Have you ever been stuck in a difficult mind loop and unsure how how to get unstuck? Me, too! When a difficult situation or emotion has me spinning, it means that my amygdala has been activated and my prefrontal cortex will be of limited help. What does this mean in lay people’s terms? It means that I need to get out of my own head.
So just how do we do that? I have two favorite strategies. The first is to call a friend and the second is to move my body.
Calling a friend is honestly my easiest and quickest go-to strategy. It’s a great way to “name” my emotions and thought patterns and simultaneously receive compassionate support from another. But what if my friend is unavailabe, or I’ve already called and I’m still spinning? I move my body.
Big movement, especially outdoors, can do wonders for a mind that is beleaguered by stressful thoughts. But big movment is not always accessible-especially if it’s late at night. When my mind is churning, and I’m indoors, I turn to mindful and self-compassionate yoga.
Sometimes I listen to a guided yoga practice, like Mindful Yoga from the MBSR course. Other times I do yoga on my own (see my own guided Mindful Yoga practice below).
Yoga can be a game-changer because it gets me out of my head into my body. Sometimes a situation is too much for my mind to take in on its own, but my body can do the heavy lifting of metabolizing the emotions. When we can calm and center the body, it can calm and center the mind.