Quick Tips for Boosting Health & Resilience: Movement
Moving my body for me is fun, it's juicy and delightful, and it's strengthening, enlivening and empowering! The child in me comes out...most of the time! And I've noticed forever that when I shift into playful movement, I'm immediately energized! What can it do for you?!
Movement is known to help alleviate depression. It reduces limbic brain activation, so decreases anxiety; it's also been shown to be helpful in decreasing effects of ADD/ADHD. It both energizes us and it helps us focus our brains. Slower, more meditative movement (Qigong, yoga, Tai Chi) is calming, and yoga, in particular is well known for its ability to help people with PTSD symptoms to decrease them significantly.
But most of you don't have a mental health issue, per se. If you know me, you know I'm not in favor of diagnoses for a number of reasons. Some people find some understanding in them which helps them to feel more stabilized, but others feel shamed by diagnoses. AND there's the problematic (from my perspective) history of the development of diagnoses and their relationship to medication, along with the way diagnoses tend to blame the "victim."
Still...the prevalence of anxiety is on the rise and has been on the rise since long before COVID altered human experience. COVID only exacerbates what's already a disturbing phenomenon.
I was talking to a sales person in a Verizon store recently (my phone was getting hot enough to fry an egg and was dimming, so it was hard to see at the same time...this couldn't be postponed. AND, yes, I did wear a mask). He told me he mostly is feeling a "peaceful paranoia." I found the phrase perfect for what I've been noticing: People are thinking they are doing ok doing what they always do; it's their MO to try to distract themselves from uncomfortable feelings, and life is SO full of ways to distract us from our feelings! So, they are getting by, doing well enough, and are trying to ignore the ways the uncertainty, the media reports of and repeated surge of new cases, etc., the changes in their own lives, etc...are subtly getting under their skin.
So...increased stress reactions leading to increased anxiety (as the body tries to process the added energy & emotion), in the midst of less activity and movement is a combination that doesn't support our well-being.
Those of us working from home are likely not moving as much as we did before, which for many of us was not enough for our well-being, despite wearing watches & Fitbits (I don't because I'm very sensitive to electricity, my own energy messing with the functioning of electronic objects on my body). I also am conscious of the negative effects of EMF's...but that's for another time.
So, we are not moving as much, we are not getting as much real spacetime human connection, and we are not breathing as deeply as we need for our well-being. All of these are contributing to a gradual increase in stress reactivity.
Still, it's such a fantastic time for us to develop our conscious awareness. I'm serious! It's like the truth that everything you want is on the other side of fear. Everything you want comes from movement!
Right now, it's like a treasure in the depths, a silver lining, lemonade...
And opening to feeling the joy of movement improves the quality of your day incredibly
Here's my list:
march as you move from one room to another; punch your arms up or out as you march
jog with high, short steps between rooms
twist your body to load and unload dishwasher, instead of taking steps
bounce in place, arms down, out to the side and overhead
with arms up kick your feet/shuffle out in front of you, keep building this
go up & down on tip toes doing while at the sink
do Cross Crawl bringing knees up as high & fast as you can, twist at your waist for added movement
try whistling or singing loudly for an added energetic boost!
skip (just try to skip without laughing!)
bounce down stairs (on your feet, not your tush!)
do breath of fire, if you know it
just a few sun salutations will get you going too!
smile to yourself (admittedly a minor movement, but powerful and can be done with any of the above!
All the above are done in minutes. They wake up the body, activate the ventral vagal, are energizing AND boost your mood, immunity & resilience!
Stand up every 20 minutes, if you can, or at least every hour. Sitting and not getting up is horrible for us in every way AND studies have shown that it shortens our life spans.
Also, if you have a tendency to get up and snack (like I do). It seems every time I have an idea, just learn something amazing, or run into a momentary road block, I get up and head for the kitchen. It's a habit...been with me for a long time...and I'm changing that pattern! YAY! Getting up and engaging in some quick movement helps! AND your heart will love you for it!
Print out my list...add your own fun tips...and boost yourself up the vibrational scale of well-being into love, joy and aliveness!