Shake It Off
So when I first started seeing a therapist to help me deal with the trauma of my experience, she gave me a series of exercises to do. I was a bit confused by this concept because I thought therapy was about talking it out. And here she was asking me to ‘do’ something.
It took me a long time to trust that her ‘prescription’ was going to help me. Once I finally opened up to the idea, and started doing the stretches and poses, I realized that using this technique to heal my physical body was one very real way of healing my mind and spirit.
I had been an athlete for most of my life. I had been trained to hone my muscles and cardio vascular system so that I could perform better on the field. This training did me well and earned me local and national recognition in sports. I was a local All-Star and a Junior Olympic athlete. I tried out for the Olympic team and received Division 1 Ivy League collegiate recognition.
But it wasn’t until I started shaking while doing these Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) that I fully comprehended that there was more to physical fitness than just performing in an athletic game and being physically fit. I had no idea that putting my feet on the floor more than shoulder width apart, bending from the waist and reaching to the left, right and center did more for me than just getting me warmed up and stretched. It was actually ‘cleansing’ any trauma I had stored up in my body.
As a 3-season athlete, I did these exercises almost 5 times a week from 7th grade into college. Thanks to this simple stretch, I was keeping my mind and spirit healthy as well as keeping myself physically fit! But I didn’t know it. That hindsight was really an eye opener!
When I experienced my trauma, I became depressed. It took all my energy to do my job well and do well in graduate school. I had little energy remaining and so my evenings and weekends I spent on the couch. I was sedentary. I lost my fitness and gained a lot of weight. I was no longer exercising nor was I stretching.
Thanks to these Trauma Releasing Exercises and other healing exercises like M.E.L.T. and yoga, where shaking can be part of the process, my body is getting back on track and my mind and spirit are more open to healing as well.
If you have had a trauma and have tried one of these techniques to ‘shake it off’ I would like to hear about it.
If you have research that helps me know exactly how this works, please share it. If you have another technique to heal the mind and spirit through body work, please tell us about it.