Why Movement Activates Personal Growth

Get out of a rut

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Ever notice how negative emotions weigh down the body?

In times of stress or worry, do you engage in movement?

When we are operating in a healthy and balanced state, we can deepen our connection with our true self. Freeing ourselves from physical, mental, and emotional blocks that trap our attention and energy allows us to move into our purpose.

Movement not only helps us recognize those blocks, but also work through them and continue toward reaching our real purpose — our soul’s desire.

Movement provokes beginner brain

When we are learning something new or implementing behavioral change, we have beginner brain.

I didn’t expect to nearly quit dance class within two months of signing up.

After a frustrating class of synchronizing basic foot and arm movements, I almost never returned.

Annoyed, I wanted to give up, but instead I engaged the challenge. What I perceived as failure stimulated my determination to succeed.

Walk forward and backward while raising and lowering the arms.

Sounds simple, right?

Left, right, left. Oops, strike that — started on the wrong foot.

Slow steps forward — right, left, right, left. Now back, left, right, left, right.

Arms move simultaneously, taking four counts to rise from the waist outward, overhead, and four counts back down. 1,2,3,4…again.

Now, while syncing steps and arm lifts, add hip bumps at double the speed. Repeat.

While my mind quickly comprehended the movement and technique, my body could not process and perform at the same speed. My ego was insulted. Why couldn’t I catch on more quickly?

My dance teacher encourages moving through frustration. It is most often at our breaking point, where we want to give up, when we are on the brink of success. No matter how clumsy it looks or how much our brain feels like it will explode, this is where learning becomes realized.

It took months before I could comfortably, not confidently, step and move my arms to the same count!

This was my first dance class, my first time in an environment full of beautiful, moving bodies that wasn’t an alcohol infused club. My first time embracing vulnerability in a group of strangers.

Momentum seems impossible when starting something new. Take time in the beginning to build a strong foundation. Progress will be easier if your foundation is supportive.

Strike outs are more prevalent than steps when learning the moves of your dance.

Movement strengthens connection with our spirit

The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of movement are often emphasized: lowering stress, clearing our minds, making decisions, alleviating depression, processing emotions (consciously or not), to name a few.

What does movement have to do with finding your purpose?

When we aren’t healthy, we are blocked from fully realizing our purpose. A healthy state is the place from which we move forward with confidence and security to explore what calls us.

Take my relationship with walking, as an example.

Over a year ago, I was a wreck — emotionally devastated, mentally exhausted, and physically weak. But I still needed exercise, so I started walking my dog around the neighborhood a couple of days a week. It was the least I could do, but it was a start.

After a couple of months, I began to look forward to our treks. Another month passed, and we were walking 4 days a week. While life continued to feel like an arduous drudgery, I looked forward to walking — out the door, down the drive, and among the trees — just my best friend and me.

Around the six-month mark, my energy increased and I was ready for different scenery.

We ventured out of the neighborhood and onto nearby trails.

Eight months later, near Christmastime, I asked my dad if he’d like to come along on one of the trails. To my surprise, he did. Slow and steady, treading the same ground, walking is a consistent activity that the three of us benefit from while spending time together.

Though a chore in the beginning, movement has delivered me from stagnant, negative behavior and attitude. I moved out of a state of clutter and tuned into my real desires. Now, I am exploring interests that are helping me live with more purpose.

Movement activates change

The beautiful thing about movement is that it only requires small, consistent steps to see results.

It has now been a year and a half. Walking allowed me to clear emotional pain, mental fatigue, and physical weakness. I learned to stop being run down by ceaseless, constant distractions.

Through movement, I developed an ability to hear my real needs and act to address them. I started meeting myself halfway, and then all the way. I learned to be true to myself.

Whether you have a goal in mind, desire to connect with your true self and purpose, or need to de-stress, movement will be greatly beneficial.

If movement is not possible now, start by picking two areas and reduce the noise in your life.

Without action nothing changes.

What are some ways you’d like to change your life?

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 Originally published on Medium:

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