From Mind-Full to Mindful - Part 3: 10 Quick Ways to Get Out of Your Head
This is Part 3 of a 3 Part Series. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
I spent more than 40 years mostly in my head. I am a “head type” on the Enneagram and being my head’s a very comfortable place for me to be.
But I’ve learned that my best inspirations, ideas, clarity, answers, and solutions come from getting out of my head and into my body, into my heart and into THIS present moment. For some of you, this will not make a lot of sense…so you’ll need to try it to believe it.
For you, I ask you to trust me and give this a try.
And, yeah, some of us can talk ourselves out of our worry thoughts – reminding ourselves that these are just thoughts – that we don’t have to believe our thoughts – that they are just possibilities and that we are the thinker NOT the thoughts. But that takes a great deal of awareness and mental strength. Sometimes it’s just better to do something else!
10 QUICK WAYS TO GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
- Decide to stop the worry/ruminating/self-criticism, pick something to do to get your mind off it. And do it.
- Snuggle/connect with your partner or your kids. Your body will release the hug or love hormone, oxytocin. This will automatically settle your nervous system and bring you back to this moment. If your kids are older and might resist a snuggle, just try to get as close to them as you can. BE WITH THEM. Get curious and try to connect with them about their lives and their world. It’s hard to think of our “stuff” when we are genuinely interested in someone else.
- Breathe. Focus on an elongated out-breath which will calm your nervous system. Breath connects your mind to your heart.
- Pull out a coloring book. Coloring is relaxing as an alternative to meditation.
- Get out into nature. Even if it's just in your back yard for 2 minutes.
- Get up and stretch, exercise, or DANCE! Move your body in whatever way your body is asking you to move it! Get your blood flowing. Have fun!
- Do an orienting exercise. Look around the room/environment and notice something around the room you have not noticed before – like a light, a tree, a picture, or a piece of lint on the couch, etc – just focus on that and really notice it. Notice your breathing, but no need to change it. Slowly move your attention to something else in the room and focus on that.
- Bring attention to your body. Stomp your feet. Hit your chest. Tap your skin. Rub your hands together. Wiggle. Jump up and down. Do something that actually brings you into your body.
- Try out the power pose. Watch this video about how the way body language may affect how we feel about ourselves. Standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.
- Become aware of your body in the environment: Notice your butt on the chair and/or feet on the floor. If you’re in a chair, feel the contact you are making with the back of the seat. If your feet are on the ground, pay attention to each foot on the floor. Notice your breath. No need to change anything – just notice it. Do a quick body scan. Notice your head, temples, jaw, neck, heart, belly, hips, pelvic floor, legs, feet. Just bring attention from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet
BONUS: If you find yourself awake at night worrying or in a place where you can’t do something from the list above, use these to CHANGE your thinking:
- Say gratitudes. Recite as many things as you can that you are grateful for.
- Pray, if that feels right for you.
- Practice self-compassion. Say kind things to yourself as if you are talking your child or a close friend when he/she is worried or feeling bad – things such as “You are okay, things are okay, I’m with you, we’re going to get through this, this too shall pass, when we wake up in the morning it won’t feel so bad, it’s going to work out, etc.”
- Repeat a mantra or affirmation. For example, I am enough, I am love, I am okay, I am capable.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Put it into the comments below!