When you’re too much in your head the answer could sit in your belly
Do you sometimes feel like things are getting too much in your head, too much to to take in? A lot of us do. Or we feel like we’re continuously thinking, analysing, judging. Or we worry all the time. And we get so tired of all that thinking…
Sounds familiar? I certainly recognise it. And often people who come to my lessons complain about it. ‘I’m too much in my head and want to feel more grounded’, is what I often hear.
There is a very simple method to be less in your head and more in your body. It involves using the lower ‘dantian’ in your lower belly. It is located about 3-4 fingers under the navel and about the same distance inside. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts such as Taiji. One of the objectifs in Taiji is to make all movements with the dantian as the centre.
If you want to feel more relaxed, there are two things you can do:
Put your centre of gravity in that area. You do that by bringing your weight more to the front of the feet, in an area called ‘yongchuan’. It is also important that from the groin up the upper part of your body leans slightly forward. Then the centre of gravity will coincide with the lower dantian.
If you are not sure whether you are standing correctly, pay attention to what happens with the quadriceps muscles. When you put your weight in the heels and the centre of gravity is more towards the back, you will feel those muscles tense up. This will happen automatically, you can’t stop those muscles from tensing up. When you bring your weight more to the front of the feet and the centre of gravity is inside your belly, than those muscles will automatically relax. They will do that because as your centre of gravity is really in the middle of your body, they don’t need to work to keep you upright.
And it is not just the quadriceps muscles that relax but also the psoas muscle, the diaphragm and the sternocleidomastoid muscle (in the neck). This has a lot of positive consequences for your body. To begin with, you will get a deep sense of relaxation as all those muscles relax. It can feel like all the tension is going down into the ground. Your breathing will become deeper and your voice will sound more relaxed.
Bring your attention to the lower dantian. Just being aware of that area will also relax your mind and your breathing.
3. Centre of gravity and attention
And there is actually a third way, namely use both the centre of gravity and the attention at the same time. This will make the sensation of calm even stronger.
The first one is easiest to use when you are standing or sitting straight. The second one you can use any time, and certainly at times when you can’t make your centre of gravity move forwards, like when you are sitting in a seat where you can only lean backwards, or when you are lying down.
And like with other skills, the more you do it the better you will become at it, and will stop you being too much in your head. Start practicing right now!