I have a friend who frequently says, “When I am in my own head, I am in enemy territory. ”
There are many moments in my life when this is more true than I would like. On the racquetball court, if the ball has a nice, lazy bounce and I have plenty of time to check out where my opponent is, have plenty to time to think about the perfect placement and the precise force needed to hit a winner, I will invariably hit a poor shot. Why? I am too much in my own head.
The same is true in other places in my life: I have a tendency to overthink, to overanalyze, to get in my own way as I live my life. Enemy territory, indeed!
What to do? How do we get out of ourselves and live more in the present and more fully? I have found four important ways to do this:
1. Spend time outdoors. Nature is endlessly fascinating and it always fills me with wonder and gives me new perspective.
2. Read a book or watch a movie. There’s nothing like getting absorbed in someone else’s head to get out of your own!
3. Perform an act of service. Sometimes this means we spend a chunk of time helping others, but even a small act of kindness (such as helping someone load their groceries in the car or holding a door for someone) can get us out of our rut.
4. Laugh. Laughter reduces stress, helps us feel good, and enables us to take ourselves less seriously. I know it is sometimes hard to find something to laugh at, so if you need something now, remember this: when you are in your own head, you are in enemy territory!