You’ve got to relax . . . chill . . . get out of your head for a while.
What? Get out of my head?
If I was out of my head, wouldn’t that mean I was crazy? Why would I want to get out of my head?
K, honestly, I know it doesn’t mean I’d be crazy, but I guess for years I’d never been out of my head before–at least not that I knew! For most of my life, my dang head has been the busiest, most non-stop, unsettled head ever.
This isn’t a contest–I know yours could be worse–I’m just sayin’. And how could I get OUT of it?!
I’ve learned some techniques to help, but the problem, at a certain level, remains. I didn’t have this problem as a child. I could sit for hours—HOURS–no fidgeting, complete focus, hardly adjusting my posture. In retrospect, it was kind of amazing! I can’t tell you what happened since then, but I can really obsess about things and I have a hard time settling down, shutting my brain off, letting go, etc.
I picked up on this ‘get out of your head’ thing as a way to relax, but had no understanding of what it meant. How would I get out of my head and why would I?
Then I started riding a bike. And I got it.
I’m not saying I just learned to ride a bike. I’ve always loved bikes. I’m saying, I started riding it purposefully, like the rest of my family does–not just toodling around for kicks now and then. When I rode I couldn’t think about work, or about whether my kid seven hours away was eating right, or how I should get my hair cut the next time or if the dogs were getting enough exercise or stuff, you know?
I couldn’t think about anything! Just the bike. And pushing myself. Listening to and feeling the wind and my breathing, and birds, and the bike. Feeling how hard my muscles had to push a mountain bike to make progress on the road or learning to ride in the hills. The first time I stopped after a good ride and realized I’d let go of my tension and worry about work and everything else for the day, I was pretty excited. I marveled and said, That was so relaxing (even though physically it wasn’t)!
I don’t ride a lot (yet) and when I do, I’m not good at it. Good at it meaning, I’m not able to go very far or keep up with a lot of other people I know who ride regularly. I have to work pretty hard at it. But I do it! And I like it!
I realized that people run, go to the gym, paint, go fishing, play musical instruments, cook, or whatever they do, not only because they like it, but because, in a lot of cases, they get out of their heads when they do those activities. They are able to completely refocus their minds and get a fresh start. That’s a very healthy thing to do!
There are two other times when my mind really settles. One is when I’m driving cross-country and another is when I’m paper crafting. When I drive cross-country my brain eventually settles down and I probably couldn’t even plan a decent menu. It’s really kind of weird. I’ve started calling cross-country road trips Forced Meditation. I definitely enjoy them and that’s probably one of the reasons why. When I’m paper crafting, I just get into a creative zone where I’m in a really happy place.
The bike though–the physical activity–is really different than the other things that clear my head. It is such a complete disconnect from the rest of the world. I’ve realized it’s probably one of the best things I’ve figured out for myself lately.
If you haven’t found something that really helps you clear your mind, I highly recommend that you do. If you have found something, what is it? I would love to know.