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As an introvert, I am used to internally processing information and an ongoing dialogue in my head. This has often been a source of strength for me, but sometimes can be an obstacle, when my inner monologue is freaking out in difficult/challenging/new situations and holding me back from taking action. Here are my top tips for getting out of my own head:
- Analyze your thoughts – If I have time in advance, I actually listen to what is going on in my head, using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. What are the automatic thoughts that are going through it? Am I worried about failing? Am I worried about being judged by others? The first step is to get those thoughts out on paper. The second step is to then question them and create a coping statement. For example – yes, I might make a mistake, but there is also a chance that I might be successful. Yes, someone might think poorly of me, but there is a chance that they might not, or if they do, they might not even remember it the next day. Usually, this inquiry gives me some kind of insight that I didn’t see before that can help modify the thoughts in my head to be less intense and overwhelming.
- Ground yourself – If I don’t have time to do this thought work, I will do whatever I can to ground myself in my body. This can take many different forms depending on where I am and what kind of time and space I have. Meditation can be very effective, but so too can just closing my eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths and other quick stress relief exercises. I also personally respond really well to music- in particular songs that I know well and love. If I need something to lift me up, something inspirational can be nice, but really anything that I can focus on to quiet down the thoughts can help.
- Do it anyway – Sometimes the thoughts just don’t quiet down. In this case, it’s time to be brave and do it anyway. I love the thought that “being brave is being scared and doing it anyway”. The goal sometimes is not to be not scared, it is just to find the strength within to do something when you are scared. Distracting myself right before taking action can help push me into it, as can counting down from three and committing to taking action no matter what. The body and mind can freak out about this, but that’s okay. It’s often only after doing this and taking on difficult things repeatedly that you build the confidence and comfort to do it without fear. One strategy to address this is by using baby steps with an increasing level of difficulty as you find your growth zone. Proving to yourself over and over, bit by bit what you can accomplish can be extremely rewarding and help get you further than you initially thought possible.
“Being brave is being scared and doing it anyway”.
Have you had a time when the thoughts in your head held you back from taking action you wanted to? What other strategies do you use to confront this?
Take action! What are you avoiding doing because you are stuck in your head about it? Which of these three techniques could you try? Make a strategy and then use it to push through the discomfort.