A popular saying and it applies to mental health as well as to movement health.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when it comes to moving, be it for health or for functional reasons, is to resist gravity. Most of us do this, either because we were trained to make movement hard for the benefit of building strength or endurance, or because we have a belief that if it’s not difficult it’s not valuable (along the lines of the other well known saying “No Pain, No Gain”).
Many of us resist gravity also unconsciously, because when we are stressed and in a fight or flight state our physiology stops communicating with our surroundings and the ground, We start to try holding ourselves rigidly in space, not trusting anything and fighting against everything.
Anyone who studies movement on a deeper level will agree that when we stop resisting gravity and begin to work with it, movement becomes a lot easier and healthier. When we stop going into a push up bracing against the ground, for example, we can experience a sense of lightness and ease in the movement. Basically, our mindset alone can make a huge difference to the effort fullness or effortlessness that we experience in an exercise. If we go into a push up expecting it to be a struggle it most certainly will be because our entire body is bracing and preparing to resist the ground.
Likewise, if we fight against our doubts, our discomforts, even our stress and anxiety, that rarely helps us long term. In fact the more we try to get rid of those unwanted feelings and sensations the more persistent they tend to become.
It is very understandable that we would try to get rid of those things, unfortunately, that simply does not tend to work. These feelings and sensations are there for a reason. They may not feel helpful at all, but they usually come from a deep attempt to keep us safe. And so it tends to be helpful to acknowledge them, to soften towards them and to work with them, rather than against them. You can start by developing a bit of curiosity about this symptom or behaviour you have. If you can meet it with some gentle curiosity, it often calms down, simply because you have stopped trying to ignore it.
If you can gain an understanding of what it is actually trying to do for you, you may even be able to shift it further. Because with that insight you may be able to negotiate a different way in which it can give you the kind of safety it is trying to provide for you.
Of course, we want to do that from a resourced place and without overwhelming ourselves but at the end of the day another popular saying is also true “the only way is through it.” We can not resist the ground, it will always be there to hold us securely on the planet. We can only learn to work with it. We can not resist ourselves either. We can only learn to understand ourselves better and move forward as a whole.
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- How I Ended Up As a Somatic Practitioner Working with Trauma - 31st December 2021
- Why Does Chronic Pain Need a Holistic Approach? - 19th November 2021