“Exercise is optional. Movement is essential. Exercise is a modern invention. Movement is ancient. Movement was here first. Movement is what the human body is designed for.”
– Ben Medder
Occupy Sanity Tool (OST): Movement
There is a phenomenal amount of research written about how movement enhances health and wellness. In the article, The Benefits of Movement the author noted that regular exercise leads to:
- “A better cardiovascular system,
- Stronger musculoskeletal system,
- Clearer respiratory system,
- Better metabolism and body composition, and
- Good psychosocial aspects.”
Also, the article, The 12 Habits of Super-Healthy People, indicated that at least 5 of those habits included some form of movement :
- Take an Exercise Break.
- Learn Something New.
- Train Your Muscles.
- Head Outdoors.
- Keep Your Balance.
Benefits of Movement
“To move is to live. To live is to move.” – Toni Sorenson
In another article, 5 Benefits of Moving Your Body Brittany Wright proposes that movement needn’t be “…burdensome as it is one of your body’s most basic functions!” She suggests that “…if you are even more intentional about moving, you can reap five fabulous benefits, including better mood and improved sex life.”
Her research found that choosing to move in simple ways; you can also enhance brain health, have a healthier lymph system (which is known to reduce inflammation and the risk for certain diseases), as well as healthier bones.
She suggests those simple movements can be grocery shopping with a basket as opposed to a cart with wheels, stretching while watching tv, signing up for a class with a friend, gardening, and free form dancing in your living room.
Movement and the Mind
“Using your body to free your mind. That’s the blessing bestowed by movement, by action.” – Marty Rubin
I also had a look at how movement impacts our state of mind and interactions with others. Not surprisingly, the term Mental (cognitive) Flexibility came up, which is described as “…personal adaptability and our willingness to shift our thought patterns to respond to given situations in less regimented ways.
A change in environment, attitude, or behavior will also influence the way we think. Feeling optimistic or happy creates more broad and inclusive thinking. On the contrary, fear narrows our focus. When we can make a mental shift without remaining stuck in a particular mindset, we’re practicing mental flexibility.”
For me, this description invites us to MOVE from one state of mind to another…or at least try to…with the intention of increasing our mental flexibility. Some people have a natural tendency toward cognitive flexibility; however, we all can improve our own with practice.
Five Exercises For Movement of Your State of Mind:
1. Change your view. This perspective could be as simple as standing up, looking at the ceiling, then turning around and looking at the other wall. Or as elaborate as taking a vacation.
2. Try something different. As noted in a previous article, trying something new can have amazing results on your mental state. In a study led by Koutstaal, “older adults who participated in a variety of novel and stimulating activities over three months demonstrated a significant gain in creativity, problem-solving abilities, and other markers of ‘fluid intelligence’ when compared to the control group. Novelty encourages mental flexibility, and over-time supports brain growth to maintain those changes.” More on Mental Flexibility by Koutstaal.
3. Interview and question your thoughts and words. Listen to your inner self-talk. Employ the OST Pivot to look at the opposite side of those thoughts. A shift to a different perspective can often happen when we play around with the words we use, rather than staying attached to the same way of thinking.
4. Try some spontaneity. Get out of bed on a different side. Change the order of your morning routine. Start brushing your teeth on the bottom rather than the top. Let someone else choose the movie. Read a different type of book. Just some small changes can train the brain to flex.
5. Try new ways of thinking. Just like changing your routine, a change in how you usually approach a project can enhance your creativity and energy levels. For example, if you typically are a list maker, try doing a mind map instead. Or if you tend to ask first ‘what could go wrong with this project?’ ask the opposite: ‘what’s the best that could happen?’
The main take away from this bit of research and my personal experience is that using the OST Movement daily is an excellent way to get and stay healthy and rise up to my Higher Self on all levels.
How about you? Let us know how you benefit from using this tool in the comments below.