WELLNESS
01/28/2015 08:17 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What To Do When You're Dwelling On A Problem

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You know that phrase, "You're making a mountain out of a molehill"? It's an adage for a reason. Our brains do have a tendency to over-reflect, making a simple decision or problem seem more like a life-changing crisis.

Each problem or creative roadblock deserves its own reflection, but when we begin to ruminate on them, our emotional well-being may suffer. Luckily there are solutions whether you're trying to conquer a mountain or just examining a molehill. If you're feeling hopelessly stuck, try one of the tricks below.

Hit the shower.
shower bath

Or the gym, or the movies, or the mall... you get the point. Sometimes our most creative breakthroughs come when we're doing the most uninspired of tasks. Little distractions may "provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution," Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson explained to the Boston Globe. Eureka!

Sit in silence.
silence

Sometimes all you need to solve that problem is some quiet headspace. As Bruce Davis, Ph.D. and author of Simple Peace, previously told HuffPost Healthy Living, silence can lead to a more open mind. "As a psychologist, this is what I think is perfect therapy. When you find peace and quiet, you think more clearly, feel more clearly and the body heals itself," he said.

Better yet, try a little meditation.
meditation

If a problem has you totally strung out, you need to bring your mind back to balance, stat. We can't solve anything when our brains are swimming in stress. Excessive worry can cause headaches, muscle fatigue and disrupt sleep (talk about some serious concentration killers). Try a little mindfulness meditation to calm you down and bring your awareness to the present moment. You'll release the tension and bring yourself to a place of peace in no time.

Don't completely put it out of your mind.
couple questions

Perhaps one of the worst things you could do when a problem is causing anxiety is running from it altogether. "The biggest concern is when anxiety starts to create an avoidance cycle," Mickey Trockel, M.D., a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, previously told HuffPost Healthy Living. "When something is provoking those emotions, then avoiding it feels good -- and because that feels good, it's reinforcing the anxiety. Then, the next time the situation comes up, without any conscious decision-making, it creates greater intensity."

This GPS Guide is part of a series of posts designed to bring you back to balance when you're feeling off course.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

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