3 Simple Keys to Reconnecting with Yourself
Rob, a friend I spoke to years ago, shared he would wear headphones everywhere he went. He would wear them on the way to work, while working, with friends, and even at home to watch TV. He’d asked me for advice because he had difficulties recognizing his feelings and felt removed from being able to communicate with others what he was feeling. He didn’t know if he was feeling anything throughout the day and had been disconnected from his physical world!
When our minds and bodies are disconnected, it feels like being displaced from reality. For me, it has felt as though I am in two different spaces at once. On the other hand, it can also feel foreign, like living in someone else’s body. Either way, this may be because your mind is distracted, elsewhere and frequently drifting away from the present.
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When disconnected from yourself, you can lose sight of who you want to be, leading to burnout and significantly impacting your health. The difficulty is that we're constantly teaching our bodies how to respond to the information we give it. So, when you’ve developed a habit or pattern of “checking out,” your mind does it automatically!
Therefore, reconnecting your body with your mind is a process that begins with intention. Living with intention is a conscious desire that allows you to be in the present and feel any emotion or sensation. This “process” doesn’t need to be revolutionary or take up plenty of time. Instead, the foundation for reconnection simply begins with focusing on the slightest awareness and removing the barriers that take you de away from the moment.
Here are three decisive steps to reconnect with your mind and body.
3 Powerful Steps to Reconnect Your Mind and Body
Give Attention to Gratitude
So much of our attention is focused on what’s negative about ourselves, other people, or the world. The media, social media, and other entertainment consistently remind us of the wrongdoings around us. Without noticing, we are heavily influenced to focus on what isn’t right. This is partly due to the evolutionary term called negativity bias. The negativity bias is a cognitive bias that causes our emotional response to latch onto negative experiences in favor of positive experiences. Also, negative experiences may feel worse compared to similar positive events. In short, we have developed tunnel vision that prioritizes acknowledging negative information over favorable. For many of us, this may be why it takes less effort to notice negative thoughts, emotions, or situations compared to positive ones.
You have to be intentional with finding positivity all around you because your brain wants to do the opposite, which prevents you from recognizing what’s happening to you in the present. People connected to their minds and bodies intentionally focus on the good. I do this by practicing gratitude daily. Consciously sitting in a moment to remind me of all the people and things important to my world helps ground me in the present. I use this gratitude hack: For everything you are grateful for, list five reasons you are thankful for that person or thing.
We feel alive when we are most connected to the experiences around us.
Connect with the Physical World
When we were kids and went outside, we were completely absorbed into our environment. We would play games, create fantasies, and use our imaginations to pass the time. As adults, we look for things to replace the anxiety we feel when we have to sit alone within ourselves. In turn, we sacrifice parts of ourselves — youthfulness, playfulness, imagination, and creativity.
Rob would wear these headphones wherever he went, even on hikes. So, when Rob completed a hike, something that had been fulfilling for him, he would still feel disconnected. He hadn’t truly recharged himself and still felt distant. We feel alive when we are most connected to the experiences around us. If you aren’t fully immersed in your senses, connecting to your physical world will be challenging.
I suggest putting the headphones away sometimes (or anything similar) and checking in with your feelings. If you're with family or friends try to be fully engaged into what you're doing together. In contrast, if you're solo and eating, reading, writing, or anything else, limit any other distraction. Likewise, take a trip out in nature and immerse yourself in the experience, smell the air, and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. What other sensations would you feel? What emotions would go through your body as you climb a hill?
Taking a moment to notice the things around you will develop your awareness of the present and strengthen the relationship between your mind and body.
Spend Time with Yourself
Saturdays, I grab breakfast and find space in a park to sit for a few hours. I used to feel guilty for this because I once thought I should use the time doing things with or for my girlfriend or spending it with my dog. After working long hours, I realized I needed this time to reset my clock. I would ask myself, where would I be if I didn’t have moments alone? I would be further from understanding who I am and what I value. I have learned that spending time alone is not selfish it is essential. Solitude is vital in helping to slow down thoughts and restructure your focus, goals, and values.
Check-in: How much time do you spend alone? And then, how do you distract yourself from your thoughts and feelings when alone? How distant are you from the present moment? TV, social media, podcasts and music all distract from quality time with yourself.
Quality time alone is disconnecting from the world around you in order to reconnect with yourself. Increasing your mind and body connection allows you to sit in a space alone without judgment or comparisons. Sitting in space for a few moments will enable you to repair and give attention to the most crucial relationship in your life. Before I read, write, or listen - I sit in the moment and notice what comes up for me.
Try spending time alone with your thoughts and feelings. Distraction-free. Notice how your mind and body communicate when you allow your mind to wander and settle in the space you’re in. Find somewhere in a park to sit, run the water and take a long bath, or any area you can occupy within your home.
Set aside time and be intentional about reconnecting with your mind and body. You deserve to take time and space for yourself. The information you’ve read today are some things that work for me. Give them a try and/or find steps that work just for you. To reconnect with yourself take the time to be present in something you enjoy and use your senses to experience the world fully. The more you allow yourself to sit in the present, the greater your awareness becomes.
We see therapy as a practice of being present with whatever authentic experiences show up. If you are interested in setting up an appointment, visit our therapists here.