Do You Live In Your Head?
Before I discovered the practice of mindfulness and meditation, I lived in my head and it was a really noisy, not so friendly place. I would over analyze everything, was a slave to my never ending mental To-Do lists, be in trance with racing thoughts that often started with “what if….?
Needless to say when we live in our heads, we’re not living the Life that’s right here; we’re time traveling. We’re busy replaying something that happened in our past or obsessing about something in the future.
When we’re so identified with our analytical mind, we’re also probably not dealing with our emotions in a healthy way, Mostly, when we’re living in our heads, we’re trying to control the things that are outside of our control. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and saps our vitality.
When we’re disconnected from the whole sophisticated sensory system that we inhabit, we get stuck living in a kind of virtual reality.
There’s actually a name for this mind wandering mode: it’s our brain’s Default Mode Network (“DMN”). And sadly, this means that most of the time our brain literally defaults to this kind of worry based thinking.
Now more than ever we need to gain awareness of this tendency and find ways to shift the mind’s predominant setting.
Here’s a simple exercise:
1) Pause whatever you’re doing.
2) Let your eyes close and gently focus them up in the space between your eyebrows.
3) Through the nose inhale slowly and exhale completely 3-5x.
4) Now staying within, open your other senses to whatever is happening around you. Hear the sounds around you; feel the backs of your legs in your chair; smell the air; become aware of any tension you’re holding in your body, consciously relax your shoulders, soften your chest, disengage your jaw, relax your tongue.
5) If your mind wanders, gently and without judgment re-direct your attention back to what you’re feeling physically.
For more on this, listen to this week’s podcast, The Mindful Body – A Key To Lasting Positive Change With Serge Prengel, Mindset Coach and Integrative Therapist.