“Get out of your head already!“
How many times have you heard that? Maybe someone who cares about you has told you that after watching you break down mentally. Or perhaps you’ve told yourself that as you notice yourself falling down the rabbit hole of anxious thought. Getting out of your head is not easy, and it’s especially not obvious when you can’t see the exit. There is only one way out, and that is through your body.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I get stuck inside my head a lot. For 20 years, I held a dark secret of sexual abuse that gave me the best mental padlock one could have. While there were days that I saw the exit, there was no belief that I could make it through the door. So my thoughts lingered inside my head, and I chose distraction to quiet the pain.
Somewhere along the journey of life, we believe that our minds are the best out of changing our thoughts, so we focus on the inside job. Thinking that our escape is through alcohol, drugs, sex, or shopping, we can be free from the thoughts that keep rattling around our minds. Attacking it from the inside does give a reprieve, but it only numbs the idea, it never sets it free. Freedom comes from allowing our thoughts to exit the mind through our bodies.
How do we get out of the mind through our bodies?
Regular exercise is at the top of the heap. There’s no denying that societies rising mental health issues are well rooted in our ever-increasing sedentary lifestyles. We are not hunter-gatherers anymore, so our need to move to survive is non-existent, at least not in the immediate form. The result is our deteriorating mindsets and continually nagging anxiety.
We wait for our minds to get motivated to exercise. But it rarely ever works. Motivation is an inside job, and it’s weak. The only way to move is to put one foot on the ground at a time in a regular pattern that encourages the mind to move. Sometimes, it takes brute force.
When I began exercising regularly, the sick thoughts from being raped as a 10-year-old boy finally got to see the light of day, and I was able to process the pain from that trauma. And it all started with a simple daily walk. I got out of my head more walking every day than I did while training and running a full marathon. Now my mind is entirely free from those sickening thoughts, and while I still have stressful “normal life” thoughts, I keep moving daily to get through them and allow them to escape.
I was never a good writer, and I never had a natural knack for it. Often when I wrote, the sickening thoughts stuck inside my head would get agitated. I would stop writing, fearing I would let them out. But once I started walking more, I permitted myself to open the flood gates of pent-up disturbing thoughts.
Writing is a physical act of producing thought tangibly. Much like any other creative art, putting thought into its physical form is an expressive release that not only gets you out of your head, it helps others understand that they too can get out of theirs. When art is received, it brings inspiration, and inspiration leads to action, not motivation.
Your body is your most important asset to getting out of your head. It is the exit to which all thoughts manifest -with or without your doing. Diseases are often the manifestations of unresolved thoughts. A life lived stuck inside the tiny room of the sick brain leads to the body’s sudden sickness. It’s an inevitable result. Either you use your body to get out of your mind, or your mind will use your body to store your sickening thoughts. People often die of broken hearts or suffer major health emergencies like heart attacks and strokes due to unmanaged stress.
Allow your thoughts the exit they deserve, move, be active and find your art. It will save your life. Start right now, go for a thought freeing brisk 15 minute walk outside and think. It’s the beginning of a lifelong habit of getting out of your head.