By Coach George Relationship Coach
The tale tell signs I have of when I am lost in my own thoughts are the reflections I receive from those around me. Here are a few cues to let you know when you are less present with others and trapped in your own thoughts and what to do about it the next time it happens to you. You are probably in stuck in your own head when”
1. You become sensitive and just about anything anyone else says or does irritates you.
If you notice that the the way your best friend says “you want a cup of coffee?” is suddenly making you want to pour the cup of coffee on his head, then it would be safe to say you are in preoccupied by your own thoughts. Why would one react with irritation at a simple request? Because when you get lost in your own thoughts it creates a backlog. Life and relationships don’t stop when you go inside yourself. We feel the pressure to respond to our present moment surroundings without the mental space to do it, because we have too many mental tabs open in our own mind. It’s like a computer trying to process information with too many applications running. However, unlike life, a computer can freeze until its processing catches up. We can’t do that so we explode on others.
2. You lose perspective on time
Choosing to day dream is much different than being trapped in one’s own thoughts. The former produces pleasure and the latter produces mental gaps in recollection of our day. When you day dream, the fantasy fills one with a sensation. A feeling of pleasure, strength or even fear and loneliness. You have a sense that your mind took you on a roller coaster ride, you may not like the ride but you can account for the time.
When you are trapped in your thoughts, time slips away. It passes through your fingers like sand and you have no idea where the time has gone. There is a feeling of confusion about how the time was spent. For some people, being lost in thought can go on for days and weeks. It is a feeling like you are walking around in a fog. Or walking around in the dark in with a candle that doesn’t quite light well enough to see your next step. At this point some action should be taken to get back into the light again.
3. People are talking to you, but you can’t register what they are saying or feeling
This is a tough one to recognize without “cold water in the face” reality of another person, most often that person is a partner. When she says, “you are not paying attention”, “you are not understanding” , “you are not getting it” or “I am not speaking anymore cause you can’t hear me” she is saying eh hm “TURN OFF YOUR THOUGHTS AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” read this
It is best to close some programs at this point and listen or get vulnerable and say your concerns and fears around the thoughts you are holding.
How do you unlock your mind and get unstuck from thoughts? Try these tips:
1. Get moving
Body movement creates a new circuit in the brain that can pause circular thoughts. The nice thing is any movement can unlock your thoughts. You don’t need to be a marathon runner to take advantage of this. Simply pace in your office, walk around the block or dance to music. Exercise and yoga are all great ways to get your body moving and to clear your head. If you are in pinch for time try 10 jumping jacks and 10 toe touches, my particular favorites. Moving will short circuit your mental blockage.
Spending a few moments relaxing and getting centered is a great way to slow the heart rate and operate your system at slower pace. The change from frenetic energy to soothing energy will help your thoughts slow down. Slowing your thoughts gives you more space to feel the emotion of your thoughts and react in accordance with your highest intentions. Slowing down keeps you from over reacting. Try a sitting mediation, they can be done anywhere and is a good practice for developing mindfulness.
3. Get Inspired
Reading your favorite quotes, listening to music that moves you and writing can all help you change the dialogue in your head. We get stuck in our heads when we resist the thoughts in our head, that is we don’t want to feel the emotions associated with the thoughts. This sort of disconnection from our emotions is exhausting and makes one feel tense and edgy. In some way we are not honoring those emotions within us. We make things worse when we project our dishonoring behavior onto those around us. Inspiration are thoughts that feed up with good feelings. And you guessed it!, feelings are emotions. Inspiration is a way to enjoy thoughts that sink deep down inside of us and nurture us with feelings of pleasure.
Laughter is a remedy for a lot of what ails us. according to Socrates laughter is a mixture of both pain and pleasure. Our emotions and reason react with opposite reactions, the former feelings of pleasure and amusement and the later touches upon our justice or political correctness. This means that laughter touches reason in a place that allows you to laugh at things that may not be totally appropriate. This gives your mind enough of a reason to let go of its serious attachment to its preoccupation. In other words, you are taken out of your head when you laugh, and when you go back to those thoughts you will have more levity.
Every here the story about the guy who bought a brand new jeep Cherokee and sunk it a frozen lake in Michigan while Ice fishing with dynamite? Its funny and horrible making it grate our sensibilices and tickle our funny bone.
These tips will help you get out of your own head and help you to be more present. Try them the next time you get feedback that you are preoccupied.