I tend to get all up in my head sometimes...thinking too hard, letting fears creep in, taking things too seriously. That's how I've been lately, in fact. I've been so "in my head" that I have a hard time thinking, if that makes any sense. By Friday of last week I was so depressed that I finally remembered an old way of mine to shake off the doldrums.
I went for a long walk.
I don't know why I always forget that if I drop the energy into my body, I can break the cycle. Sometimes it helps to just get good and physically tired....maybe even a little sore. So I followed through by doing some yard work this weekend. My patio was having things growing through the cracks, it still had leaves on it from fall, it was covered in silt...it was a mess.
Although I could work a year of weekends on my back yard and still not have a showplace, the patio was the last big project on my list for spring. Cleaning the patio had many purposes. The first was clearing out the patio...haha. But then I mulched the leaves and used them to cover the ground under the hammock. It's perpetually muddy under there, so this will give me some traction for getting in and out of the best seat in the house. In addition to that, it tired me out and kept me from slipping back into my head. It's like pushing a reset button.
Another thing physical thing I do that provides a lot of benefit is mowing. The violent shuddering of a lawn mower really shakes your entire body. And I find that when I mow, I can think about things that make me angry and get them off my chest. Sometimes I don't even know I'm angry about something until I get behind the mower! But the combination of thinking about an issue that frustrates me and the tremors of the mower brings the matter from the head to the body and out the body...to the yard, I guess. :)
I suppose others can reset their crazy heads by reading or maybe crafting or something. But for me, something physical does it. I used to be pretty darned fit. I would power walk six days a week. With my long legs and practiced stride, I could do five miles in less than an hour. I didn't do it as much for mental benefit as I did it for physical benefit back then, but looking back I can remember that I didn't work so hard on being balanced back then. Doing all the physical activity did that for me.
But when I fell off that wagon, I found other, more passive ways to get in balance—meditation, positive thought, self dialogue. That stuff works at shifting energy, too, but it keeps you in your head. And, as I've recently come to realize, it can actually serve as a detriment because the anger and other negative emotions I get out by tiring myself physically can remain below the surface, unattended to, when everything happens in your head.
Anyway, the very things I avoid, put off and dread are often the things that give me great benefit. The patio was the last on my list for a reason—it was hard work. I'm always glad once I'm done taking a walk or doing physical labor, but I tend to torture myself with dread in the time leading it up to it...haha. I focus on the hard work instead of the benefit. So having this insight of the positive aspects of physical activity—beyond the physical benefits—is very good for me. It can help me re-language the way I see it. For someone who lives in their head, physical benefits are often not enough to make us want to get up and go. But having this positive, but tiring, experience that reminded me about the mental benefits of being in the body, is just what the doctor ordered.