When my brain is overfull (with work, with fears, with decisions, with weighty friendships, with looming ends and beginnings, all of it) I often cannot focus. I get nauseous with all the adrenaline those thoughts can pump.
It can make me spin-out, cause me to put on the facade and GO GO GO, until the inevitable crash-crash-crash that comes each time my safe harbor arrives. Charlie. He comes home and I fall down deep.
Lately, instead of the cycle of go-go-crash-go-go-crash I am working to empty my brain of my heaviness, thoughts, and future, and instead find tangible and real tactics to pour my brain out enough to leave space for the Day-to-Day.
There is no hurrying time, or any of this work. It’s just the season. And it’s all such GOOD work, but it’s life-overwhelming and I need some space to just be, and be OK. So I’m employing these tactics whenever I feel that familiar heart-race come on.
5 Ways to Empty Your Brain
- Walk outside, barefoot. This sounds too simple, too quick, too doable. But with our pampered, shoe loving, soft sweet feet this is quite a feat (hah). Time spent walking on bare-feet has a lot of internal and brain benefits (seriously!), but my experience with this is that it’s distracting and intense enough to really take my attention to experience it. Walk on sand, rocks, grass, and notice your feet. Allow each step to be stimulating, a massage, and a moment. The intensity of our sensitive feet on new textures will pull you out of your brain a bit, it will demand breath, attention, and some brain power to make it across the beach (river, walkway, pavement, backyard). And is feasible in just a few moments.
- Stream of conscious journaling (or recording, go with me on this one!) Just… talk. I put my recorder on on my phone and talk-talk it out. All the thoughts, all the jumble, all the swirl. This works with writing too. Make it a list, and dump it all out. I often use my phone to record instead because I can’t type or write fast enough. It’s the benefit of talking it out without the pressure of another person as witness or their input. Just a listening device (recording or the page). Writing all the mess out always helps me sort it, feel less overwhelmed by how gigantic it feels in my head, and capable of reorganizing all of it in a way that is actually manageable. Or, at the very least, it quiets all of it for a spell.
- Run. Sprint. I am not a sprinter, at all. But if my head is about to explode with fears and anxiety, I GO. Just up and down the street. Back and forth, that one block. Fast as I can. . . Walk back. Fast as I can. . . Walk back. My body is working hard, my brain is trying to keep up, and usually by the third time I am light headed with relief. And endorphins.
- Cry so hard. There is a heavy clarity that I feel after a really good cry. If I can’t just cry easily, I watch videos that make me cry (seriously, scroll FB and you’ll find one in 5 min flat). I read beautiful poems that bring me to my knees. I cut an onion. Do whatever it takes to rip off the bandaid and get it pouring. Heaving.
- Sun Salutation, or Sun Salutation B Great infographics of both are ALL over Pintrest, and unending free videos to lead you through on YouTube if you aren’t familiar. I try to do at least five of each (A and B), by 6 in my brain is occupied. My heart is beating, body getting warm (the whole point, warming your body like the sun). At that point endorphins and/or focus take over and I’m no longer obsessing and spinning out with thoughts.
Basically, if it engaged a new part of your brain/ body/ heart – it’ll help. If endorphins are ignited and your heart is beating faster – it’ll help. It’s worth journaling out some ideas of your own if these don’t resonate. Finding those few minutes of peace in times of storms is so worthy of your time and work.
Other weird ones that help me, but aren’t quite as universal as the above;
- meal prepping
- creating a beautiful plate of food
- cleaning to pop music
- getting upside down
Anything else that works well for you? I’d love to hear it!