Thursday, August 24, 2006

When You're Stuck, Move

“When I have a shock, I walk to metabolize it. Walking, seeking only to move and in moving “move” something through, I often come to an entirely different idea.”
—Julia Cameron, The Right to Write

I’m a firm believer in physically moving when I feel mentally “stuck” or stressed. During exercise, not only do I find that my mood increases with the release of endorphins, but my body feels more alive with the increased oxygen intake. I also feel more able to calmly process any problems I seem to be having.

A friend of mine, a high school teacher, described a “walking it off” method many schools are employing to help with student behavior problems. Instead of sitting in an office or in detention, a student may, for example, take a walk around the track with a school counselor. By walking, the troubled student is able to “cool off” and perhaps even process his or her issues while simultaneously physically moving through the problems via walking. I use walking in a similar way, and I find that I often feel a greater sense of clarity after a good walk around the block.

Try this: The next time you feel stuck -- whether mentally stuck on a project or idea or emotionally stuck during an argument with your partner -- get up and move. Walk around the block, dance in your living room, stretch, jump up and down. Get your blood moving and follow this new flow to a place of better understanding and clarity.

1 comment:

Origami Nightingale said...

Thank you for your post, Ned. I was able to fix the comment issue and have included your message below.

How lovely that your walk after work was so therapeutic. It's powerful to see how far you've traveled, too!

I love the idea of physically gaining a new perspective when I feel stuck, too. In college, I took a course called, "Dreams, Imagination, and Creativity," and one of our assignments was to walk a different way to class every day in order to "see anew" and gain another perspective.

I'm curious what those towers you observed made you think about. Were they oppressive or physically unattractive? Or something else entirely?


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Ned said...

Welcome to your new blog incarnation. Tried to comment on the movement posting, but no way to!

I used to live about a 20-minute walk from work, and it was such a nice transition between work and home to have that walk.

One year I lived a 15-minute walk, 30-minute train ride and 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive from work. When I got off the train you could see the big towers that tower over the square where the school is, and while I always said I hated seeing them, I think also I liked see how far I'd travelled away from work.