Coaching for Creatives | Move Your Body

CoachingCreatives_MoveYourBody

While I was in life coach training with Martha Beck I learned something that has forever changed how I move through life and it was this:

Emotions live in the body.

It seems really simple and perhaps obvious. But think about it – when you’re scared, stressed, worried, excited, anxious, in love, happy – how do you experience those emotions in your body? I find that most of my feelings live in my gut – but sometimes I feel them down in my tailbone or up in my shoulders. And I’ve found that if I don’t move them through my body they can get stuck – which usually results in long-term funks or some sort of meltdown that involves sobbing into my pillow. Now, crying is a legitimate release of emotions* but I’ve found a less traumatic way to move emotions through my body is simply by moving my body, on the daily.

A pattern I’ve uncovered with all the creatives I’ve done one-on-one creative coaching with is that they all want more time to move their body – whether that’s at the gym, a walk in the park, or spending some quality time on the yoga mat. It can be hard to justify the time it takes to move your body when you have important deadlines to meet and emails to answer but I think making time to move your body daily is the most important thing you can do for your creativity. You’re not only moving unproductive emotions out of your body, moving your body allows creativity to move through you.

I’d like to invite you for the next week to tune-in and notice where in your body you feel your emotions. And then I challenge you to spend just one hour a day, every day, moving your body. Make it a non-negotiable priority. Schedule it on your calendar (during work hours is even better!) and make it happen. Take note of how it changes your attitude, productivity, and creativity.

What is your favorite way to move your body? Have you noticed an impact on how it affects your mood or creativity? The mind/body connection is one I’m going to continue to explore over the next few months – so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*P.S. I love what Tonya Leigh writes about the beauty of crying here.

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P.P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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  1. Mo

    RUNNING. Hands-down.

    I don’t do it as much as I used to, but when I was training for a marathon my junior year in college I excelled in my classes and managed my time better to allow for runs. But it was more than that. My thoughts were clearer, my dreams were bigger, and my creativity felt boundless. I know more about myself when I run than I do when sitting still.

    Same goes for my (too few) stints of yoga. The peace-of-mind that follows a solid yoga session is unreal; I hardly knew my brain can be that quiet and yet my mind open to so many things around me.

    • All of my running friends talk about that zen high they get! I’ve never been able to get past the “oh god, what am I doing? I can’t breathe!” thing that happens in the first mile or two.

      I’ve found that rock climbing and spin cycle class at the YMCA, of all things, gets me in the flow!

  2. Running, hiking, skating, swimming… anything works for me. Even if for 20 min a day (or less). If I do nothing but to sit in front of a computer, my productivity level drops -and so does my mood.

  3. Sandra

    Yes! I find that if I don’t move my body regularly, I get stuck in my head too.much.

    For me it’s spinning (I need to sweat and work hard) and also yoga (a different way of getting into my body). And walking my daughter to and from school (twice a day for a total of 80 minutes of walking).

    I can’t tell you how many times my unconscious sorts out some creative idea while I’m sweating and working away.

  4. Kai

    Weightlifting and running. I used to poo-poo running until I forced myself to do it for a few months. Eventually, when I could run further than a mile without being in major distress, I began to understand the appeal. For me it’s a whole lot more peaceful than walking, since the pace forces some of the idler thoughts from your mind.
    Weightlifting is wonderful because it forces all the thoughts from your mind, and I always have a sense of accomplishment afterword. Plus all the niggling things that seemed so awful and big before feel much more manageable and small after throwing some heavy weights around.

  5. Julie

    I think any physical activity helps shed the stresses of the day, but running especially helps me work out problems (creative or otherwise) without the pain and frustration of setting aside time to specifically try to work through them (and usually end up still stumped and distracted by Pinterest or whatever). I like to zone out in gym classes also, but it’s not as easy when you’re supposed to be following the instructor’s moves. Running requires little enough coordination that I can lose myself in my thoughts, which is a double benefit because then I can log miles without looking at my watch as frequently!

  6. Aluna

    Last year I went on a health kick and fell madly in love with yoga. It had such an effect on my whole being, let alone my productivity and creativity. Unfortunately, like most healthy living decisions, it slipped by the way side and lately I’ve really been feeling “in my head”. I think it’s time to dust off the mat again!

  7. Jess

    I love dance. I did belly dancing officially for two years, but now I do those DVDs at home or I zumba. There’s just something about that intersection of mind + body + creativity that I just feel whole and totally celebrated when I do it. In between those dancing days, I’ve started adding kickboxing/strength to develop the strong feminine as well as the sensual feminine.

  8. Saara

    Yoga and hiking in the woods are my grounding times. Normally in the summer they get pushed off to only a weekly practice because of the crazy schedule, but this year I’m scheduling and prioritizing my health. I learned last summer that I won’t survive our season unless I take the time. An hour or so a day is much easier to make work than 2 weeks of illness at the peak of chaos.

    It’s not woo-woo as much as it is preventative medicine.

  9. Lynn

    I’m 55 years old, and I’m trying to really pay attention to what it means to move my body! As people get older, I see so many medical issues that could have been prevented by movement. I started out walking, I’m doing a little running, I bike and I do some weightlifting. Oh and a few of my favorite yoga poses to keep my back and legs nimble. I’m fighting aging through movement!

  10. siribe

    Definitely heavy weightlifting… I’m forced to focus on just the movements I have to make before lifting (for safety). Today I worked on deadlifts: get into squat position, hook-grip the bar, keep spine neutral, pin shoulders back, take a deep breath, hold it, push off, keep the bar close to the body during your lift, breathe out, bring the bar back down… and I’m spent! But, I also feel clear-headed, like now that I got through THAT, I can tackle the rest of my to-do’s, projects, etc. no problem! Bonus: my 1 record max deadlift went from 205 to 215lbs, I’d say it was a productive Monday :-)

  11. Natasha

    That’s an amazing infographic Sera! I wonder how Victor Hugo managed to write such heavy tomes given the amount of time he spent courting his mistress! LOL!

    I recently realised that if I don’t move, my mental clarity and ability to step back from life and take a breath go out the door. However I’m still currently struggling to actually MOVE. I’m far too stuck in my head right now and – irony of ironies – I know all it will take to get rid of the cobwebs will be a brisk walk around the block, I’m still not doing it. Gah!

    I have also found that Pilates is what makes my body sing. All that stretching and movement, I feel so strong and flexible afterwards. And the studio I go to at the moment has such a zen atmosphere – I love it!

    I would love to get into yoga as well, except that I have not been able to find an instructor/studio that I like for years – I had an absolutely amazing instructor the very first time I did yoga and my experiences since then have been uncomfortable and disappointing *sigh* I’ll keep looking though :)

  12. Ramona

    I totally agree with you, Kathleen. My dad always used to say we should take at least 30 minutes everyday moving our body, preferably outside. I bike over an hour every day. It is my time to get any negative feelings out, focus on what really matters and think my life through. It is my number one place for creativity.

  13. Moving your body is serious MAGIC for creativity. 2 years ago, I did my first 40 day yoga challenge, and I was surprised to find myself on fire with creative energy. I had ideas coming out my ears, and I absolutely had to write every day. Magic.

  14. Deb Charlap

    Morning run before work today FTW! Thank you for the reminder and inspiration, Kathleen :)

  15. Kayla

    I work out nearly every day but it never fails that I get all my wellness blog post ideas during my work out. I’ve been known to pull my bike over into a field so I can take iPhone notes or stop running and have Siri take down my ideas. So amazing how that flow happens when we unblock it through moving our bods!

  16. Jovana

    I agree! A year ago I started working out daily and I still keep it going. I’d probably go insane if I wasn’t. Only time when I allow myself to not workout is when I’m literally tied to bed sick (stomach flu etc)

    Might not always have time for full hour, but doing some is better than none. It still makes you feel better! I really do recommend it!

  17. The grown up answer? I love going on hikes. They’re challenging, the scenery is beautiful, and the fresh air is a much-needed change from stuff office air.

    The real answer? Dancing around my apartment to terrible pop music. It’s quick, easy, and fun…just don’t tell anybody!

  18. Sarah E

    The principles you describe are the same that govern the philosophy of the chakra system. My yoga certification class talked in depth about this the other month. My teacher said that chakras can be described as “yogic psychology.” She said every time she lent out her copy of Eastern Body, Western Mind to psychologist friends, she had to buy a new copy because they always love it and keep it. I’m working my way through the book now, it has a lot of great insight.

  19. Definitely agree that emotions live in the body! I actually attribute Bikram yoga in helping me control my emotions (sometimes!) and also in achieving many of my internal & external successes in the past few years. It’s amazing what a committed exercise routine will do for your body and your mind. (Whatever exercise it happens to be!) This year I’ve been trying out vinyasa, spin, and reformer pilates and I love the way that each one makes me feel! I also love the challenge of trying a new exercise class. If you can push your body, you can also push your mind farther. :)

  20. Naomi

    Running for me — hands down. And yoga, when I shuuush myself long enough.

  21. Jen

    My coach training was with Martha Beck, too! I think about the Body Compass exercise and notice where my emotions are in my body all the time now thanks to her. I notice my not great feelings are in my chest and sometimes stomach, but my awesome feelings are also in my chest, it’s just a much different sensation.

    As far as how I like to move my body…I’m 37 weeks pregnant, so there aren’t many ways that feel that comfortable anymore. Walking and stretching are still up there for me, and I’m looking forward to getting back to other stuff that feels good after the baby is here and I’m somewhat recovered. Walking is always great, though, and I’ve had many a creative idea come to me while walking at a beautiful spot around a lake near my house.

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