How Do We Get Out of Our Head?
In today’s world we are overloaded with information. Thanks to our world of technology, we literally have 24 hour access to news, work, friends, and family. But how do we turn off all this information?
I work with clients more and more who struggle with ruminating thoughts and difficulty in turning off, or even slowing down, the rumination. We often allow ourselves to become overcommitted and then struggle to figure out how to manage time and problem-solve – leading to stress and anxiety.
In the last few years, there has been more attention to the practice of “mindfulness” and using meditation as a way to help stop the constant barrage of anxiety provoking thoughts. However, clients often tell me that even thought they think mindfulness is a good idea, they never get around to practicing it in their daily lives. In fact, they often feel like it’s just one more thing to stress about.
I read an article (March/April 2016 edition of Psychology Today) that I believe can help many of us to get out of our head and practice mindfulness in a fairly easy and natural way. The answer is to experience AWE. In the article, it summarizes that one of the best ways to get out of our ruminating thoughts is to experience being in awe and that nature is one of the ways we can do this.
In the recent month, I have frequently recommended that clients go out and just “be” in nature and take the time to look around and be in wonder at what they see. The research shows that nature allows us to feel awestruck and to then realize that we are part of something bigger. I have had overwhelming response from my clients that after spending time in nature, they feel better.
In our busy and hectic worlds, we may not feel we have the time to get out and experience nature. However, I challenge clients to make the time and to incorporate it as best they can in their every day. This can be as simple as enjoying the trees or parks in your neighborhood. As I write this blog post, I am looking out at the California coastline from 30,000 feet in the air and can feel a sense of wonder at the beauty of the land, ocean and floating clouds. It’s a nice way to reduce the angst that comes with the overcrowded and delayed flight.
If being out in nature is not feasible at times, then the article also states that looking at photographs of nature can also tap into the experience of feeling awe. I follow Beautiful Destinations on Instagram and spend time every day to enjoy the photos posted. The Internet is full of images of nature – from the outer edges of space to the depths of the sea.
Explore nature and find your sense of awe!