Could Your Stress Relief Be Making You Unhappy?

wandering mind

Allowing the mind to wander is often a way to remove oneself from a difficult situation. We can create a fantasy environment where the bad stuff disappears and we are happy. These daydreams can help to fill many voids, but they might also do something else: make us unhappy.

Here’s the problem: daydreams aren’t real life. This makes them more of a distraction than a real coping skill. By allowing the mind to wander without direction, what we’re really doing is equal to watching a couple hours of TV or listening to some songs on the radio. Eventually those problems are going to come back around.

Instead of letting your mind wander and create fantastic daydreams about how things could have been, try these tips to help you make the real moment, the right now, become a more attractive place to be.

#1. Experience this moment. The moment you have right now will never come back again. History is created with every second that ticks off the clock. Every moment has something special about it that deserves to be found. Instead of ignoring these moments by letting the mind wander, consider observing the moments to see the different kinds of perfection it may contain.

#2. Be proactive about resolving issues. When you know a problem is lurking around the corner, it becomes very easy to focus on the problem. You dread the work it will take to resolve the issue. You might even hate the steps required to resolve the issue that is coming up. When you decide to be proactive and take those steps, however, the problem is never as big and the negative feelings are never as strong.

#3. Create a plan. Although some days it doesn’t feel like it, there is always some free time around that can be enjoyed. By creating plans now about what direction our lives should go when this free time can be utilized, there will be a greater joy felt because there is satisfaction in seeing a well-executed plan go your way. This also works for structuring your work day, organizing your schedule, and any other tasks you may need to accomplish.

#4. Take off your shoes. Sometimes just getting back to our roots is enough to bring the mind back to its center. Take your shoes off at some point in the day and feel the ground beneath your feet – though maybe not in a public bathroom! Experience the grass, soil, or carpeting. You’re feeling the foundation of what makes up “you.”

#5. Use your memories to your advantage. Your experiences also help to define who you are. Remembering them and the lessons learned can help you avoid future issues with regret, anxiety, and fear. We all make mistakes. We all choose the hardest path possible sometimes. Once you begin to choose the hardest path over and over again, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a choice you’re personally making for some reason. Use your time daydreaming to relieve memories, although difficult, so that the future can be improved instead of defined by the past.

Letting your mind wander aimlessly might feel good for a moment or two, but what happens when the stress comes back? Implement these strategies and every day may become a little happier.