In Embodied Life: How many times have you caught yourself thinking, I wish I knew what to do next? If you’re like most people, it’s probably more than you can count.
In other cases, you might be overcome with emotion and negative thoughts about the past or future that prevent you from living your best life right now.
While it’s normal to get lost in our heads sometimes, many of us have trouble stepping out of this space and back into our bodies to enjoy the present moment. The solution, though not always easy, lies in learning how to live an embodied life.
In Embodied Life: It’s no secret that exercise is a great way to get out of your head. Most people feel calmer, more confident, and more in touch with their emotions after they’ve spent some time moving their body.
With so many options—yoga, running, cycling—it can be tough to figure out which sport fits you best (and also appeals to your schedule).
If you’re unsure where to start, it may help you decide if you just keep a journal about how different types of exercise make you feel afterward.
You might have certain preferences based on how energized or relaxed you feel post-workout.
2) Stop Comparing Yourself
In Embodied Life When you constantly compare yourself to others, it’s easy to overlook your own unique strengths. You might be better than them at something—but that doesn’t mean that what you do is pointless.
Focus on your accomplishments, rather than getting wrapped up in whether or not you have more (or less) money, education, skill or experience than another person.
Focus on being a badass—not being a better-than someone else. Don’t get so caught up in comparisons that you forget what makes you special!
3) Do Less
We often feel like we have no choice but to continuously multi-task throughout our days. We tell ourselves that we can’t get anything done unless we stay connected with emails, phone calls, texts, etc.
However, research shows that multitasking may not be as effective or productive as you think it is. In fact, doing too much is a leading cause of stress in our lives—which can directly lead to higher levels of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
To start living a more embodied life today; try doing one thing at a time — you may find that your productivity doesn’t take a hit after all!
4) Be Present in the Moment
We spend so much time living in our heads that we have no real concept of what’s going on around us. Take a deep breath and observe your surroundings.
Are you surrounded by color, texture, movement? What does it feel like? Can you hear voices? What are they saying? You might be surprised at how quickly you slip into autopilot when performing day-to-day tasks.
Do yourself a favor; next time you’re doing something rote, like washing dishes or cleaning up after dinner (or staring at a computer screen), stop thinking about everything else going on in your life and focus your attention on what’s right in front of you.
It will take practice but eventually making yourself present will become second nature.
5) Watch Movies
Studies have shown that movie-watching can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When you’re feeling stressed out, consider curling up with a calming movie.
Not sure where to start? Check out these movies: Inside Out (PG), Lion (PG), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13), Love & Basketball (R).
Watch with others if possible—not only will it make for more fun, but getting together with other people has been shown to improve moods.
Look for opportunities in your area: see what your local cinema is showing or ask friends or colleagues about groups or organizations that host movie nights.
6) Accept That You Cannot Control Everything
This is one of those simple truths about life that we all hate, but it’s also incredibly freeing. No matter how hard you try or how much you achieve, there will always be something out of your control.
Rather than letting that get you down, accept it as a fact of life—something that’s okay—and move on with your day. It can be easy to waste mental energy focusing on what you can’t control (and then getting mad at yourself for doing so).
When that happens, step back from what you’re doing, take a deep breath and go after something you can accomplish in a smaller amount of time.
That might mean calling instead of emailing or sending flowers instead of asking a question via text message.
7) Practice Noticing the Good Things
It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. Everyone does it, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent part of your life. One way you can stop being so self-critical is by practicing what psychologists call radical acceptance.
Every time you notice yourself thinking negatively about something, force yourself to accept that thought as true. Instead of arguing with it or ignoring it, simply recognize that your mind has created a thought you don’t want and let go.
Gradually—and I mean gradually—you’ll develop positive new habits of thinking (while still remembering all those crummy old habits are there if you need them).
8) Observe People Around You
When you’re out in public, watch other people. Take note of how they sit, stand, or carry themselves during conversations with others.
If a particular movement or stance looks uncomfortable or is constricted in some way, remember it for later. You might even jot down notes about what you see at first so that you can refer back to them later.
This practice will help increase your awareness about your body, too—you’ll become aware if you’re holding tension anywhere (and will thus be able to release it).
9) Eat More Mindfully
Most people eat quickly, distracted by TV or a smartphone. But chewing slowly is one way to get out of your head (and can even make you feel fuller). Start paying attention to how fast you chew.
If it seems like it takes forever, try eating more slowly. And if you’re eating while watching TV, try tuning in—literally—to how much food you put in your mouth and what kinds of flavors hit your tongue. You might be surprised at how many extra bites you take when tuned out.
10) Try New Things
Do you ever notice how we become a little more conservative as we get older? We get comfortable in our routines and begin to fall into patterns with everything from meals to exercise, completely missing out on many interesting, new things.
Make a point of trying new things throughout your day. You’ll be amazed at what a fun difference it can make in your mood! When you try something new, or go somewhere you haven’t been before, all kinds of good things happen: First, it gives your brain something different to focus on—less repetition means less possibility for boredom.