1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. OK…breath.
Yup, still does nothing for me, and I will tell you why. I am not a numbers kind of person. I am a verbal type of person. I am a visual, big picture, look for patterns, analyze everything kind of person. So, counting to 10 never seemed to do much for me other than allow me to stew in my own juices for another 10 seconds. In fact, those 10 more seconds allow me the time to think of ways to plead my case or come up with even more reasons why I was distraught over whatever it was that brought me to count to 10 in the first place.
We, as humans, are much more verbal. As challenging as it was to count to 10 when we were young, it really does not challenge our brains enough to truly take our attention off that which is permeating our gray matter. We have senses that need to be redirected to thoroughly cleanse the mind’s pallet.
What works for me? I think of a place that makes me happy, a place that at that moment, I would escape to if I could. Now, starting with the letter A, I think of the things I would find there. I work my way through the alphabet. If I cannot think of something that begins with a specific letter, I allow myself to move past it and go to the next letter in the alphabet. I move forward through the alphabet and cleanse my mind and imagine myself in my happy place. Most of the time, by the time I get to the letter E, I already am much clearer in thought than when I started. It is like taking a mental walk when you are not physically able to walk away from a particular something or someone.
What I have discovered is shifting my mind allows the cleansing required to think clearly again. In my humble opinion, I have found much more use in strolling through the alphabet than counting to 10 before I act on that thing that is troubling me. In fact, I may not even remember what it was that brought me down the verbal walk through the alphabet in the first place. Mission accomplished.