WARNING: Thinking about things at 2:30am makes things feel larger than they really are.
Are you a ruminator? An over-thinker? Have you ever had a hard time falling asleep or focusing on the task at hand because you can't get something else out of your mind?
Yeah, me too.
There's also the quantum theory: "What you resist persists."
This says that the more you focus on something, the more of that thing you attract to into your life. Therefore, the worst part about obsessing over stressful thoughts isn't lack of sleep. Those mind treadmills are actually making the negative energy stronger and more prolific. Crazy, I know. But true.
Since then, I've been given two more similar visualizations that I use all the time.
My friend June says she visualizes sweeping the persistent thought out the door. She pictures herself opening the door, sweeping her worries away, closing the door and watching it get blown away by the outside wind.
If you're convinced you need to address the situation later but just need a mental break to focus on something else or get some sleep, you can always sweep it into a special room (or padded cell or whatever; it's your head) and lock the door. You can always let it out later.
Life can be stressful. Sometimes we have to be creative in order to get those brain synapses to stop firing in repetitive, non-productive ways.
The other visualization, which may sound gross but also works really well, is to picture flushing especially negative thoughts down the toilet.
Buh-bye crappy thoughts! *pun intended*
LET GO AND GROW!