Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Movement and Embodied Cognition

Many people ask me, once they’ve worked with me or with one of our programs, how they can make this experience last.

The experience they are talking about is the feeling of calm, the feeling of being “lighter”, the feeling of being able to move more gracefully, with much less effort.

They also find that their thinking is much more clear after doing a “movement lesson.”

Recent research on embodied cognition is showing that memories and experiences are multimodal and are spread throughout the body.

What does that mean?

It means that thoughts that reside in the mind are only one component of an experience that includes an entire constellation of perceptions, movements, and sensations that make up the experience.

It means that the communication that takes place between the mind and body isn’t so one directional as was once thought (with the mind only controlling the body) – and because cognition is “embodied”, the body exerts a powerful influence on shaping a person’s thoughts.

Remember, as we’ve discussed before, you take action (whatever that action is – whether it’s engaging with a customer, lifting a patient, or solving a problem) based on your self-image. And your self-image is made up of four components: thinking, feeling, emoting (showing emotion) and moving.

So, by engaging in this movement re-education process, you begin to “integrate” more of who you are into what you do. And when you integrate more of who you are, you become better able to:

- Think more clearly
- Feel and Sense more accurately
- Exhibit finer variations of emotion (you will no longer “lose your cool” as easy)
- And Move in a much more effective way (which will give you more energy and vitality throughout your day)

So what are you waiting for? If you want to take advantage of this two-way communication between our body and our mind, there are several options available. There are programs specifically for nurses, for improving posture, and for improving back, shoulder, and neck functioning.

This is also incredibly powerful for children with special needs, who often-times have incredible difficulty making sense of (and integrating) their outside world.

Our brains are powerful organs that we are only beginning to tap into.

To answer the initial question of how someone makes these experiences last, you soak it in.

You feel the feelings of what it’s like to be “organized” like this. How do your shoulders feel? How does your back feel? How are you moving? How is your breathing? How is your thinking?

Paying attention to all of the subtleties you discover during a movement lesson will allow you to recreate them whenever you wish.

So if you find yourself stressed out, high strung, or so tense that your movement is restricted – remember what it felt like after your lesson. By anchoring your experience with as many details about it as possible, you will be able to recreate that feeling by simply remembering what it felt like.

And as you do this more and more often, you will discover that you will develop more control of how you take action by simply tapping into the communications that take place between your body and your brain.

How are you tapping into the power of your brain?

Contact us and we’ll provide for you a free “movement lesson” for you to experience for yourself


Chad Estes
Movement Specialist

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