August 8, 2021

How to Soothe an Overthinking, Anxious Brain.

Once upon a time, after a decade of being a mom of two wild boys, I closed my eyes and wished for a “brainy” job.

Parenting is an insanely physical job.

I really needed a change. My brain was longing for a creative and innovative outlet.

After practicing much patience and manifestation (and to my utmost surprise), my wish was granted. 

I was offered a job as an editor for Elephant Journal. I could not have been more grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing community of open-hearted people. I am continually satiated with the flow of abundance from my work. 

I love the endless opportunity to learn, expand, and grow. I look forward to new adventures every single day. No one day looks the same and that ever-changing environment keeps things exciting and fresh.

An entire day can fly by and it literally feels like five minutes have passed. 

Over the last few months, I’ve learned that when we spend a large amount of time in our heads (and in front of our screens), we must be extra cognizant of a healthy and sustainable mind-body balance.

Our human brains are wired to absorb information. But an overload can look like overthinking, obsessing, downward spiraling into thoughts, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, and overall illness. 

“The average adult consumes five times more information every day than their counterpart 50 years ago.”

This can happen to anyone of us with too much on our minds. Sometimes the brain is on full volume, in the middle of the night, while trying to sleep. The ideas percolate like the brewing a strong cup of coffee moving round and round relentlessly in our head.

It’s so important to pay attention to these red flags. We can implement a plan to nurture ourselves from the neck down.

We are more than a brain attached to a body. Luckily, there are many passive, easy, and immediate ways to get out of our heads and back into our bodies.

If finding time is tricky, schedule that sh*t right into a Google calendar and call it a mental health day. 

Here are five ways to soothe an overthinking, anxious brain: 

Get or give a massage.

Massages are one of the quickest ways to get out of our heads. Within the first five minutes of a massage, our bodies wonder why we don’t do it more often. If you aren’t into massage or fear catching COVID-19, opt for something like reflexology. It’s less intimate and there is more physical distance between yourself and the practitioner. Other options could be facials, manicures, or even a haircut.

Take a hike.

Submersing ourselves in nature is a wonderful and quick way to decompress and slow down our thoughts. Nature’s rhythm is excellent for the nervous system and being outside pulls us from our heads right into our feet. Take off your shoes and walk outside. The energy from the earth is a beautiful escape from annoying mental chatter. The more stressed we feel, the more time outside we need. We should try to spend half as much time outside as we do inside. More would be ideal, but depending on where we live and what we do for work, we have to do our best.

Meditate.

I know this sounds cliché, but even two minutes of stillness will affect your mental state. Try a guided meditation and see how you feel afterward. Eight minutes twice a day is enough to change the grey matter in our brain and prevent Alzheimer’s. 

Take a bath, swim, or sit in a sauna.

All of these are great ways to move the sensations from brain to body. Awakening the senses allows us to experience our body, from head to toe, and helps us tune into our subtle body awareness. Add some aromatics to baths such as Epsom salts and essential oils. In the sauna, I like to dry brush my skin while sipping tea. I feel as if all my senses come alive and pull me right out of those nagging, lingering thoughts.

Acupuncture.

This age-old healing modality moves energy throughout the body amazingly well. Acupuncture opens blocked channels bringing life force to places that have been ignored for way too long. Using acupuncture for ailments is a fabulous preventative for stress, fatigue, and pain. The trick is to practice self-care before becoming too burned out.

Why is it so important to develop a regular practice of getting into the body?

If we only live from the neck up, our body will eventually let us know it is not happy with us.

We will develop chronic pain, arthritis, circulatory issues, and depression. We were not meant to be “around the clock” superhuman thinking machines. We have to strike a healthy balance and nurture our body awareness by going inward on a daily basis. 

We can easily become desensitized to our body’s needs and expect to function optimally without regularly checking in and appropriate self-care. The body that we live in is the only tool we’ll have our entire lives. 

The sooner we realize that our body is sacred and deserving, the happier we will feel. When we pay attention to our internal climate, we get out of our heads and amazing things can happen.

Our breathing deepens, our mind clears, and we are well on our way to a more grounded and satisfying life. 

~

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