Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Overcome Brain Induced Lethargy

Yesterday, I was having a difficult time. There are reasons for this, yes, but we all know by now that it's not the reasons but our reactions to those reasons that create anxiety or lethargy or apathy or whatever particular demon holds you back from the life you are meant to live.

I get a combo reaction that I am sure is common: my anxiety gets so bad that it paralyzes me into lethargy.

I can clearly see what it is I need to be doing in order to feel better.

I can also clearly see that I am avoiding that thing intentionally so as not to feel better.

Oh, Brain, the trouble you cause!

I sat on the couch going from Twitter to Facebook to Gmail and back again, feeling this battle being waged between Brain and Body. Watching the whole thing with a mix of disgust and amusement.

I mean, it is something, isn't it, that I can watch this, that I am aware of it, that my Witness is present?

Eventually, as I knew it would, Body won. I got up and put on some music and just began. Slowly. Not expecting anything but a little movement.

That lack of expectation always ends with joyful, boundless, fully embodied dancing.

I sweated. I worked. I focused. I lost myself. I lost My Self. The negative brain chatter ceased.

Things got quiet.

I found myself. I found My Self.

As I always do when I am doing what I am Meant to Do.

This is the point where it can get rather exciting. Brain gets out of the way and becomes the Organ of Dreams & Imaginings that it is meant to be.

All of the oxygen and joy changes the chemistry of Brain.

Brain started pumping out messages and ideas; it coordinated my limbs in new ways; it activated hormones.

Body and Brain, once again, became Team Bliss.

Are you able to watch your resistance? Are you then able to overcome it? Or do you give in? Why?

(Photo of Toby and Lilly playing with abandon.)


Emma said...

Great photo. :)

I am able to watch my resistance and anxiety, but it definitely does not always help me. In fact, having that meta skill actually seems to hurt in some instances. Basically, I (and I bet you) can use that extra insight to explain to myself or others that this is what's going on, but these are the reasons for it and no, I cannot do _____ to address it, thank you. I think it may be too early in the morning for me to articulate this clearly.

Physical activity is definitely, definitely good for anxiety. Ah, yes!

I'm wishing you lessened anxiety today.

Laura Hegfield said...

love this Christine! And yes it is definitely "something", "something valuable" I would say to witness what is happening in our minds...stepping over that threshold from watching to taking an active role in changing a situation (if we can) sometimes feels like an ENORMOUS step...but often as you discovered it is just one tiny step...and then another and another...if we can stay with each step as we take it instead of looking way down to what we imagine might be the end of the dance we can become so overwhelmed that we become here's to one step at a time.

Happy New gentle step at a time.

epiphanygirl said...

Up since WELL before dawn, feeling trapped and crazed even though I should have been immersed in such bliss, all cozy in bed with Bear and Babe a two kitties too. The exciting new plans burn up into anxiety terrifyingly fast. Oh how fragile it has all suddenly become...

Lisa said...

Great post!

I see myself in what you wrote.

Only right now, I would describe it more as resting and waiting than resistance. I am letting go of so much ~ and welcoming a world of healing into my life. I am trusting the process of being present, paying attention, and waiting ~ listening to my body and spirit to know when the time for action comes. For now, the dreams are still taking shape in a quiet place deep in my soul.

(I must confess, though, I *do* wish I could come by your house for one of those awesomely fun dancing sessions!) :-D

differenceayearmakes said...

The knowing what I should do and yet not doing it - is a BIG challenge.

I recently began talking regularly with a health coach provided by my insurance company - and there is nothing, and I do mean nothing, they said that I didn't know or hadn't tried or at least knew I should do. Hmmm, maybe I should look into this work.

Anyway....I don't know what, or where, this heavy weight of lethargy comes from and don't really know what it takes to get rid of it. But I'm working on it.

I know times when I haven't carried it - and I'm looking to figure out what was different in the mix then.

One year, when I first began to exercise regularly (and I was 43 before I began formal exercise, yada yada you've heard the story) - I worked every morning for one full year - yes, every single day - 365! No skipping. I would roll out of bed and turn on an exercise program and work out for 30 minutes in my pjs. I'm not saying that every morning I was bundle of energy - there were days when I just sort of waved my arms and shuffled my feet. But I showed up EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I think the secret to success was that I got up and got moving before my brain could wake up and convince me this wasn't a good idea. No changing into the appropriate clothes or even brushing my teeth - just roll out, stumble in, turn it on, and begin to MOVE. Heck sometimes I'd be half through the half hour before I even knew what I was doing.

But I would get this positive rush throughout the day when I'd realize that I'd already gotten my exercise for the day completed. If I felt like more - great - if not I was good. And I think that helped get me up the next day ..and the next.

So things I know for (fairly) sure:

get moving before your brain knows you're awake

don't go getting "ready" for exercise, just get up and move (see above not letting your brain know you're awake)

just show up - even if you're only waving your arms and shuffling your feet - it still counts

And voila!

I'm finding this to be effective with my new "Begin the day as I intend to continue" practices I talked about.

I'm adding in a morning routine again, those videos I talked about or something else. I'm sure to stumble around for a while before I get the hang of it - but it works if I just follow the above.

Sometimes you just gotta sneak up on yourself - ESPECIALLY when you know too much.

Sallie Ann said...

I feel your anxiety, as I have just experienced a trying little event. I'm a deeply happy person, but sometimes things are really big and deep. It takes a bit to reconcile events and situations. Anyway, enough of the criptic speak. Have a wonderful, peaceful 2010. And you have so many who are inspired from your blog. Keep up the great work.

leel said...

i loved this post. thank you for your honesty. it really felt like you were speaking to me at some points. thanks for that. you really opened my eyes to some of the ways i *am* and i will be taking the time to observe even more, and judge myself so much less.

thank you!
and the kitties - so CA-ute.

Bethany said...

I am only just starting to have a witness (through lots of therapy). Who knew she was in there?
I love her. Thank God for her really. She represents health to me, to be able to step back and SEE at least what we are doing, the circles we are spinning around in.
And then the other thing that you did, got up and moved. So simple, yet sometimes the hardest thing.
Thanks for the reminder of what comes after. Dancing inside and out.
Struggling with this today. Bout to get UP and see what happens.

Emma said...

right on for listening to body wisdom and meditating in motion, dance-style.