Today's Medicine: Dance!
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
As I look out at the eerie, smoky sky above, I feel my mind and body completely shut-down. It's as if I've been taken hostage by a freeze response to the orange, glowing threat that looms outside my window. Whether I'm being held captive by a freeze response, eco-anxiety or some other paralyzing force, I know the thinking part of my brain won’t function properly until it knows that I’m safe. Instead, if I am to thaw myself out of this freeze mode, I need to disarm the part of my brain that is responsible for the perceived threat - the amygdala.
If you're experiencing a similar freeze response to the day and can't think your way out, try dancing your way out! Begin with some slow, mindful movements, like yoga, tai-chi or even just simple stretches. Really feel its affect on your body. Then, once you begin to feel inside of your own body again, turn on some fun music, crank up the volume and have a dance party! Invite the kids to join you and give yourself permission to laugh and be silly. Dancing helps to reduce cortisol levels while releasing endorphins, which create positive feelings inside the body.
Once feelings of happiness and relaxation have returned, you'll be in a better position to examine your thoughts, feelings and bodily reactions to your fears. Today I felt helpless and overwhelmed by the very real threat of climate change. Yet, instead of remaining trapped within a depressing state of inertia, I found that I could use physical movement as a means to psychologically get myself moving again. Now, I’m ready to take more meaningful action, such as monitoring and regulating my consumption habits and encouraging others to do the same.