Sleep

Get Out Of Your Head

Do you sometimes drive yourself absolutely crazy by just thinking?

I do! I do so much bloody thinking. I try to think and reason my way around everything. And that’s a good approach to practical problems. Practical problems need practical solutions.

But emotional “problems” don’t need practical solutions. At least not from the outset. Emotions need to be felt. And you don’t feel in your brain. Your brain has got zero touch or pain receptors in it, it can’t feel. It can only translate what is felt elsewhere. But we ignore what is being felt elsewhere (unless it’s extremely physically or emotionally painful right now) by thinking all the time.

To feel, you need to get out of your head, and into your body. And to do so without your brain jumping in to pass judgements or justifications for it.

THAT CAN BE REALLY HARD TO DO.

One reason it’s really hard to do, is because our brains want to protect us against feeling any pain. We’re experts at it. We’ve all got effective ways of shutting out feelings, both physical and emotional. It may be scrolling on Facebook, eating chocolate, hour after hour of Netflix, a glass of wine (or a bottle of gin), sex, drugs or rock and roll. We distract ourselves, or we push the feelings down.

We spend our whole lives either working to avoid pain or working to gain pleasure. And if we’re busy working to avoid pain, can we ever really get genuine pleasure? At some point we need to stop avoiding the pain and face it.

The answer is to start (slowly carefully and perhaps with support) allowing yourself to feel whatever’s there.

I find that slow, easy movement is a great way. Walking is my preference, but others would advocate for yoga, pilates, swimming. You go with what works for you, and if you’re not sure what that is, try a few out.

I head out with the dogs and just take time to notice what’s going on around me and within me. I don’t use this time “productively.” I don’t bring my headphones along and catch up with a podcast. This is no time for such distractions. I listen to the wind in the trees or the river rushing past. I notice a slight pull in a leg muscle, or my heart beating faster. I pay attention to other feelings in my body, whatever comes up.

Or you could just sit or lie still and breathe. Pick somewhere in your body and see how it feels. Describe that sensation to yourself. Give it a colour, size, shape, texture, weight, a name – whatever you need to describe it. No need to judge it or give it a Good or Bad label. Just accept it for what it is.

Taking time to break the habit of thinking and to remember what it is to feel, getting out of your head and into your body, is, in my opinion, time well spent.

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