Feeling focused is an important part of our ability to function in our daily lives. I find, however, that there are times when my head seems to be in the clouds. I feel like my mind is in outer space, instead of grounded here on planet earth. Usually when this happens to me, it is not a good thing. I know that I need to work hard to find a way to get myself in a better space.
There are a two different types of lack of grounding that I will write about today.
- Thoughts in the clouds. In this case the person may be daydreaming amazing fantasies, or have a mind that is miles away from the present due to worries (i.e.: if you have a sick relative in another town, your thoughts may be consumed by their welfare, as opposed to your work. On a happier note, if you are in a new relationship, you may be spending your days at work fantasizing about your nights with your new significant other).
- Feeling detached, as though you are floating around in space. This is often referred to as dissociation. Most individuals experience a form of dissociation at some point in their lifetime, the most common and benign manifestation being “Highway Hypnosis”. Highway Hypnosis is when you are driving and suddenly realize that you have driven a great distance without even realizing – as though you have “woken up” from some altered hypnotic state. Dissociation can be a protective force in one’s life, and can also be an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Even the healthy lack of grounding must be under control in order to ensure that all of the basic life demands that are placed on us are dealt with. This means that, even if we are thrilled with a new relationship, or exciting new life adventure that awaits us, we need to learn to be able to distance ourselves enough from our daytime fantasies to be able to appropriately tend to our daily work and family obligations. When your mind starts to wander, remind yourself that the opportunity will only last if it is managed in the context of your life and your fulfillment of your obligations.
If your mind is with a stressful situation it may be harder to distance yourself from the situation long enough to complete your family and work responsibilities. This may take more discipline. Is it possible for you to make a list of things you must do to after you have met your obligations? Perhaps knowing the list exists will be enough to free you to focus on other issues. Can you give yourself permission to take a few hours and focus on work? If you do, it may allow you to come to the stressful situation with new insights or new energy, as allowing yourself the breathing time can be very helpful in finding new solutions and perspectives.
If you are experiencing a more severe form of dissociation and feel the anxiety associated with frequent feelings of being outside your body and feeling vulnerable and threatened, it maybe wise to seek some psychological assistance. Often dissociation is a protective response to surviving some sort of trauma in our lives. If these coping mechanisms are still in place, it may be that you will need to process the trauma in order for you to be able to move past it and teach yourself to respond to anxiety in healthier ways.
I have found there are some great grounding strategies, when I am feeling like I am too far in the clouds:
- Drinking a warm cup of coffee
- Holding an ice-cube
- Singing my favorite song
- Emailing a good friend
- Eating a snack
- Taking a walk
- Sitting on the floor (it can be very centering, as you connect with the ground – it is a different feel to sitting in a chair)
- Holding a rock
- Hugging a friend or family member
- Journaling (or blogging)
- Calling a friend
You are not alone, if you find yourself more frequently in the clouds than grounded, it may be worth it to reach out and let the people who care about you know that you are struggling.
Today, 338 days ’til 40, I will remind myself that it is normal for my head to be in the clouds sometimes. I will seek to understand why this occurs when it does and I will remind myself that it is okay to reach out for assistance if I need it.
May your head only be in the clouds as part of loving fantasies!