How to get out of your head, and master emotional communication

Mar 24
Health

Recently someone asked me how they could be less logical with their partner, and instead be more emotionally expressive.

If you are as well on the less expressive side, you may know the pain of being considered distant or uninterested when you are actually just being yourself. Processing the life on the inside, in your head, without sharing much of that process is tricky to get around, especially when you are in a developing relationship. However, to some people, feeling and sharing are necessary ways of expression.

So, is there a path to mastering emotional communication? The answer is yes, and the benefits are clear: being less reserved and logical with your partner, family and friends, helps you deepen your relationships. Considering all this brings us to the unpopular answer to the question from the beginning: practice.

Is being in my head bad?

To understand the process of integrating your emotions, I want to dissect what “being too much in your head” means. Being overly logical or “in your head” is a state of being dissociated from your body or being always alert. A combination of different factors usually contributes to it: having a job that requires you to be logical, having friends that like to relate on a logical level, stress and overthinking, caffeine, fears, fight-or-flight response. If you checked either of these boxes, congratulations, it confirms that you are a human living in the 21st century. However, it’s treatable.

Fear and fight-or-flight response are common when dealing with something of crucial importance - speaking in public, talking with girls sober, or preparing for that long-anticipated job interview. The alertness is normal and desirable to the extent of excitement, but if it affects your ability to do a usual task, we need to rethink or in this case unthink, in order to relax. The solution is to practice daily to check in with your body and recognize that your emotions are there.

Learning to relax and listening to yourself

Developing basic body awareness will teach you a lot about yourself. It is a starting point to loosen mental alertness and learn to relax. Practice every day by bringing your attention to how you are feeling throughout the day and different situations until you learn to recognize your emotions and develop a subtle but consistent awareness. Recognize what it feels like to be tense and in your head, learn to relax consciously, and drop your awareness down to your belly.

This is not a quick anxiety fix; it's a listening and learning process that can take weeks or months to get better at. Have patience with yourself. Many exercises can help: breathwork, active meditations by Osho, ecstatic dance, body awareness practice… However, the bottom line is the same: try to ask the questions and listen to yourself for the answers “How am I feeling?” “Which sensations are there?” “Which emotions are there?” “Why am I feeling this?”

Written by Erik Jongbloed
Revised on Aug 25