On a recent brisk walk with my husband, I fell face forward on the pavement. Nothing tripped me or could be blamed for this fall, but I went down. My hands and hip took the brunt of the fall, but thankfully nothing was broken or seriously hurt.
About two days before this fall, I had slipped going down the stairs in our townhome. I don’t recall anything that caused that slip either, but I went bumping on my back down several steps. These two falls had an emotional affect in my body.
I started to be afraid to walk around the block alone. I took my stairs with 100% intention, holding on to the railing and purposely placing my feet. Bruises and scrapes from the falls healed, yet something, like an emotional bruise, remained. For a time, I didn’t want to meet up with friends and lost my cheerfulness.
The normal steps I use to coach myself and others for happiness, didn’t budge my state of mind. After sitting with these feelings, I could identify emotions that were showing up in me, primarily fear. I also identified a dread and sadness about aging. The physical event of the fall caused a block in my emotional wellbeing.
Coincidently, about this time I was asked to read a pre-print copy of the book, Body Aware, by Erica Hornthal. (I really don’t believe in coincidence!) The intro of her book states, “Rediscover your Mind-Body Connections, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Improve Your mental Health through Simple Movement Practices.”
I was quite intrigued as I knew there was a mind-body connection going on inside me but had no idea of what to do about it.
Erica suggests through her work as a dance therapist, that movement is a way to release emotions that get stuck in the body. She states that movement brings emotions into balance. The book gives examples of changes Erica’s clients have experienced when allowing movement as an emotional expression.
Think back to times of stress, fatigue, or worry when your body responded with high blood pressure or a headache. This article from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing talks about feelings affecting our brain chemicals.
It states that negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress. This upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. The last thing I want is to have my brain chemicals depleted!
I know people who live in pressure cooker home or work situations who frequently feel sick. We can’t hide from our body what our mind is going through.
Erica states, “When we close off certain parts of us emotionally, we limit our opportunities to manage how those emotions show up in our bodies as physical ailments. Rather than working to release them, they get trapped and can often become “dis-sease” or disease.”
I believe that release of trapped emotions can be achieved through many avenues. Erica is proficient at helping clients release them through movement. Her book gives insight on how to do this.
Sometimes adding a good cry will give release. Talking with a therapist or coach can let some emotional steam out of unhappy memories that won’t go away. Even writing out emotions that bother us is therapeutic and helpful for our brain.
Debbie Hampton says this in her post, “How Writing Improves Your Brain and Helps You Heal”:
“A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists revealed that expressing feelings, in verbal or written words, reduces activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, and engages the thinking brain. This brain pattern can make sadness, anger, and pain less intense.”
I’m reminded of Jon Batiste’s song, Freedom:
“When I move my body just like this, I don’t know why, but I feel like freedom…”
The song talks about body movement and feelings. There’s something about this song that makes me get up and dance. In fact, while writing this I took time out to play the video and move around my living room. Good thing no one was watching, as I moved like Erica suggests.
I let my body move, not caring what I looked like. Jon says, “let me see you wobble, let me see you shake.” When I watch the video, his movement is one of the freedoms he’s singing about, much like Erica says in Body Aware.
I found that body movement freed up fearful emotions lodged in me from recent falls. I also made an appointment with my doctor to discuss these falls. I wanted to rule out anything else that could be the reason for falling. Please do this if your body is responding differently than normal.
Medically check everything out to get information you need. My doctor urged me to continue to be intentional when using the stairs and walking outside. She also suggested a physical therapist appointment to check on muscle strength balance.
Releasing the fear and making these changes have brought back the balance of security to the place where fear resided. Plus, my mood has improved! I’ve decided to move more than I have before, without pushing to the point of pain or hurting anything.
This and other methods of release may help you too. Talk it out with a trusted friend or coach. Write down your feelings. Begin to take back some of the freedom you had before the event happened. My well-being and calm sense of everyday happiness feels like it’s being restored day by day.
Please share with us if something similar has happened to you. What did you do to overcome the fear? Is it still lodged within you? What do you think of emotions being stored in the body?