You know that thing that you want to do or say, but don’t or won’t? What’s stopping you? In order to start doing something that we are not currently doing requires us to stretch beyond where we’re used to going.
Last week, I returned to the gym after a 4 month hiatus. Initially, an injury had put my training on hold, however I kept telling myself that I lacked the time and energy to return to the gym. The real reason is that it would force me to be uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. It was so much easier not to exert myself, but deep down inside I knew how much better I felt when I was exercising regularly. It felt good to be back at the gym but I quickly felt some uneasiness as my trainer told me about the workout that I was going to do that day. Half way through the workout my heart was pounding, with each lap I was gasping for breath and my brain kept saying “Stop, Now! You Can’t Go On!” In spite of what was going on in my head, my exceptionally large trainer kept telling me “Keep going, you got this”, so I kept going. Somehow, I found the strength to push that damn 150 pound sled for 8 laps. As soon as I finished, I felt great and I was so glad that I had pushed through the physical and emotional discomfort. Two days later, I did the same workout… it was still challenging but not as difficult as it had been. I didn’t let the discomfort stop me, instead I increased my range of emotional flexibility and physical endurance.
Anytime we do something different or new, we risk experiencing some measure of unease and uncertainty. Often, when things get a little “too” uncomfortable we tend to get scared and back off. When you have to decide to continue or turn back, you have reached the limit of your comfort zone. But what if we were able to push past the uneasiness and get to a place that we’ve never allowed ourselves to go? Increasing physical flexibility and endurance can allow you to do more but did you know that it can also allow you to feel more?
The body and mind work together. When we feel discomfort emotionally it affects us physically and, similarly, physical discomfort also has an emotional impact on us. Think about what happens to you physically when you feel an emotion that you don’t like feeling, like anger or shame. Your body stiffens, you hold your neck tight, your breath becomes shortened and rapid. To prevent ourselves from feeling an uncomfortable emotion we unconsciously place tension in our physical body to restrict range of motion. The range of emotion that we allow ourselves to feel can influence the physical range of motion of our body. As we avoid feeling certain emotions, we put more and more tension into our body and spine. Locking out certain ranges of motion can result in physical pain and an inability to move in certain directions. This, in essence, is the physical definition of the comfort zone in the body. The range of motion that the spine can move through, defines the range of emotion that you allow yourself to experience.
At BodyMind Wellness Studio, I help practice members to discover where they lock tension in their body and bring awareness of what it feels like to bring movement and ease into these areas. As the tension in the body drops, it becomes possible to increase physical range of motion. When people start moving in ways that they they haven’t allowed themselves to move, they also begin to feel things that they haven’t allowed themselves to feel.
“Being flexible allows us to bend in even the most rigid of circumstances” (Dr. Julie Doobay)
Copyright 2017 Dr. Julie Doobay