“Your body wants to move”, my acupuncturist told me early on in my healing journey. While I understood what he was saying to me I hadn’t fully connected with the why quite yet. “I need to exercise more”, I thought. The thing is, exercise can be different than movement as self-care just like dieting is quite different choosing foods that will nourish our bodies. Like food is nourishing, so is movement! It’s an important tool we can use for emotional regulation. We’ve stopped moving. In just a few generations our lives have become dramatically more sedentary which has caused us to disconnect from our bodies. Think about it, most of us have sedentary desk jobs then we sit in front of the TV, on the phone and we have machines and vehicles that can do our heavy lifting. We tend to only notice our bodies when “something goes wrong” with it. It’s so dishonoring, isn’t it?
If we aren’t connected to our bodies that means we are spending most of our time in our minds, swimming in our thoughts and emotions and I can tell you from personal experience that this creates suffering.
Emotions are Energy
Our bodies play a large role in our emotional regulation. Emotions are energy moving through our bodies. This concept can help us release fear around emotions and it empowers us to help ourselves move through them.
When we’re sedentary so is our energy which means we are not allowing it to move through and out of our body.
This is where movement becomes so important. Have you ever felt overwhelmed with emotion but unsure what to do with it? I have! This was my pattern for a really long time and it contributed to my becoming sick. I had no idea how to manage my emotions so I stuffed them inside until there was literally no more room for them!
Movement vs Exercise
For many people, when they here the word exercise they think of it as a chore or a task because it doesn’t feel motivated by pleasure. And exercise, in the traditional sense of the term, is not always available to us when we need it to help regulate our emotions.
Movement as Nourishment
It’s taken me years to even begin to understand how to care for myself.
When you are working through difficult emotions can you answer the question, “What do I need right now?”
It’s hard, isn’t it.
I’m still working on this!
The answer usually falls under the category of nourishment: Physical and/or emotional.
This is the foundation of self-care. Understand what you need and then provide it for yourself.
Self-care is grounded in self-love. It feels good and we deserve it.
When we provide it for ourselves we reinforce our self-worth.
Benefits of Movement
There are a wealth of studies that demonstrate the benefits of moving our bodies including improved mood/mental health, decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression and ADHD, improved blood pressure and cardiovascular health and more.
Did you know that simply dedicating yourself to walking more regularly can have huge physical and emotional benefits?
Ways to Move Your Body
One of the best ways to move through emotions is to literally, move your body but this doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the gym a few times a week. While consistent movement is important to our overall mental health and well-being and can be as simple as walking more, movement can also be a real-time, in the moment activity that’s accessible to everyone at anytime, truly!
Plus, once we get the energy moving it becomes much easier and more productive to “sit with our emotions”. That is why we practice yoga BEFORE we meditate! The movement prepares the body for sitting in stillness and embracing our emotions.
Try this: When we are in the midst of a difficult emotion we can:
Scan your body and see where we are experiencing the emotions then choose to move our body in a way that supports and opens that area.
- take a walk
- do gentle stretches or yoga
- dance freely
- shake it out
- go for a run (I have actually sprinted around the block to unload stress in a short amount of time)
On a daily basis we can also support and honor our bodies by moving more regularly. The more we move the more easy it will become which is the same for being sedentary. In other words, it takes some will-power to create a healthy habits but it feels far more motivating when they are grounded in self-love.
How do you move your body?
Come Move With Me!
Join Toni Bergins, MEd and Katie Cavuto MS, RD, RYT for an experiential half-day workshop leading you on a journey of self-exploration to open your heart and mind to the abundance of love that exists around us and within us.
You have the power to access limitless joy and self-love! Come ready to reflect, learn and grow as we explore self-care and self-empowerment through inspirational group talks, guided meditations, community and intuitive movement.
Toni will use her JourneyDance process to guide you out of old patterns and into a new story. Get out of your head and into your body! Movement and in this case, dance, is a deeply nourishing form of self care. It encourages self-expression, the movement energy, the release of emotions and judgement and it allows us to become present our bodies, paving the path to self-love and radical self-acceptance. Find joy, freedom and empowerment as you rewrite your story through movement, dance and the support of community!