A New Year . . . new resolutions . . . new possibilities! A time to shed what no longer suits us and adopt new, healthy patterns and set the stage for a new and improved you.
This is not always so easy to do. As creatures of habit, we make resolutions and then we break resolutions; healthy lifestyle changes revert back to old, familiar patterns. One of the reasons this can be so difficult is that our bodies often respond to change unfavorably. Comfortable and settled in our well established patterns, we might feel some discomfort when we attempt to change. For example, we may experience muscle tension, resistance, avoidance, and the feeling of being stuck. Additionally, our bodies and minds are connected and, as a result, these feeling states are heightened. Fortunately, there are some things that we can do to ease these transitions and support our desire for healthy change.
What if there was a way to move towards healthy change that was within your control?
Dance/movement therapy (DMT), based on the principle of mind-body connection, can be an effective and powerful way for individuals to cope with change and establish and maintain healthy patterns for the New Year. Dance/movement therapy, facilitated by a credentialed therapist, offers a safe, supportive space in which participants may express their thoughts and feelings creatively and work through the tension and resistance that has been stored in their bodies. Moreover, participation in DMT fosters healthy patterns and strengthens sense of self.
Outside of an actual dance/movement therapy session, there are still benefits of listening to one’s body. One thing to try is a simple breathing exercise. To feel more balanced and accept change more openly, try focusing your attention on your breath, taking slow, sustained breaths and notice what part of your body feels like moving. Then, as if slowly peeling off layers of something that you are wearing, begin stretching and extending your limbs while continuing to focus on your breathing. Maybe even state an intention out loud to bring more awareness to your movements (ie: “I easily and gracefully accept change” “I am healthy and strong” “I am open to new and healthy lifestyle changes.”) It is important to remember that the acceptance of change does not always come so easily and may not happen over night. Sometimes, bringing awareness to the discomfort associated with change may bring some self-acceptance as you continue moving towards health and well being. If you are moving in the right direction, positive change is just around the corner.
- Berrol, C.F. (1992). The neurophysiologic basis of the mind-body connection in dance/movement therapy. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 14(1), 19-29.
- Levy, F.J. (2005). Dance/movement therapy; A healing art (2nd rev ed.). Reston, VA: National Dance Association, an Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
- Schmais, C. (1985). Healing processes in group dance therapy. American Journal of Dance Therapy, 8(1),17-36.