Cultivating Creativity Through Movement

Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert tells us that the brain evolved not to think or feel, but to control movement.  Why?  Because it is through movement that we explore and interact with our environment and through these relationships learn about ourselves.  Yet, the demands of our life lead to a mechanistic, ritualistic repeated movement lifestyle that leaves us trapped neuromuscularly and emotionally in a state of sameness.  We experience the same forms of activity and the same sensations over and over again.

Impact of Repetition
Indeed, Albert Einstein was aware of the dangers of repetition.  He said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  If you are feeling sluggish or lacking in resiliency, then repetition may be your problem.  Repetition of movement can also impact our range of motion.  If we diminish the body’s ability to move, we diminish our ability for dynamic thought.

Adding Movement to Your Daily Routine
So, to get you started on a more flux, unstable and fluid state I have put together a very short to-do list which I hope you will practice during the next week.  These five easy ways will encourage you to interact with your environment in fresh ways that will boost your ability to adapt and respond creatively to daily challenges.

1. Move, move, move!  Recuperation is as important as exertion. Sitting at an office desk all day, or laying on the sofa all weekend is exertion if that is all you do.  It is physically and mentally tiring!  Get up and move around.  Recuperate by going for a walk, jumping on a trampoline, playing with your kids.

2. Change up your workout routine.  Include activities that are not only limited to the sagittal dimension (running, biking, fencing). Try yoga, zumba, swimming or even line dancing!

3. Bring awareness to your workouts.  Drawing your attention to the specific muscles that you are activating at any one point.  By doing this you invest more of yourself in the activity and bring a fuller awareness to the exercise.  Instead of blankly focusing outward you now draw your mindful attention inward.

4. Rearrange your work desk to encourage you to use more space around your body.  Our body is a three dimensional marvel, so don’t continually used it in a two dimensional way.  There is so much to be had by experiencing our back space and side space.  Have your stapler behind you, forcing you to reach back into a new space to get it.  Find a new, unusual place on your desk for your coffee mug.  Perhaps a spot that encourages you to reach across your midline to grab the mug.  Any small change in movement range and space can make a big difference to our emotional and creative states.

5. Stop and listen to your body.  Allow your focus to fall inward, become aware of your breath and the sensations within.  What is your body telling you about your state of mind in that moment?  Is your breath short, muscles tense?  Are you stressed, anxious or angry?  Unfortunately when we feel stressed our brain does not opt for creativity but safety.  By regularly practicing mindful awareness we can activate more responsive, adaptable behavior.

The Bottom Line
Repetitive movement creates a stable sameness feedback loop for our psychosomatic selves.  It over stabilizes us.  By incorporating new ways to move in our daily lives we will create a more fluid self, expanding and reorganizing our neural networks so that we are able to adapt more easily and think creatively.

Written by SHiFT Instructor and Guest Blogger, Samantha Parsons.  Aside from numerous degrees and a life filled with fitness, Samantha has established a business based upon movement therapy and leadership  coaching, check out her blog.