Getting Out of Your Mind
Have you ever said or heard someone say, “I just can’t get out of my head”? Everyone has had a least one day where they have spent the day living in their mind instead of their body. This may have been caused by grief over a loss of a loved one, a betrayal of a close friend, or a huge presentation you have to give that day. For some, this only happens on certain occasions. Some of us, however, live in our minds a majority of the time.
What does it mean to live in your mind? It means that you are focused more on what is happening inside your mind than with the outside world. For example, if you’re best friend just started dating your recently ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, thoughts of them will consume you all day. You will have difficulty concentrating on anything else.
So what happens when you are someone who is constantly living inside your mind? Whatever you are anxious, stressed, angry, or even happy about will make it difficult for you to focus on anything else, will consume your every thought, and will make you absent from your own life. As someone who has struggled and still struggles with living in my head all day, I can tell you personally that it has robbed me of my life. When I live in my head I become anti-social, depressed, unmotivated, and terrified.
What can you do then, to get out of your mind and back into your body?
The first thing you need to do is not think of getting out of your mind, but getting back into your body. If you keep thinking “I need to get out of my mind”, you are already back in your mind. So you must instead focus on trying to get into your body and into the present moment.
The second thing you need to do is start to notice your body. You can do this in many ways. You can start by just feeling your body while sitting in the chair. Notice how your bottom feels in the chair, how your feet feel on the floor. Sit there and just feel each part of your body. Exercise can also help. Feeling your body move, your heart beat, and your lungs breath. Stretch your body, feel the muscles stretch and relax. As all things, this will take practice, but as you become more in tune to your body, you will start to focus less on your inner monologue.
Another thing that can help is meditation. For some reason meditation has this stigma about it. People tend to think it is some sort of joke. However, new studies have shown powerfully positive effects directly linked to meditation. Meditation helps calm your mind and body and will allow you to separate yourself from your obsessive thoughts.
Here’s an example of how I was able to get back into my body. I have tried to learn snowboarding twice now. The first time was an absolute disaster. I was so nervous and so worried about getting the technique right. I was in my mind thinking about how much of idiot I looked like, how I must be annoying my friend who was teaching me, and how much I just wanted to be at the bottom of the mountain. I fell time and time again, unable to even get 10 feet without flipping my board. I didn’t just fall on my butt, I fell twisting my board so that my board made me fall side wards, twisting my ankle multiple times. It took me over an hour to get down the mountain once and I was done after that. Over a year later I decided to try again. This time was different. At first I started to focus on the technique and worry about others looking at me, but then my friend explained that I would be able to feel what I needed to do with my body if I just listened to it. He was right. After feeling my body and the shift and slide of my board, I was able to go halfway down the mountain without falling. This is just one of many things that getting out of your head and into your body can do for you.
As you get out of your mind and into your body you will experience less anxiety, obsessive thinking, negative thoughts, and depression. It won’t take away these problems, but it will help you ignore them or deal with them in a healthy way.