Moving for Emotional and Physical Healing

We are all running in the marathon of life.  None of us hope that it will be a sprint, but many times we live that way. We can get caught up in the bumps in the road, rather than keeping our eyes on the long haul. Our nervous systems are specifically designed to pay attention to the little things. That way, we stay safer.  

In talking with a beloved friend who lost her son, we talked about the fact that she is constantly traversing the path. There isn’t ever going to be a “getting over” it time, or an arrival time. It will always be an unexpected journey, not knowing what to expect and needing and wanting to be as agile as possible in order to withstand the joys and sorrows that life can bring on a day to day basis.

Her strength and endurance over the last 3 years, since her son’s death, is demonstrated to me by the fact that she just keeps pushing on. She doesn’t ignore her feelings of the day, rather she acknowledges them and accepts them. She works within the reality of her world. But also keeps an eye on what he would have wanted for her in the long run.  

What an incredible role model for the rest of us. Living with the day to day struggle, but working so hard to live the marathon to the best of her ability. Of course her situation is something not a lot of us will have to encounter. But we all live with grief, loss, pain,so how can we learn from the truth and honesty that she lives every day in order to write our own stories, rather than being made a victim of our circumstance.

One of the growing trends in the emotional therapy world is to combine movement with cognitive behavioral therapy. Emotions are generated and reflective of the current state of the body. The never ending loop between the brain and the body through both interoceptive (readings from our internal organs) and proprioceptive (readings from our limbs/joints etc) movement is worth considering as a key piece of not only the healing process, but life in general.

Movement and the decision to move can be a key piece of the healing process. Again, our nervous system goes into protective mode with grief, loss and pain. It is our frontal cortex that has to override the primal and protective brain to keep us pushing on.  

At the very least, when it come to movement, we can hope to lose ourselves in play or in the the beauty and joy of movement. The “win” would be us actually enjoying the movement and use it as a tool for healing and furthering our health.

More and better movement leads to the brain getting more information. And when the brain gets more information from all the parts of our body, it feels safer, thereby reducing our fight or flight response. Why do we want to curl up in a ball when we are hurting? That is our built in protective mechanism. But it doesn’t help us run that marathon of life. So, as hard as it is, we have to work against that protective mechanism, and find something that can work for you at any given point in time.

Regardless of what you are experiencing in your life, physical or emotional pain, stress, or changes, we have to remember that movement is healing. And there is no right kind of movement, only the kind that helps you.