As a songwriter and musician, I have always been someone who is deeply in tune with my emotions. But at times, I have found myself getting stuck in my own head, overthinking and analyzing every little thing. It's a trap that I think we all fall into at some point in our lives.
For me, getting stuck in my head has always been a real challenge - especially when I was a teenager. It often like the overwhelming thoughts in my head were like a maze that I could never seem to find my way out of. It was easy to start to spiral... feel trapped, anxious, overwhelmed, and misunderstood.
Thankfully: songwriting has always been an effective methodology for me to get out of my head, focus on each thought one at a time, and attack each one one song at a time. Through writing "The Show," I was able to navigate my way out of yet another mental trap.
Are you familiar with the six thinking hats? As a child, I was introduced to the importance of recognizing the different hats we get to wear on a daily basis - and the various roles we get to play as a result.
Whether that's the hat of feeling all of your emotions, or the hat of ideas and creativity... it was instilled into my classroom peers and I that [of course] every human is multi-faceted, and therefore: we need to ensure we are forever satisfying all components of the human experience.
However: sometimes this simply feels exhausting... the many roles we have to play... the thoughts and actions that go with each role... how does one navigate the many different roles we're expected to play? That's exactly why I wrote "The Show".
"The Show" [similar to my single "Puppet" that I released last year] explores the many faces, masks and roles we all feel when it comes to how we show up for the world.
Cancel that - how we're expected to show up for the world: with a fist full of makeup to hide our faces. A script to memorize and reenact. And - most harmful of all - an expectation to lie to ourselves about whether or not we're good enough for even our own self love.
It's a lot.
Especially for a fourteen year old - which is how old I was when I wrote "The Show".
But I digress.
By putting my thoughts, emotions and frustrations into words and music, I was able to not just express myself in a way that felt authentic and true, but really explore that balance - or imbalance, as the case may be. I was able to start tackling the struggle of trying to balance societal expectations with my desire for self-love and acceptance. And in doing so, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the world.
Why Are We Constantly in Our Heads?
There are many reasons why we might find ourselves getting stuck in our heads. It could be due to anxiety, stress, or a general feeling of uncertainty about the future. It could be that we are overthinking or trying to analyze every little thing. Whatever the reason, it can be a real challenge to break free from this mental trap.
What Does Psychology Say About Getting Out of Your Head?
Fortunately, there are some tried and tested techniques that we can use to get out of our heads and back into the present moment. Here are a few of them:
Focus entirely on your breathing: Take a few deep breaths and focus on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body. This can help to ground you in the present moment and calm your racing thoughts.
Don't fight your thoughts: Instead of trying to push your thoughts away, acknowledge them and then let them go. This can help to create space in your mind and reduce feelings of overwhelm [I also talk about this in one of my previous blogs: The Importance of Letting Yourself Feel]
Books on Getting Out of Your Head: There are many books out there that offer strategies for getting out of your head and living in the present moment. Some great examples include "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle and "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana.
Notice negative thinking patterns: Pay attention to any negative thoughts or patterns of thinking that may be contributing to your mental trap. Once you've identified these patterns, you can work on challenging and reframing them.
Live in the present moment: One of the best ways to get out of your head is to focus on the present moment. Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, body scans, or meditation to help ground yourself in the here and now.
Regularly write down your troubling thoughts: Writing down your thoughts can help to get them out of your head and onto paper. This can be a cathartic process that helps to reduce feelings of overwhelm. Especially if you combine that writing with music. As I mention in my TEDx Talk that I delivered last year about "How Music and Songwriting and Music Saved Me After Ten Brain Surgeries": music affects the brain in so many powerful ways when it comes to elevating our oxytocin and dopamine levels whilst simultaneously lowering our cortisol levels.
But you can watch the full TEDx Talk here:
Final Thoughts on Getting Out of Your Head
Getting stuck in your head can be a real challenge, but it's not something that you have to suffer through alone. By using techniques such as mindfulness, writing, and reframing negative thoughts, you can break free from this mental trap and live a more fulfilling life.
And if we can get into that habit in our teen years: it can truly make a distinct difference in the happiness, and mental health of your teenager when it comes to the adult they grow into!
Of course, this is easier said than done.
It's not always as simple as
Step One: Sit and quietly write down your thoughts
Step Two: Group your thoughts into manageable bite-sized chunks of themes and concepts
Step Three: Build out one of those groups into verses, choruses, and a bridge
Step Four: Look at, and analyze whether what you've written is empowering or disempowering for your mental health - are you happy with that theme? Or are there ways you can alter your perspective a little bit to make the song a little more positive?
Step Five: Be very clear on who you're talking to... and what you're trying to express.
Step Six: Add rhyme
Step Seven: Add melody
Yes: it's a lot. This is one of the key reasons I established Youth Empowerment through Songwriting coaching in the first place: because I know how easy it is for teenagers to not just feel stuck in their heads, but stay stuck. I remember all too well ruminating on negative thoughts, and not knowing how to break the cycle. I have worked with countless teens who sometimes need something as simple as a question or a slightly different perspective to cognitively shake their mental "stuckness" a little bit.
And it's - of course - why I wrote and released "The Show"
as important for me to release it 20years later as a reminder on several levels:
We don't need to succumb to the labels, roles, and expectations of the world. Your life is you vs you. This isn't a show for anyone else but you.
In order for me to recognize and realize this: I needed to get out of my own head when it came to balancing how I was to appease others vs how I was to stay authentically true to me.
And while this is an issue for all people: I feel like 2023 is more of a struggle for women than our blessed male counterparts.
Which is why the video pays tribute to many phenomenal, impactful and inspirational women from over the years. Women who gave themselves permission to get out of their own heads, and show up honestly, authentically, and powerfully for themselves - and the world.
If You're Looking for a Sign: Here It Is!
Going into the rest of your day, week, month or year: if you have been feeling stuck in your head - especially when it comes to your own mental health: I'd like to challenge you to give yourself permission to change the script from today onwards.
Turn all of that negative self talk into something positive, creative and empowering
Recognize that those anxious thoughts are simply negative outputs of mental energy... and the great thing about energy is that it can be transformed into different forms - like songs!
Take some time for yourself with a pen and paper, take off that mask that you've been burying yourself under, and recognize how beautifully powerful you are when it comes to your thoughts, actions and habits. It starts now.
Of course, if you're looking for some coaching to help you turn those struggles into song, I'd love to hop on a free discovery call to discuss how I can help. Click here to book your no obligation call here, and let's not just get out of your head - but create some effective anthems of truth, authenticity and turning pain into power.
I can't wait to speak with you soon.