Everyone zones out every once in a while. In most cases zoning out can actually be healthy. It gives us to disconnect from life’s daily stressors. The issue lies in zoning out too much. if you find yourself unable to focus on a day-to-day basis and it’s starting to affect your personal life, you’re zoning out problem may be a symptom have a bigger depression problem.
When we think of zoning out, we typically imagine someone staring at a white wall without a thought in the world but it rarely presents that in the material world. The truth is, zoning out too much can be a sign of depression and have several negative effects on your life. Here are two of the most common:
- Zoning out can dampen your relationships. If your close friend is suffering from a breakup and you can’t seem to pay attention to what she’s saying, she may feel that you don’t care. Despite how much you may love the person you’re talking to, sever zoning out can drive a wedge between you and your loved one.
- Zoning out can put your life in danger. Highway hypnosis takes place when a person zones out while driving. This can be as simple as forgetting the last few miles or feeling sleepy behind the wheel. Either way, you’re risking your life.
- Zoning out can threaten your employment. Unfortunately, the business world revolves around getting the job done. No matter how forward your workplace is, a layoff is inevitable if you’re unable to complete your work.
If this sounds familiar to you, you need to have a few self-help hacks in your back pocket to combat a space case. But before you do that, you need to ask yourself: Why do I zone out?
You may not be able to stop yourself from zoning out but you can help yourself refocus. Grounding techniques encompass a variety of activities you can practice to refocus, pull away from bad memories, and manage emotional highs.
Here are 5 grounding techniques you can practice nearly anywhere.
- Focus on what your body is feeling. Ask yourself: Can I feel my hair against my face? My shirt against my body? Are my shoulders tight? Raised to high? By taking notice of every inch of your body, you will feel more in touch with reality.
- Stretch your body. You’d be surprised how far a little stretching goes for your focus. Raise your arms above your head, rotate your neck, and touch your tones.
- Use the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Heightening the senses is a great way to get back in tune with your body. This grounding technique calls on you to ‘list five things you hear, then four things you see, then three things you can touch from where you’re sitting, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.’
- Use your imagination. Visualize yourself in a situation where you feel happiest. Think about what it takes to get there. Use that as inspiration to motivate your day and recenter your focus.
- Recite what you know. Remember all your multiplication tables? Recite them as a way to ground yourself. Whether it’s a song you’ve loved forever or the math problems you’ll never forget, repeating a familiar fact can help bring you back to reality.
To find your grounding technique, ask yourself what you find comfort in. If the answer is music, you may want to recite your favorite song. If the answer is having a plan, you may want to take a more logical approach. Whatever the case, don’t give up on a technique before you’ve taken the time to master it.
Practice makes perfect. In order to master grounding techniques, it’s going to take practice. To perfect them, practice your technique of choice even when you’re not zoning out. After all, you need to perfect your strategy.
If you’ve found that zoning out is seriously inhibiting your ability to function in day to day life, it may be worth asking yourself if a deeper issue at work. Zoning out can be a healthy way to detach from the stresses of life, but if zoning out begins to ruin your relationships or work productivity you need to seek out help.
Talk to a therapist or start at your family doctor to get a recommendation to a specialist. If you don’t know if you have a problem, ask your friends and family if they feel you’ve been present. The people that love you are the first to notice then your behavior changes.
Are you struggling with zoning out? What techniques do you use to recenter your focus? Tell us in the comments.