Movement and posture can increase our self-awareness and affect our emotions and the way we feel about ourselves
Here there is guidance on facilitating movement and posture experiences that can promote emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Scroll down to read about the benefits of movement.
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The body is a route through which we can engage with, know and feel connected to ourselves, others and the world around us
Movement that is carried out with care and within safe boundaries can help with:
- Calming the mind and body
- Physical health
- Stimulating brain chemicals that elevate mood
- Thinking, learning, and memory
- Interacting with others and the world
- Communication and expression
- Rest and sleep
- Improving alertness and increasing energy
- Reducing stress
Maximising physical health creates the optimum conditions for mental health. Movement affects all systems of our body, from circulation to digestion to metabolism to immunity. With movement, our bodies regulate hormone activity, detoxify and respire. Movement promotes chemical changes in the body and stimulates neural pathways which promote healing and boost immunity. Studies have demonstrated that regular activity builds muscle and bone, reduces fat, increases aerobic capacity, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.
Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.
The health benefits of movement are not limited to the body
Movement also supports brain function by supplying oxygen to brain cells and enhances cognition by boosting neural connectivity. For example, studies show that children learn better, behave better and display better social skills when they have regular opportunities for movement throughout the day
Movement and posture can cultivate greater awareness of our body, of who we are, the way we are seen by others and the way we interact
When you move or touch a part of the body you increase connections to the brain and increase awareness of that area thereby developing proprioception, which is our sense of where our body is in space.
One of the clearest lessons from contemporary neuroscience is that our sense of ourselves is anchored in a vital connection with our bodies.
Bessel Van Der Kolk
Posture can affect mood and mood can be altered by changing posture
Good posture, which is upright and ‘unslumped’ has been associated with higher self-esteem, less social fear and fewer negative emotions. Good posture can also increase testosterone, which makes us feel more confident and decrease cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Sitting in a collapsed position makes it more likely that negative thoughts and memories will arise, while sitting in an upright position makes gives rise to more positive thoughts and memories.
The body always leads us home … if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling.