Trapped by Analysis? Get Out of Your Head to Find Your Flow

Rear view of couple in activewear walking along fence, holding out arms for balanceOur analytical mind may be one of the greatest gifts that we possess. It can breed depth and provoke thoughtful insights. It fuels our introspection, which can lead to deep self-awareness and rich results over the course of our lives.

On the other hand, even a positive quality can be used incorrectly and (when this occurs) work against us. This is true even here, we might realize, when we consider how we tend to analyze. When we fixate on a particular topic, considering it to great extent, this can be exhausting. Doing so can potentially cause confusion and lead to imbalance. Excessive analyzing has been linked to anxiety because it can push us toward becoming caught up in a story, distancing us from the factual reality of what is.

Those of us who have a more analytical mind must find a balance point between honoring our tendencies to analyze and increasing our awareness of when this may be less than helpful. When our mind is racing, frantic with stories based on assumptions instead of facts, it is not helping us thrive. Similarly, when we are stuck in worst-case scenario thinking, our mind is working against us, not for us.

So, when we do find ourselves trapped in our heads, how can we gain more control in order to feel more peaceful within? The following strategies may be helpful when looking for ways to ground the self back into balance.

Focus on Fact

Many of us find our way to a false sense of reality through the habit of taking action based on assumptions rather than facts. Assumptions are not based on facts but on our own (often creative) stories of how we perceive something to be true. In short, our assumptions develop from our own belief systems and experiences, for better or for worse.

A quick but consistent check-in can serve as a significant grounding force for the analytical mind. Take a moment to assess whether your emotions and reactions are based on facts or on your own interpretation or story of what you believe to be happening. Once we are able to get into the habit of separating the facts from our own stories, we are likely to find it easier to become grounded.

Look to Nature

Nature provides a great reminder to allow things to proceed as they will and let go of the need to maintain control.The benefits of surrounding ourselves with natural elements cannot be overstated. There is much we can learn from nature. Nature does not have to try—a wave doesn’t try to break; a tree doesn’t try to grow; a flower doesn’t try to bloom. Nature just is. Its process, a cycle with a natural flow, is not forced. As elementary as that all might sound, we humans can get caught up in trying to figure things out and fix them. But nature provides a great reminder to allow things to proceed as they will and let go of the need to maintain control. Once we learn to allow our current emotional status or situation to cycle through without our added force, we may find this process can be completed more efficiently, in a natural way.

Connect to the Body

Rediscovering and maintaining the connection to our body is essential. If we seek greater balance overall, we cannot deny our physical bodies adequate movement. We all need to move our bodies, to use our physical being in whatever way best suits us to keep the mind-body connection open and flourishing. It’s essential (for those of us who are able to do so) to move, to discover what physical movement leads us, specifically, to connect back into our unique bodies.

It’s important to find what type of movement works for you. It could (and should) be enjoyable. If movement is something you dread, if it feels like a chore that drags you down, it’s likely you haven’t found the type of activity or exercise that is the right fit. It’s out there, so keep trying! Physical movement, when possible, is a key component in overall well-being.

Practice Being Present

To put it in the simplest of terms, we must get out of our heads and tap into our hearts. We can do this by breathing deeply, feeling the air going into our nose and out of our mouth, focusing on the moment at hand, and engaging with the present

As you move forward with your day, do your best to fully engage in your experience. Look people directly in the eye, focus on the conversation you’re having by listening fully. Let the music you’re listening to draw you in. Eat mindfully, savoring each bite. Stop to feel and hear the elements of your world that surround you. Step fully and deeply into what is happening, right now.

When we get out of our minds, with regard to the past and the future, we may find we are more able to center ourselves in the now and focus on what is happening in the present moment.

Life, I have found, is often more fully enjoyed when we navigate from our hearts and not our heads. The above suggestions may help you reduce stress in your life by turning your focus back toward enjoyment. If you struggle to put the tips into action, consider seeking support from a qualified mental health professional.

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kim Egel, MA, MFT, therapist in Cardiff, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Mason

    Mason

    October 5th, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    How true. I tend to overthink everything and that really puts me in a funk if I am at all honest about it. I don’t know why I have that tendency because everyone else that I hang out with is so chill and laid back but there is absolutely nothing that I find that I can be all that laid back about. It just isn’t my style I suppose but I do know that I have thought so much about things before that I become paralyzed and literally unable to act because of fear of making the wrong move.

  • Trevor

    Trevor

    October 9th, 2017 at 6:41 AM

    I will quite often think that I have a solution and have worked things out in my head only to be awakened by dread at 3am and realize that I have made a mistake. It can become all consuming, this need to make sure that I am doing the right thing and making the correct choice. I have stayed up all night before thinking that the next day I was going to make the biggest mistake of my life. I would like to tone down some of these night time conversations that I keep having to have with myself.

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