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Emotional Capacity

What is Your Emotional Capacity Day to Day?

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Feelings can be intense and drain your emotional capacity on a daily basis: For information on learning how to remain calm and clear-headed, contact me for a 20 minute phone call! I’d love to give you the first set of tools to transform emotional chaos into heart coherence!

Keep Your Emotional Capacity High with Today’s Tip!

Integrated Body

Friday Live – What is an Integrated Body? Is Yours?

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Is your body integrated?  What does that really mean? How can you feel great, look amazing and live your phenomenal life? You’ll discover how when you…

Enjoy my Friday Live Video!


My Fear Recipe

While out on the lake yesterday, I stepped out of the comfortably sized launch.  That may not seem like much.  But to be clear, we were out on the lake, I was in a boat, AND I GOT OUT OF IT to get into a different boat.

As I’ve mentioned, my greatest fear has everything to do with water – but in this moment of navigating from one boat into another boat and completely surrounded by deep dark water, I was not afraid.

How is this even possible?Boat_bow

Fear is a protective response to a threat or danger – and threatening situations come from life experiences.  We are only born with two fears, I wrote about them in this blog post.  All other fears, whether it be spiders or small spaces,  are learned fears.  Water is not one of the two…

A small part of the brain, the amygdala, captures sensory information and elicits immediate behavioral responses. Interestingly, it is considered the part of our brain directly involved with emotions.  So, fear is an emotional response.

Fear triggers physical reactions that are specific and predictable AND happen before we have fully assessed the source of danger.  This is because the amygdala is part of the limbic system, located in the middle of our brain, and processes environmental input *before* the awareness centers are piqued.  Fears are stored in our memory, having been formed from two vital components:  A deep emotion attached to an experience.

Because the amygdala can be triggered well before our rational mind even has a chance to analyze, we can steer clear of fear inducing situations without us evening knowing or recognizing we have a fear.  This describes my behavior for years and years.  I wouldn’t go into the deep end of pools unless I could touch the sides.  I wouldn’t swim in lakes or oceans past where I could touch the bottom.  I somehow justified that I wasn’t afraid of water because I had no trouble playing with my cousins in the shallow end as a kid or later, playing in the shallows with my own kids.

Our brain has the incredible capacity to hold within it many details of a bad experience.  These impressions serve as the ‘ingredients’ that cooked up to make the bad experience.  If in a later situation, our brain recognizes the ingredients from the bad experience ‘recipe’, the amygdala sounds an alert of the ‘pending doom cake’.

The telltale signs of the recipe for our fear are immediately recognizable:  Our heart begins to beat faster shunting blood to our muscles, we may sweat, our eyes dilate to take in more visual information, and our reflexes become heightened.  This is our brains way of getting our body prepared to take an action dependent on its survival.

Rowing_oct_1The experience of being on a boat rocked by shuffling bodies and lapping waves, wearing a life vest, and surrounded by rowers are not items from the ingredient list for my fear.  This is a different recipe.  A recipe for ‘move your body better cake’.

Taking a float test in deep water, floating on my back, eyes open and looking up *is* on that ingredient list.  My amygdala definitely knows I’m baking ‘pending doom’.

This is a practice in observation.  Investigating the source of my greatest fear, I’ve come to realize:

1  Fear is a normal, natural safety mechanism
2  Fear can completely paralyze both physically and mentally
3  One may never be rid of fear

Yet, fear can be a sort of prime to getting the engine started, to taking forward moving action.  Using it in this way can improve your presentation to that large crowd.  It can get you to make that difficult phone call to your family.  It can get you to sign up for a class requiring a float test.

I’m living my life more fully now that I ever have before.  Understanding my fear has demonstrated where I have fear in other parts of my life.  Identifying how fear shows itself in my thoughts is permitting me to make different choices.  Seeing my fear in an open light, allows me to help my children to handle their own fears.

How will you use your fear?

 

I choose to be afraid

I’ve been studying fear lately. Fear can be paralyzing or it can be motivating… Too often, I choose the former and give in to the fear – unaware of its power or its source. There is a book entitled “The Gift of Fear” which describes how fear is a tool we can leverage. Oddly enough, I’ve been afraid to read it.

What’s the best way to use fear to move ahead? Here are two suggestions:
1. Be aware. Notice when you feel it, pay attention to what triggers it.
2. Make a choice. Realize that fear doesn’t have to dictate your actions.

Oar_in_water

I’ve been doing specific things to prepare myself. Workouts have had a singular focus. Thoughts have been unwavering.

Tomorrow is my big fear debut: I start Rowing. In a boat. In deep deep water. Without a life jacket.

My desire to learn to Row is greater than my fear of water. I’ll carefully step into a rocking boat tomorrow wondering if that intense, gut wrenching fear of water will ever really go away. I do know, however, that my longing to Row will propel me onward, to become greater than the fear that grips me.

Find your fear. Let it be a source of growth for you, too.

If you need help moving past a fear, try moving your body with a BODYWISE workshop or one on one programs. It will change you for the better.

If the shoe just fits – don’t run in it! Foot Month Ends, Bunions

I’ll admit I converted – I LOVE minimalist shoes.

One of the very important aspects of wearing any shoe, of course, is fit. I’m always on the search for the right fitting shoe.  For me, that includes a zero drop (think no heel) and won’t attract too much attention. The Five Finger style with separate toes gets a lot of looks. Even though the shoe is mostly black on the top, it’s the pink fabric in bePinkVibramtween the toes that makes people look down.  I wore them quite a bit while hiking so they’re not as bright anymore.  Still.  Their individual toes and most people don’t understand the style.

My first pair of minimalist shoes were water resistant, didn’t have separate toes, and came in black.  No one noticed them at all whatsoever and I was able to successfully convert my feet.  But… I completely wore them out.  They had done their job of strengthening my feet.

They were replaced with a gray and black beauty by Zem.  This little minimal has fun gray racing stripes and doesn’t attract any stares whatsoever.  While it isn’t water-free during a rain, it’s a great summer option and breathes well.  Take a closer look and you’ll notice the region for the big toe is actually shoShoes_minimalrter as compared to the area for the second toe.  While it’s only slightly uncomfortable at first, it didn’t take long to get used to so I thought the shoe would work well for me.

One of the amazing things about minimal shoes is they don’t require much break in time if any at all. It either fits your foot, or it doesn’t fit – and you know it immediately.  Because the heel cup conforms so well, the fabric rarely if ever rubs, grabs, or pulls.

Believing all was well, the shoe fit like a glove, I took an opportunity to run in them.  Unfortunately, they were too short (heel to toe) and my left big toe kept jamming into the shoe tip.  By the time I finished the run, the nail was red underneath it – I eventually lost the nail altogether.

If the shoe ‘just’ fits, don’t run in it.  Lesson learned.

My latest shoes are very minimal and very size 10!  It’s not that my feet are necessarily bigger than they were – in fact, they are the same length, but shoe-makers design for very narrow feet.  And while my feet aren’t substantially wider than before, they have too much depth and musculature to be pinched into a shoe that is too small.  These fancy shoes have super flexible soles, thin adjustable uppers, and a very cool design.   I recommend a slow transition to minimal footwear to give your feet time to adjust.  Just as you wouldn’t begin exercising weak muscles using super heavy weights, you shouldn’t begin walking weak feet muscles with only minimal shoes.

Minimal_Water_ShoeDid you know that, in general, most shoes promote feet weakness, rather than strength?  Hard soles, stiff uppers, and any heeled shoe prevent your feet from using the muscles that are designed to deform, and then stabilize, over uneven surfaces. And we rarely walk on anything uneven these days so that’s an added disadvantage.  Referred to as intrinsic foot muscles, in my study of foot patterns and research on abnormalities, I’ve found that faulty foot bone alignment (or chronic misalignments, rather) as well as overall muscle weaknesses allow a repetitive shortening of specific muscles that can contribute directly to serious problems, like bunions for example.

Bunions (Hallux valgus) can become quite painful and in advanced cases, debilitating, due to the body’s attempt to protect the tissues.  Believe it or not, bunions can be completely avoided and corrected using non-surgical methods in most cases.  Just to be clear, bunions are not a genetic predisposition!  See this picture of my husband’s foot demonstrating how a specific position forms a bunion.

Bunion2_TJSHe had shifted his ankle to the inside – note the arrow and the line showing the inner ankle bone moving off center of the foot.  What he did not show is the ‘duck footed’position (toes more out, heel more toward center line) that often accompanies a bunion.  He was able to shorten specific muscles including –  Adductor hallucis (oblique head) and Flexor hallucis brevis (lateral head) to create the appearance of a bunion in the knuckle bone of his big toe.

Also notice the line near the big toe – this angle becomes more acute as pressure on that toe pushes it more toward the other toes.  Walking with this configuration puts even more pressure on the toe in the final phases of the step, toe off, further exacerbating the problem in the joint.  If a bunion can be created, it can be fixed!  Here are some tips:

  • Align your ankle – put it back in the ‘middle’ of the top of your foot
  • Walk with your foot straight – toes pointing directly forward (not easy)
  • Ask for help – seek the advice of a professional who doesn’t insist surgery is the only answer

As we say goodbye to Foot Awareness Month, I am happy to say hello to Posture Awareness Month!  May 2016 is sure to be informative – watch for more tips and information on how to make the most of your body’s position!

**If you ever need help or have a question, don’t hesitate to contact BODYWISE directly.  If you’re curious and want to try us out, attend the ‘Don’t Exercise, Move’ workshop happening May 21 and every third Saturday from now until August – we’d love to see you!

Do we sit because we can’t walk?

Falling, TrippingAccording to this study done by Purdue University, the high fall and injury rate of students reflects the inherent instability of bipedal locomotion (walking).  Students are falling 58% of the time while walking, so it must be that humans weren’t meant to walk on 2 legs. 

 Seriously? 

Humans have been walking for a very long time… and because students at Purdue are tripping and falling over half of the total time they spend walking, the study concludes humans aren’t designed to walk.

Let’s look at other pieces of information that may have been a contribution to the problem.  Most individuals studying in a college setting are between the ages of 18 and 26.  It is very fascinating and interesting to note that, by 1988, the United States adopted the law requiring children to be in car seats (a full 10 years after Tennessee made car seats mandatory).

Hunh.  1988 was… 28 years ago.  My my, could there be a correlation between these young adults current ability (or inability, I should say) to walk and the environment that directly effected how, how much, and to what degree, they developed during their initial attempts to learn to walk?   

And by the way, has anyone looked at the connection between the increased use of automobiles and human mobility via walking or equestrian riding? 

Is it possible that cars and the use of car seats are the cause of the current trends in human walking incompetence?   

We’ve all seen ‘those’ parents who don’t take their children out of the car seats when the drive is over.  And now we even accessorize car seats:  They snap into the stroller, fit into the grocery cart, and even come with a curved base – all the easier to ‘rock’ the baby to sleep.  By the way, years ago a friend shared with me that these kids are called ‘Bucket Babies’ and tend to have a flat spot on the back of their head.

The truth is bodies are meant to move! 

Since car seats have become so versatile, children aren’t getting the same stimulation and opportunity to build movement patterns.  They are delayed, under-developed, and less coordinated.  Review the following growth markers considered basic development:

  • At 1 month, a baby should begin lifting their head and turning it to the side while lying on their stomach – in recent years, parents are told to give their kids ‘tummy time.’  No tummy time happens in a car seat.
  • At 3 months, a baby should begin lifting his chest as well as head and perform pushup like movements while lying prone.  They also push down with their legs if you stand them up.  Babies can’t push their legs against the curve of a car seat.
  • At 7 months, a baby should be able to roll over, sit unsupported, and bounce on her legs while supported.  Children at this stage have not developed the same strong network of motor nerves that more independent babies have.
  • Between 8 to 12 months, children should be crawling, pulling themselves up to standing, and walking with help.  If kids aren’t mobile by this point, they really scream about it!

Humans have been raised in an upright world for much longer than they’ve been placed in car seats.  There is more research to be had on this issue.   For now, understand that car seats are just the beginning of a life of limited movement.  With trends as they are, no one is likely to have a future of tripless walking – not with the average American sitting 9-12 hours a day.

Combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle!  Walk more, Move more, Sit less!

If you need help or want to learn more ways to accomplish optimal health, attend the
‘Don’t Exercise, Move’ Workshop
April 16, 2016 at 3pm
rsvp dawn@bodywisebodywork.com

Sit up or sit down

 

IMG_9208.JPGBodies conform to the shapes of the chairs we sit in: What does your chair ‘say’ about you?
If that chair is overstuffed and cradling your body, you may use very little (to no) muscle to hold yourself.

If it has a straight-back, your neck muscles can probably hold your head comfortably over the upright stacked spine – if it’s curved, the muscles on the front of your neck work overtime to support the head.

In a higher chair, it does not require much leg strength to lower yourself down.  If its low to the ground, it takes a lot of muscle to get there (or you just may avoid that chair altogether if it’s too difficult for you!)

Pay attention to where you sit.  Notice how long you sit.  Vary the objects you choose to sit in, from bar stools to Big Boys to… the floor!  If you can get up from the floor, and do it multiple times a day, you’ll live longer!!

If you do need to sit and the floor is not an option, I recommend sitting in a hard straight chair:

1.  You won’t sit too long in it,

2. You’ll have good support against which to stand up from, and

3. You’re likely to get in and out of it more often – a good leg strengthening exercise which will give you good moves and keep you body wise…
#MoveEveryday, #MoveMoreAgeLess, #BodyWise, #AlignYourFeet, #PosturePerfect, #CreateYourLife, #BetterMovement, #GoodMovesGreatLife

Life Moves

IMG_9540Life Moves:  Breathing, metabolizing, circulating, even thinking, is movement.  There is beneficial movement and movement that doesn’t serve you (causes pain).

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you and a necessary part of a healthy life, but what ‘kind’ of exercise and how often?

When kids learned to walk, they wiggled, wobbled and fell, got up, wiggled, wobbled and fell, and got up again.  The beauty of their efforts was in finding the place of balance.  At this point you’ve been balancing your body around injuries, experiences, and habitual patterns.

Get your wiggle back and strengthen that body around a balanced pattern.

YOUR body is designed to move, and move well it’s entire life!

BODYWISE is offering 3 months of twice weekly movement to keep you living well for the remainder of your life!  Starting with a detailed BodyMap, you’ll discover where you’re strong and what specifically needs work.  You’ll learn the movements that rebalance your body and keep you healthy.

Let BODYWISE Move You