My Circus Life is a weekly livestream broadcast in which I share lessons from my pursuits of flying trapeze, trampoline and other circus activities and how they apply to life and business. This article is a write-up of My Circus Life Episode 92: Mind vs Body.
When you’re at your limits
My body and mind are not on speaking terms. They need some time apart.
When your body and mind decide they need a break from each other, who do you side with?
We tend to pick the mind. “Mind over matter” is the saying.
But the mind rarely allows us to act in our full capacity. The mind tricks us. It takes us to places we don’t need to go. It keeps us stuck in endless thought loops.
Our body is more capable than our mind allows us to believe.
Forget about “mind over matter.” Focus on “matter over mind.”
Get your mind out of the way and you can do more.
The body is capable of far more than we give it credit for. If we get the mind out of the way we can hold more space and push further.
Trust the body. Give it space. Give it breath.
How, exactly, do you do this? Here are 5 suggestions.
5 Techniques to Get Out of Your Mind and Stay in Your Body
Here are five different techniques for staying in your body in moments when your mind wants to run the show.
The most simple way to stay in your body is to focus on your breath. It’s free and you can do it anywhere.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel the breath as you inhale. Notice where it goes and where it gets stuck. Try to send it to your toes.
(2) Hands on Body
Either sit down or lay on the floor. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your heart. Breathe into your hands.
You can also alternate, breathing in and out into your belly then breathing in and out to your heart.
(3) Move Your Body
Exercise is so helpful for getting into your body. Ideally you want to do some physical activity that requires you to focus on how your body moves, rather than something that you can do while your mind is spinning.
I’ve been guilty of taking myself out for a walk and continuing my mindless rumination while walking. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
If you’re going to walk or run, focus on how your body is moving.
I like to do immersive, “deep play” activities to get into my body. Trampoline and trapeze are my typical activities. I also love to swim. Rock climbing, pilates, and yoga are all great. I have friends who like to sail, which also works. The more focus you need on the activity, the better it will help you get into your body.
A new physical activity that challenges you also works well here.
(4) Train a Physical Skill
One thing I’ve done lately is worked on drills to train a new physical habit.
Over the past few weeks in flying trapeze, I’ve stripped all the power out of my swing to condition myself to keep my legs straight.
Today, my trampoline coach gave me a new drill to help me better engage my hip flexors and hamstrings. I also focused on
repetitions of basic skills to drill them. One of my coaches always says that days when our bodies aren’t cooperating 100% are great opportunities to drill the basics.
(5) Other physical activities that aren’t exercise
This is a great place to use a hobby that you might have abandoned. Anything that requires some physical movement as well as your dedicated focus and attention will help you get into your body.
For example: I used to sing in a choir. It was hard to stay in my head when I was focused on learning new music and rehearsing.
Some other examples:
- playing an instrument
- making pottery
What other techniques do you use to stay in your body?