LEARN. APPLY. BALANCE.
A state in which the elements are equal or in the correct proportions, where our stress response is relative to the demand of a situation and our movements are steady and fluid.
Becoming aware of the state of your “BodyMind”, is learning to recognize when the body has gone into a stress response (sympathetic). There are detectable physiological changes that are indicators.
(Pain, tightness, shallow breathing, negative thoughts and emotions, brain fog, cold hands/ feet, racing heart or heart palpitations.)
Individuals can LEARN simple techniques to reverse this stress response and trigger a parasympathetic shift. This can be as simple as correcting posture and connecting to deep diaphragmatic breath.
For Individuals who have lived in a prolonged stressed state (sympathetic), there may be physical changes to the body that must be corrected in order for the physiological shift to occur. This will likely involve postural corrections and the release of restricted connective tissue.
Once an individual develops a connection to the “BodyMind”, they can start to APPLY the skills they have learned to help “neuroregulate”. Neuroregulation is the process of adjusting the stress response to match the true demands of a situation or threat. Our stress response is an important mechanism for survival and is not a “bad” thing. Poor regulation or being in a survival stress state over a perceived threat vs a true threat is harmful to our wellbeing.
BodyMindfulness is the state of self awareness where we are listening to the information our body is communicating to us and assessing if this response matches the demands of our situation. Often in reality, non-listening is the root cause of our nervous system turning up the volume. Eventually even the least self aware person will listen to pain, panic, and negative thoughts.
Applying these skills can be quick and easy, but certainly doesn't have to be. If your situation is very demanding in work, life or sport, an individual might have to “reset” numerous times. Take the examples of a parent dealing with the tantrum of a toddler, or a tax attorney in the 11th hour before the tax deadline, or an NCAA basketball player trying to make the final four. These situations require a high demand, therefore neuroregulation will be a process of several small moments.
True wellness depends on recognizing when these high demand events have ended, and being able to adjust the stress response to match the current situation. It is harmful when we carry the physiologic changes of a high demand situation into a low demand situation. Sleep is a great example of a low demand situation, that can quickly become disrupted when the body is still protecting against a perceived threat or high demand.
Meditation can be ineffective, if the goal is to calm the mind alone. This becomes an exercise of discipline; can my calm thoughts outpace my anxiety in order to convince myself that I am safe and that my situation is low demand. BodyMind lives in the connective tissues and nervous system. It is a system of systemic communication that both responds to demands as well as triggers a stress response. If the connective tissue is experiencing high demand, say in the neck and shoulders, from sitting at the desk too long with poor posture, the signaling will trigger a stress response. Again, if this is listened to, a quick response of postural reset and a deep breath might be enough to regulate the nervous system back down. If it is ignored, the response will continue to increase.
It is unrealistic for most of us to always manage our stress reactions in real time. For this reason the wellbeing of our BodyMind requires restoration. Movement practices that encourage listening to our BodyMind, Meditation that is rooted in BodyMindfulness and practices that lower the demand on our connective tissues and nervous system are the keys to individual wellness.
A Postural Correction is an action that will change the demand on the BodyMind. The appropriate neuroregulation and recalibration of the stress response to match the situation is how we achieve BALANCE. Practices that help us improve the health of our connective tissue, such as the use of massage tools, stretching, breath work, somatic practices, pilates and improving our posture are all helpful to becoming more BodyMind aware. The importance of a healthy diet and good hydration habits also tie directly into creating healthy connective tissue, which in turn improves the health of the BodyMind.
Finding and maintaining balance is a process. These are learned skills that still have to be applied in order to work. Humility is critical as judgment for getting out of balance will only prolong getting back into balance. With the end product of balance being a well calibrated response to both internal and external demands, being in balance helps us develop greater compassion and connection to others. The art of finding balance is the secret to performance in work, life and sport.
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