I love being inside my mind. It’s a great place, full of unexplored possibilities. It’s where a lot of things happen that would never occur in real life. In short, it’s crazy but it’s fun. However, there’s also one really big trap: forgetting about my body. Last week was pretty extreme.
There were 4 or 5 days when I would wake up at 8 am, start doing things for my business, forget all about the rest of the world (including myself) and realize having breakfast is probably a good idea at 5 or 6 pm. Not a very healthy way to lose weight, I can tell you. And then there was also this one day where I met up with a friend in the evening and he asked me if I wanted something to drink and I realized it was literally the first thing I’d be drinking that day. Happens more often… Usually, at some point during the day I go like: “Oh I should really drink something! No, wait, let me just do this one thing first!” and then forgetting about it completely. It’s not that I have issues with my body, it’s just that I forget about it easily.
Of course, you don’t need me to tell you this is not a very healthy approach. Unfortunately, it’s something I see with a lot of rational friends as well. While we’re wrapped up in something in our minds, whether it’s worrying about something or getting caught up in a book or game, we forget all about sleep, food and exercise. Now if this is something that happens once in a blue moon – that’s one thing. But if it’s something that happens on a regular basis, it’s very easy to become disconnected from your body. It becomes hard to stay in the present, paying attention to your surroundings and generally live a healthy live. Instead, we’re almost literally consumed by thoughts.
Luckily, even for people who love being in their mind as much as I do, there are several ways to reconnect with their body. I’ve discovered several of them.
- Meditate or pay real close attention to your breathing. Keep it real, meditating for 30 minutes a day is not for everyone. Personally, my favorite is this very simple exercise learned from Davidji (who, for a meditation instructor, is surprisingly down-to-earth). Pay very close attention to your breath as you do the following: inhale for 4 seconds; hold your breath for 4 seconds; exhale for 4 seconds; wait until inhaling again for 4 more seconds. The whole exercise takes 16 seconds, but I found it to be really effective!
- Learn something new that requires a lot of attention. The important thing here is to do something that requires you to use your body and has a certain level of difficulty that makes it hard to do this thing with your mind elsewhere. Several things I’ve tried is learning how to play guitar and sewing teddy bears, but you could probably think of something that fits your interests.
- Sports! Sports are great, as long as you pick the right one. Honestly, the one ‘sport’ I’ve done throughout highschool is chess, so I’m definitely not the sportive type of girl, but lately I’ve found several things that really help me. One is yoga, which works best if you stretch your body as well as your limits. A different one is dance improvisation. This is actually a really great one, because it requires my mind and my body to work together. However, if you think these things are too tame or girly, feel free to pick anything else, just make sure it’s something that needs your full attention, not something you can do on autopilot.
There’s probably a lot more strategies out there. Do you have some that work for you? I’d love to learn about them!