Are you feeling trapped in your thoughts? Is your mind going around and around in circles with no solution in sight? Are you getting agro and frustrated because you feel you have no control over this and don’t know how to break the loop?
Trust me, I am all too familiar with this cycle of thought destruction, and have been told on numerous occasions over the years, “you are your own worst enemy!” Harsh. I don’t want to be told I am the cause of my shortcomings. But to be fair, this was always delivered to me via sporting coaches and business mentors, who could see the bigger picture, my potential, and where I was limiting myself, more than me anyway.
This can be the result of what I call the ‘shadow side’ of someone who is highly analytical, an over-thinker, and a perfectionist, ultimately leading to paralysis by analysis, and inaction and procrastination, due to a drive to always get things right.
So how to get out of this mental rut? Most of the time, you will find yourself a day here or there in this thought cycle, and it usually subsides pretty quickly through conscious effort. However, it’s not always that easy, especially if you have big things happening in your life, like a career change, starting a business, a geographical move, or starting or ending a committed romantic relationship (or all the above!).
The problem is, when you are stuck in your head, you disconnect from the rest of your body. Therefore, your responses are most likely going to be reactive and connected to fear. Therefore, you aim to reconnect to your body, to access your natural intuitive guidance system (i.e. your gut feel), and more importantly, what your heart feels.
The best ways to do this are:
Exercise: Moderate to high-intensity exercise gets you straight back fully into your body. Resistance exercise, interval training, or moderate-intensity sporting activity, is great to get your energy systems flowing and to balance erratic energy.
Quiet Time: Meditation (guided or sitting in silence) and/or deep breathing exercises are great for centering yourself. It takes practice to get yourself into an ideal state, so if you are new to meditation, it may be worthwhile attending instructor-led sessions. Otherwise, you may end up spending your whole time still stuck on your thought roller coaster.
Action: Even just the smallest steps towards your goal can create momentum for more action, or even if it ends up being the wrong action, a review of your plan can then take place.
Mentor/Coach: Yep. Probably the most important one. After all, the mind that created the problem is not necessarily going to solve it. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be an issue! Especially if you are starting a business, or are stagnating in an already established one, it is well worth the investment to allow someone to show you a different perspective that you may be too blinkered to see, and to be accountable to over a period of time.
Above all, avoid the temptation to self criticise. If you find yourself in one of these cycles, acknowledge it, honour it and forgive yourself, then take the necessary action steps to reduce its impact.