“Every time I turn around, there I am.” A quote from an episode of Ozark I watched last night.
Some days I couldn’t get out of my own way if my life depended on it. I am buried so deep inside my own head that I can perform my entire morning routine and not recall a single thing I did.
Most often, when I am that deep inside my mind, it is worry based. I tend to perseverate about things that worry me and, that isn’t mentally or physically healthy.
Some of the benefits of mindfulness include: decreased stress, increased self-acceptance, increased resilience, and increased concentration.
Mindfulness Amidst the COVID 19 Pandemic
According to Mindful.org mindfulness, is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing and, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on.
With the current state of our country and the constant barrage of stressful information circulating amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, it can be pretty enticing to stay in your head. But honestly, being mindful doesn’t mean you have to absorb all that information.
Listen to what you need to know, enough to be aware and proactive then, move on. Moving on to being mindful and in the moment will help curb some of the overwhelm that can consume us during times like these.
5 Ways to Get Out of Your Head
One great way to get out of your head and into your surroundings is to narrate what you are seeing. Give a narration as if you were describing your surroundings to someone who was visually impaired. If you were at a park, it would sound something like this:
“There is a sprawling Magnolia Tree in the middle of the park. There must be fifty Magnolia in full bloom. The contrast of the cream-colored blooms against the canvas of dark green leaves is breathtaking.”
Exchanging the ongoing narrative in your head with a vivid description of what you see is a wonderful way to bring your mind front and center.
2. Small Finger Movements with a Short Mantra
Small finger movements, coupled with a short mantra, is very helpful in centering your mind and regulating your breathing. The one I like to use is, “I am peace and peace is me.” The finger movements are like this:
- Thumb to pinky finger and say “I”
- Thumb to ring finger “am”
- Thumb to middle finger “peace”
- Thumb to index finger “and”
- Thumb to middle finger “peace”
- Thumb to ring finger “is”
- Thumb to pinky finger “me”
You can use this one or create one that is more meaningful to you.
3. Count Your Steps
Yes, it is as simple as it sounds. Simply count your steps. Obviously, if you do five thousand steps a day, you won’t want to count all of them but, if you break them down into blocks of ten or so, it can bring you out of the depths of your mind and into the present.
4. Listen to an Audio Book or PodCast
Introducing another voice into your head helps quiet your own. Find something that interests you and dive in. Put it on in your car or listen to one at home while you are cooking dinner, cleaning, or just trying to relax your mind. It works.
5. Focus on your breathing
Breathing is something we do all day, every day. It’s rhythmical, it’s relaxing, and it can be one of the most calming things we do when it is under control. If I am at home and can lay down I like to put something small and flat on my stomach, just over my belly button.
Use something that has enough weight that you can feel it rise and fall with your breathing. The best thing that comes to mind is a bar of soap that is still in the package (not a wet slimy one).
Breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. Focus on the rise and fall of your stomach, you will notice that with just a few breaths you become totally focused on your breathing. When thoughts enter into your mind just re-focus on your breathing and they will float away.
So there you have them, five quick ways to get out of your head and more focused on living your life. I find that ruminating on things has become a habit for me over the years and it takes a good amount of focus to stay mindful throughout the day.
Using these techniques has helped a lot and I hope that you find them helpful as well. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. I would love to hear from you.