The biggest mechanism I've found that keeps people out of their head I call "The Dodge."
I have helped raise five children. I have found all of them upset at one time or another over thousands of issues. And depending on their age, I have used The Dodge countless times. Let me offer and example
Father: Please stop crying, oh lovely melodic child of mine.
Father: Wow, did you see that? I think that was a really big red balloon!
Child: "AAAAAA....what? Where?
Father: "Let's see if we can find that sucker!
Child: OK, where is it?
Father: Oh, nevermind. There's an evil clown attached to it. He asked if you wanted to float.
You get the idea. When I distracted the kid from what made him or her cry they changed their mood and their response. You dodge, you evade the stimulus with something more pleasing.
Let's get down to the ground on this: Focusing on your breathing is a dodge. Being grateful to the anxiety is a dodge. Exercise, reading, writing, yoga, mediation, bottom line, are all one form of a dodge. They take your attention away from your thoughts, one that has given you reason to be upset, and allow you to focus on something a little less intense.
And the aforementioned dodges are healthy. They will further your sense of peace, lower your blood pressure, and invite a sustained sense of calm. But stick with that list. There are others that people use more often that are entirely ineffective dodges. For example. conversation can be of some help but it's too tempting to focus on the source of the issue that caused the emotional angst. Television, smoking, eating and drinking are horrible forms of a dodge. They're all a different kinds of emotional novacane. They don't add to the calm, they just numb the pain. And when the effects wear off, you've just pushed the issue down the emotional road a little. There won't be even the smallest change.
Getting out of your head takes practice. I have put more emphasis on my breathing and self talk than I ever have. With practice I know you all can do the same. I'll revisit this again in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please go back to the essays these last couple of weeks and pick one that may have made a difference. Get back to me if you want any clarity or explanation. Email me at acoachforyourheart.com and I'll answer any questions.