the added benefit of exercise. Even watching sports can sometimes be enough to grab your attention and keep your focus outside of your head. 

Music: Singing happy songs will hyper-focus your mind on breathing, tone, rhythm, etc. Karaoke requires even more attention by having to read at the same time. This will effectively keep your mind from wandering onto negative trains of thought. You also get the bonus of deep breathing! Playing a musical instrument also requires your full attention. These activities are like musical meditation!

Service: When we are helping others we are focused away from our own problems. Volunteer in your community or church. When you are of service, you are not only being a productive member of your community, you will feel better about yourself. 

Dance: Take a class, or make up the moves as you go. Any kind of dancing will do the trick! Make dancing a regular part of your life.

Of course, keep practicing breathing and being present as much as possible, but sometimes these techniques may be just what you need to break the negative train of thought and force you into the Now.

Lesson:
Being hyper-focused on an activity can effectively stop negative trains of thought from circling in your mind.

Exercise:
Become aware if you caught up in unhappy thoughts that keep circling in your mind. When you find that a few deep breaths are not enough to jump off the train of thought then use a hyper-focus technique to keep those disturbing thoughts at bay.   You will discover which techniques work best for you.  Have fun while clearing your mind of unwanted thoughts.  :)

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