Stuck in your head
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Can we truly think and feel at the same time?
But can we do them both well simultaneously?
Many people these days seem to live primarily from the neck up as if there is a wall between their head (thinking mind) and the rest of the body including the heart (feeling center). As this state of affairs is increasingly common, you've certainly experienced being stuck "In your head", obsessing over thoughts, maybe getting so wrapped up in them that it's difficult to "turn it off" at night when you try to go to sleep or challenging to actually listen when someone is talking to you. When we are in our head we are disassociated with the present moment.
We may be in thoughts of the past or the future - anything but the present! This means we are out of touch with our authentic feelings as they arise unnoticed, our bodies and whatever is going on around us. We're out of touch with the people in our lives or often the actual physical environment we are enmeshed in.
For a good visual think about the last time you saw someone so engaged in their phone while walking across the room that they literally didn't notice you were there. Being in our head is kinda like that. It may sound like a bit of a stretch but I promise, it is sadly not.
How it serves us?
Living in our head allows us to be in fantasy about the life we could have, or had at some time in the past that we long for. It allows us to analyze the tremendous amount of content coming in from social media, the news, podcasts we listen to or the books and articles we read.
Living in our head can make us feel smart like we are considering all options, possibilities or learning new things.
Living in our head can help us avoid our feelings like anger or sadness and combat our fear of change. It can help us temporarily avoid our pain as we try to think our way out of it. We try to calculate new solutions to all the made up future outcomes or dangers that may or may not happen to us. We like to think that living in our head can protect us.
What are the costs?
Being in our head robs us of really enjoying our lives. It robs us of our feelings, as well as depth in relationships. This lack of depth in relationships can destroy relationships and intimacy.
Being in our head makes us feel alienated and those around us feel like we are not present with them.
It steals our connection to our bodies.
Analysis paralysis happens when we think and rethink solutions to problems over and over again looking at the matter at hand from every angle without taking action. Proper analysis of situations is a good thing, but overthinking can cripple us and stop us from taking action.
Is it worth it?
If you got out of your head what would tomorrow look like?
Start enjoying some gifts of being fully present: ---> Freedom from the harsh dictator living upstairs.
---> Reduction of anxiety.
---> Emotional access.
---> Taking action.
---> Not feeling like you need to have all of the answers.
---> Fully embracing what it is to be a human.
What are some ways to wake up below the neck?
---> Pause to take a few breaths. You could even set a reminder on your phone to stop what you are doing a couple times a day and just take a few breaths to recenter.
---> Make something with your hands.
---> Interpersonal work like men's groups, women's groups or co-ed authentic relating groups.
---> Physical challenges forcing you out of your head and into your body