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We all have those moments (or days) when we get in our head too much. Our constant stream of thought is running the show. And as legendary life coach Tony Robbins says, “When you get in your head, you’re dead.”
We get stuck in the past: I can’t believe she did that to me.
We future trip: I’m going to look like such a loser at this big meeting.
We overthink a decision to death: Should I do this or should I do that? What about…?
It can be agony. A client once told me, “I’d prefer physical pain to the pain of being in my head constantly.” Yep, it can be that awful. When you need to get outta your noisy head and into a calm zone, here’s what to do:
Meditators know that we are not our thoughts. For example, when someone is annoying you so much you want to punch them in the face, but you don’t. You are not an abuser, after all. I’ve wanted to punch many a sibling, colleague, and husband (I’ve had two of them), but I haven’t.
It just means that I had a fleeting angry thought. That’s OK, we all have them. It’s what we act on — or don’t act on — that counts.
Mantras are tremendously helpful, as they can instantly center us. My current one is a little long, but whenever I repeat it, I notice a sharp shift in my emotional state. I say to myself or out loud: “I am the creator of my life. Whatever I think about creates my reality.”
It makes me less apt to think about the crazy stuff, including thoughts like “my life is a complete failure.” It also encourages me to focus on the present moment.
Now that you’re in the present moment, you wanna stay there. A great way to do this is to simply listen to the sounds around you and reconnect with your environment.
Right now, for example, I notice the fan in my bedroom. Just pausing and listening to the whir of the fan is calming. It puts me back in my body and out of my head. It also slows your breathing. Dare I say, it’s a mini meditation? Just like that! No candles or Zen den required.
When we’re in our head, we’re most likely obsessing over ourselves. It’s often totally self-indulgent, and it’s certainly not healthy. Burmese author and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi once said, “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.”
When we shift our focus from ourselves to something or someone else, we naturally become more powerful, lighter, and stronger. Who can you call? What can you do right now to help someone? It’s a win, win. You’ll feel happier, more connected, and uplifted almost immediately.
Help yourself by constantly remembering this: The past: That sh*t’s over. The future: It’s being created in the present moment by your thinking. You will never have to handle a single thing that is not in the present moment. Now is all you’ve got — it’s all you ever have. Cue huge exhale!
Release the thoughts that make you feel bad. Repeat your mantra. Notice the sound of your car’s engine or the water from your showerhead. Think about what you can do for another person today; kindness is the ultimate calming and empowering force.
Remember, there is no future — not one that’s guaranteed, anyway. You can get into your body and bliss out on the safe, high-def happening now.
Your mind can be your ally. It can be your buddy, your playmate, your coach. And it wants to be. It’s waiting patiently for the promotion. So, give it the job it deserves.
Susie Moore is a former Silicon Valley sales director turned life coach, advice columnist, and author of the book “What If It Does Work Out.” She lives in Miami with her husband Heath and Yorkshire Terrier, Coconut.