In the February blog on leaving relationships, I talked about how the head tends to overanalyze things and that the body really knows what we want and need. We generally let our mind take charge – we want reasons for everything we do. We want to justify our actions and decisions. We want to be “right”. We need to be “sure”. But for most things in life, there is no “sure”. There is only what is right for us at the time – and that can change. Overanalyzing, rethinking and rationalizing will not necessarily bring us to a better option – it may just keep us stuck.
That is where the body – the heart and gut – come in. These are the roots of our emotions and intuition, and the heart and gut generally know what we truly want and need. We literally feel things (e.g., discomfort, excitement, anxiousness) in those places – and that is the body trying to tell us something! We need to shut off the mind more often to allow us to hear what the body is saying. On average, we have about 50 thoughts every minute – so that can be a tall order! Here are a few ways to quiet the mind and reconnect with the body in order to listen to its wisdom.
Get out into nature. When we are outside – among trees, viewing mountains, rivers, oceans, wildlife, feeling the wind or rain or snow, hearing the birds – the mind calms as our body fills with oxygen and the energy that nature has to offer.
Go to yoga classes. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines meant to cultivate self-awareness by getting in touch with and opening the body. During a class, concentration is on moving the body into the poses, and there really is no space for outside thoughts.
Practice meditation. The purpose of meditation is to still the mind and let go of thoughts and simply experience our essential nature of peace and happiness. This state can be achieved in different ways for different people – doing your favorite hobby such as cooking/baking, throwing pottery, running, gardening, woodworking, etc. can allow us to let go of all other thoughts.
Listen to music and/or dance. If you like music, listening, singing and dancing removes thoughts and lets you feel the sensation of the music flowing through you.
Find what works for you – it might be something else entirely – and practice turning off your mind regularly – you might be surprised by what comes up. If you need help with this, contact us, and we will help you find a practice that suits you!