Stop thinking, just *feel*; using movement to release emotions

Written by Amie on November 16, 2011 – 2:13 am -

Learn to become “the observer” of the one having the negative thoughts

I want to talk more about releasing emotions through body movement. Many people e-mailed to ask what this process looks like for me, so I thought it would be helpful to write about it here in case others have the same question. When I first started using movement to release emotions, I was pretty judgmental of myself. Even though I locked myself in a room and turned the lights down, I was still self-conscious. If I could go back and give myself encouragement, I would tell myself that the mean voices in my head are not true, and more importantly, they are not who I am. They are conditioned beliefs that have nothing to do with who I am. They are the dysfunctional messages passed on by dysfunctional people and systems. So, to begin with, using movement to release emotions is also a practice in meditation. By this I mean you must learn to become “the observer” of the one having the negative thoughts. Keep moving your body while just noticing the thoughts. Don’t buy into them. Remember you are *not* your thoughts, you are the watcher of your thoughts. There is a *very* big difference. It takes diligent practice to make this become real in our bodies. The more you remember it, the easier it gets. This is about becoming aware. Awareness of what you are telling yourself.

Stop thinking, and FEEL

I always know when I need to move. It is usually when I am “trying to process” some feelings that have come up. I know if I am thinking too much or trying to figure something out, it is better for me to start moving. I know the main thing to remember is to *feel*. When I stay with my thinking too much, it is usually because I don’t want to feel. This is a very common protective response. I internalized the message, “if I feel, it will hurt”. I know this is not a true statement any longer. Sure, there are painful emotions, no doubt. But, we hurt when we start telling ourselves stories *about* those feelings. Feelings and emotions are energy. If thinking didn’t exist, we would just notice sensations in our bodies when we have a reaction to something. It is the added stories we start telling ourselves that make the experience painful. We believe these stories. Again, this takes some “re-training” of the brain. Our brains are trained to react a certain way, and they will continue to do that unless we decide to change it. It takes practice.  When I start feeling restless and I am focusing too much on “why” or “how” or obsessing over a detail, I  *know*, or rather my body knows, it is time to move!

90 second rule

I want to share this from Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s book called My Stroke Of Insight (a great book, btw!). “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.

This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.”

Lock the door, light some candles, dim the lights, and shake shake shake!!!

Sounds like an interesting title, don’t you think?! That is a shortened version of  my routine. I must also mention that I have a punching bag which is sometimes part of my routine. I absolutely love it! It is so helpful when I am feeling strong anger in my body. The important thing is to always stay in touch with your body and your body sensations. I hold most of my emotions in my stomach. My stomach feels tight or it feels as though someone is squeezing it when I have strong emotions. . I hold my breath as well. Another learned response. Just wanted to point that out because it is very common to hold your breath when you are trying to hold back strong emotions. So, a reminder to breathe is always very important. Hanging reminders around the house is a great idea! Seems simple, but it is incredibly helpful! I use an iPod to move to. I have a very wide range of music. I almost always start with hip hop and very upbeat fast music. This may not work for some people, but it is what works for me. It is fun to experiment with different kinds of music to see what your body loves. Listen to your body, you will *feel* a difference when you like a certain type of music and when you don’t.

Stay in your body

I have noticed there are times when I just need to shake every body part. If my body feels tense and I feel as though I may explode with emotion, I shake each limb and each body part. I continue doing that until I feel the intensity lessen. Then I move move move. I usually move fast for at least 30 minutes, but do what feels right for you. After that, I move slower, more like the video in my last post. Honestly, it really depends on my body, so it is key to pay attention to your body, and to follow what it tells you. There have been numerous times when I just have to stop moving and allow myself to sob. This is a good thing! My body is releasing unprocessed, stuck emotions. Sometimes I go back and forth between dancing/moving and punching the punching bag. It feels so good! It is all about staying with yourself; staying in your body. Just feel the sensations, and breathe. It can be helpful to journal after moving if that feels good to you. Hopefully this was helpful. Please feel free to comment, ask more questions, or tell me about your practice. It is always helpful if we share with each other. I am grateful you are here reading, and I really hope this was helpful for you. Happy dancing and moving!!!! Also, if you want a guided body movement, I strongly recommend Gabrielle Roth’s song “Body Parts” on her CD called “Endless Wave”

 

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Overflowing with love-showing my authenticity!!!!!

Written by Amie on October 30, 2011 – 1:11 am -

 I had been dimming my shiny self

I ended up going to the Suicide Prevention walk last weekend. The morning of the walk was really difficult. Once we started walking, I was much better. I’m still not sure if I am glad I participated, but I am happy that I spent time with my whole family. I was meditating the day after we returned home and it hit me! I had one of those “a-ha” moments that resonated deep inside me. Throughout my journey of healing from depression, I have come to realize that I have been conditioned to “dim my light”. By this, I mean I hide part of my authentic self. I have done so much healing around this, and I am much much better at being who I really am. This weekend it became so clear to me just how much I have been dimming my shiny self. I am in a place right now where I am able to really take a step back to observe my interactions with others. I think this is why it was so obvious to me how I have learned to “turn down” my overflow of love.

 I *knew* on an intellectual level that I must have been doing this most of my life

I truly felt so much love for each member of my family, and for every person I came into contact with during the weekend. I caught myself falling into my conditioned habit of turning down my joy and happiness in order to match that of the other person. It became so clear to me how I learned to dim my inner light so as not to make anyone uncomfortable. I learned to shut off the happy joyful side of myself because those around me might not be feeling so happy. This was such a huge realization for me. I *knew* on an intellectual level that I must have been doing this most of my life, but I had never *seen* it with such clarity. I can see how this all goes hand in hand with depression. I have written so much on here about depression hanging around until a person decides to be honest with themselves and others, and to be authentic and show their truth. I was still sort of shocked, but in a really relieved kind of way, to see this in action, so to speak. For example, someone would come up to me to talk, and I would gauge their mood, and then act accordingly. If I felt as though I was feeling happier than they did, I would tone down my own happiness. Wow, I can’t believe I was doing this for so many years! No wonder I was so depressed!

How could it ever be a bad thing to show how happy I am?

It is clear to me now that I learned to feel guilty if I felt happy and joyful. Just typing those words feels so sad and makes me angry as well! How could it ever be a bad thing to show how happy I am? It all comes back to receiving the message that in order to be loved, I need to change who I am. If I want to feel accepted, I need to change in order to be acceptable in the eyes of others. Well, let me just say, this is no longer a reality in my life. I feel so happy and full of joy right now. The contrast is unbelievable! How low I felt a few years ago compared to now. I never thought I would feel this good! I know there will be more “layers” of processing that will show up, so I am enjoying this! There will always be emotions and experiences to process, but I do believe the worst of it is behind me now.

When someone is depressed, my first suggestion is to become aware of the thoughts and beliefs going through their mind

Since I have become more aware that I do this, I am able to talk to myself and remind myself that it is ok to be exactly who I am. It is the other person’s problem if they are uncomfortable with my joy! Being joyful and happy is my birthright and your birthright! We do not ever have to change in order to fit someone else’s reality. Again, it is not my problem if someone is uncomfortable with how good I feel! It is so important to become aware of the habits and the beliefs and the thoughts we have. When someone is depressed, my first suggestion is to become aware of the thoughts and beliefs going through their mind. Then question the validity of these. Acknowledge your truth, and then begin taking baby steps to act upon your truth. We all have a right to be happy and to express our truth!!!

 

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