Ever feel like you’re swimming in information, yet can’t find what you’re looking for? Surrounded by books and full of ideas, my actions lately have had that heavy, slow-motion feeling – the way it feels when I’m trying to move underwater. I go nowhere fast.
Abundance is a great gift, but when it’s an abundance of information or ideas, it’s easy to get stuck over-thinking and under-acting. Many people I know are afflicted from time to time with this “analysis paralysis.”
I don’t even notice the stagnation at first. My busy mind keeps my busy. At some point, I must remind myself to ask: Are all my thoughts enabling or disabling my actions? When it’s the latter, I stop trying to act.
Trying to do something isn’t the same as doing it. Take this blog as an example: Instead of trying to write what I want to communicate (and not getting anywhere), I started looking for another creative way to express myself. For me, that’s usually making a collage – simply cutting images out of magazines and gluing them together helps me sort out the ideas in my head. My goal isn’t to create a beautiful piece of art; my goal is simply to express myself so that I can clear things out and make room for action. The image shown here – I call it “Reservoir of Knowledge” – is just one of many I’ve created recently for this purpose.
There are many ways to break out of the stagnation of over-thinking, whether it helps you to go for a run, to work in the garden, or to play the drums, the activity that works best will:
- Get you out of your head (hit the pause on your the thinking). Pick an activity that will engage you in both motion (body) and emotion (heart). Doing something you love will naturally engage your heart. So if you love music, start singing or playing along with your favorite tune. Getting in motion pulls your attention out of your head and into your body. So drum, dance or do kung fu moves to that tune (nobody needs to be watching!). Putting these together gives your head a chance to rest yet remain alert. Watch how much fun you’re having – engaging your heart and body together doesn’t have to disengage your head.
- Help you to clear out, release, and let go of unnecessary “stuff” fogging your head. Let yourself do a “data dump.” Trust that you will retain the information or ideas that will enable you to take action. Transform the stuff that’s clogging your mind into something you can see, hear, touch, or smell – express it in a new form. Try being a kid again – sing, dance and jump around, draw, make up stories and use a different voice to act out each character, make a mud pie, play with clay – create your own medium for expression and let it all out.
- Engage your imagination to give you a new perspective or angle on the situation. Use your imagination when you engage your heart and body in the clearing process. By exercising your imagination to accomplish the above, your mind will be ready to focus creatively when it’s time to get back to work.