EMHH Episode 42: Movements that Make You Happier and HealthierDec 19, 2022
Want to move with greater ease AND feel happier too? You're in luck! Feldenkrais Method movement lessons not only help improve posture, flexibility and balance, but may help you cultivate greater happiness, optimism and wellbeing too.
In this episode, Mary explains how doing Feldenkrais movements can help you feel better about yourself AND give you the tools to keep improving each and every year!
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Would you like to learn some simple movements that can make you happier as well as healthier? I thought so. So l let me give you a little back right now, cuz you're thinking, you might be thinking, how could these simple movements help make me happier as well as healthier? Well, there's a, a happiness researcher by the name of Shawn Achor,
and he gave this really great TED talk, by the way, TEDx talk some time ago. And it's been viewed by like tens of millions of people. And I'll make sure to put a link in the show notes. But anyway, Sean is not only has great information, but he's really funny in how he delivers it. So definitely worth, worth watching his talk,
listening to it. But one of the things he spoke about was that if you do something like 15 minutes of fun cardio, it can help you be more optimistic. And he said the reason for that is when you do this fun cardio, it gives your brain evidence that your, your behavior matters. Okay? So in thinking about that, and that totally makes sense to me,
understanding how the brain works to some degree, I can say, yeah, that makes sense. But then I thought about how the work that I teach the Feldenkrais Method, how that uses these incredibly effective movement sequences that are non habitual, really get the attention of the nervous system and really engage your brain in a different way. Really provide evidence to your brain that your actions matter,
that you can improve how you feel, how you move and, and even how you think. So that is why I say that these movement lessons, right, these simple but very profound movement lessons that anyone of any age or physical ability can do, can help you be happier as well as healthier. Healthier. Because when you move better, right, you feel better and you literally can move.
And so you can, you can exercise your body in different ways and you can ride your horse better and all that good stuff, but this is really, really important. Okay? It changes your outlook on life because you start to realize that improvement is not only possible, but it's probable. So these lessons, so this is what differentiates it from 15 minutes of fun cardio.
Again, nothing wrong with cardio, cardio is awesome. However, when you're doing something like the Feldenkrais Method, which is very much about improving your ability to a, attend to yourself, to pay attention, to improve how you move and feel, right? That to me is a higher level of engagement with the nervous system. You're not like just,
you know, doing some fun little run or dance or something like that just to get your heart rate up. This is very intentional and can totally change your outlook on life because you're giving your brain really ample evidence, lots of proof that you can improve. And again, not that it's not only possible to improve, but probable, right? You're, you're giving your brain these felt experiences,
especially when you were talking about people who do the Feldenkrais Method lessons more than once, right? It's not a one and done deal, it's, it's a practice, okay? And that's why the people in my, my online coaching program, my membership move with your horse, it's, we do regular Feldenkrais lessons together because the improvements are so powerful.
So you realize that you can control how you move, how you feel, how you think. The other thing is your creativity improves as well. And that has a lot to do with when you get out of your movement ruts, like we all have these, many of us anyway, have these bad movement habits and we've been doing them for years. We don't even know we're doing them.
Maybe we collapse one side of our ribcage, we stand heavier on one leg, we overuse, you know, put more weight on one seat bone. We, you know, overuse our neck in a certain way. These are movement habits that are detrimental and they cause us a lot of wear and tear damage and fatigue and pain and interfere with our ability to do things like riding.
So once we realize that we can change that, and the Feldon crisis method helps you change that, and it's like your creativity also expands because you start to actually experience the world in a different way. Your, your sense is actually taken information differently. So it's amazing when you change, you know, something where you think it's kind of basic, like your movement habits,
it opens up this whole new world. So people often become much more creative after a Feldenkrais lesson and things like that. So it's really, really fun. So again, I just wanna emphasize that especially as we go into, if you're listening to this live, we're approaching the new year and this fresh, you know, slate, kind of clean slate idea.
It's always fun to like, make major changes in the new year. So being happier, being optimistic is such a predictor of your quality of life and even your, your, your health and wellbeing. I mean, they've shown that this is really, really powerful. Shawn Achor talks about this as well, that it's on par with, you know, obesity and smoking and things like that,
that we think about, you know, their predictors of our mortality, you know, our, our overall health. But being happy and optimistic, that's actually on the same level as those other health metrics that we often think about. So this is really important for you. So how, how do you, how do you harness this? Well, the first thing I would start with is to change your identity.
Now that may sound funny. What do you mean change my identity? This doesn't involve, you know, changing your driver's license or social security number, anything like that. What it means is seeing yourself differently, seeing yourself as somebody who is committed to improving your movement and your wellbeing. That, that knowing that there are tools there that you can help make your life better each and every year.
That your movement, your, your flexibility, your balance, all those wonderful things, your confidence, right, can get better every year. You can refine the way you sit, stand, move, ride your horse, et cetera. So you want to give your brain evidence of this because once you decide to take on this new identity, right, you can start to maybe visualize this more ideal future self,
but, but have it like feel in the present. Like you're, you're, you know, this is, this is what who you are. Now. You're a person who's curious, you know, about how you can improve your movement. Your brain will start to align your actions with this new identity. So if you think of it this way, if your identity is one of being a smoker,
right? Say you smoke cigarettes, if that's your identity, your brain will look for opportunities throughout the day for you to have a smoke, right? You might wake up like wanting a smoke. Yes, we know there's also like certain addictive qualities that you might be be yearning for a smoke, right? But there's also your brain is like, I'm a smoker,
right? That's kinda like in the background. Now, if you're a non-smoker, I've never smoked. If you're a non-smoker, it doesn't occur to you to look for opportunities to smoke, right? You don't have to make that decision, right? And so I never think about, well, should I smoke or should I not smoke? No. Cause it doesn't come up.
It's not my identity. My identity is a non-smoker. So my actions, my thoughts align with that. So my, another identity I have is as a horse woman. So my, you know, my brain has always got the horse on the mind, right? And I imagine you're the same, right? We're thinking about, or horse is, right?
We're thinking about our particular horse or how we can help other people's horses or whatever the case may be. Or we need to buy feed, or, you know, or, or making sure our schedule allows for opportunities for us to spend our time with our horse. So again, if that's your identity, your brain is going to look to align your actions with that identity.
So if you want to identify as what I call a mover, someone who's really interested in moving well throughout your entire life and movement, writing involves movement, okay? Small movements are still movement, right? How you even balancing, right? That's constantly doing like little micro movements. It's not a static thing. So life is movement, right? And Moshe Feldenkrais,
the man who originated the Feldenkrais Method used to say, you know, movement is life without movement. It's like, you know, life is unthinkable. So it's really, really important for your overall wellbeing to move well, right? Physically and emotionally, it makes a huge impact. So if you're a mover, you know, you're committed to improving how you move and how you feel,
okay? And this, this can involve other things as well. So as a, as a mover, right? So I, I affectionately refer to the students in my move with your horse online program as movers, right? They also know that they're committed to helping their horses improve their movement. So they learn these hands-on methods that I have where they can help their horses feel better and move more efficiently,
more easily, again, at any age, at any level of activity, right? They can improve that. So whether they have older horses, younger, very athletic horses, really young horses, maybe fos or horses haven't been started yet, right? They can improve the way those horses move and feel and the connection between them and their horses. So it's really,
really cool. So remember that identity you have, right? Can apply to all kinds of different things. But if you're a mover, you know, you think about that helping not only yourself, but helping others move easily as well. Your horses, your dogs, et cetera. And the other thing I would say is to recognize that the best years are in front of you,
not behind you. So again, when you identify as someone who, who knows, they can improve how they move and how they feel, right? And, and that, that it can encourage that sense of curiosity and creativity. You know, your best years can be in front of you, right? It's like you are really empowered, and this is where this optimism really comes in,
right? You're giving your brain ample evidence, proof that you can keep improving and growing with each year, which is really, really cool. And this is, this is optimism, right? You can be very hopeful. So even if God forbid you have an injury or an illness of some kind or some kind of processes going on, some, you know,
you can take at least some degree of improvement into your own hands. It doesn't mean that you ignore medical advice or anything like that. This is not a medical approach, but you know that there is a lot under your control, right? So the more you give yourself this proof by doing Feldenkrais movement lessons and check the show notes for, for opportunities to get free lessons,
please, it, it's a really beautiful thing because again, your brain will get reinforced that, okay, this is what we can do, okay? This is who we are, this is what we can do, and life can get better and better. Super, super optimistic. So you get this felt experience of it, you really live it, you live the improvements.
So your brain will want more and more of that, okay? So, you know, and being a a curious person who loves to learn is really a gift. It's a gift. So you wanna encourage that. And the Feldon Christ method is all about learning. It's all about being curious. So curious about yourself, about, in my case, the way I teach it is I also connect it to your horses.
I also have a dog program. So people who are into dogs, they, they get the benefit of that as well. I also have a book about how you can help yourself and your dog. So check the show notes. I I wanna make this short so you have time to listen to it and like let it sink in. But let me just recap real quick.
You know, think about the identity you want to have. Do you want to be a person who is curious and engaged in learning and improving, right? Maybe you wanna take on the, the, the identity of what I call a mover. Someone who's committed to improving their movement and their wellbeing each and every year. And then realize that the best years are in front of you,
not behind you. So you wanna create your future from like this, this wonderful future self, not from your past. Okay? So this is really, really important stuff. So as we go into the new year, if you're listening to this live or wherever you're listening to it, know that life can get better and better for you and for those around you.
And Shawn Achor talks about this as well, that when we improve our, our level of happiness, of optimism, we also kind of raise the level of those around us. And we all know how our horses pick up on how we feel, right? What we're think, you know, emotionally, right? They will pick up on this as well.
So when you, when you are happier, when you're more optimistic, your horse will feel that and respond appropriately. So I wish you all the very, very best in the new year and in all the years ahead. So remember, check out the show notes if you want free resources, and if you want an extra special class that I taught recently,
if you want the audio recording of that, please email me directly at [email protected]. I read all your emails and I love hearing from you. And let me know what you'd like to improve with your movement. Do you have aches and pains you know, do you have a particular issue you would like help with? And maybe I'll be able to do an episode just for that.
So thank you so much for Joining me. I so appreciate you. And if you're listening to this live, have a wonderful holiday season and I can't wait to share more and more with you. So here's to better and better years every year. Thank you so much. Bye for now.