The pandemic came as a need for humanity to stop, a response to an overdose of power, of production and consumption, of waste, of mankind activity.
A forced break from our hyperactive, hyper-productive lives where our emotions invaded and exposed us. Emotions of dissatisfaction, anguish, and on many occasions anxiety or sadness, mixed with boredom that for some people resulted unbearable.
Those who managed to succeed over discomfort, found unprecedented opportunity to slow down. As distractions from the outside world were eliminated, and space that may have not been previously noticed was finally found, we were given the chance to introspect and observe which aspects of life were in harmony, and which were not. A chance to rebuild relationships with ourselves and our surroundings, a start-over point to heal the inner energy and the way we channelled it to the outside, a rediscovery of the essence of life.
“I felt a bit trapped at the beginning, but then I found new ways of release and emphasized the connection with myself with meditation and music. I grew up much more as a human being during this lockdown than the last three - four years of my life, before I completely ignored my real emotions.”
Toni, Support and training senior specialist, 39.
A few days ago I was told that when a bird is in the middle of the turbulence of an aeroplane, its instinct is to fold its wings for a few seconds to resist the blow with the least possible damage. We have done something similar these days, we have stopped mid-flight, and now it’s time to open our wings again. But in which direction do we want to start flying?
Rocío Carmona, La Vanguardia, 05/20.
This blackout in the story of humanity is giving birth to a new current of thought, behaviour, and relationships. These are the first steps into a more conscious state where the essential is questioned and revalued, leading to simpler lives, open to the possibilities of the present moment and full connectivity between mind and body.
Physical flow has a direct beneficial impact on mental health and vice versa. Body and mind are not separate entities, they are connected and ensure the correct functioning of one another.
Just as food nourishes the physical body and mind, movement will directly enrich our psyche and vice versa.
Bill Gates paces back and forth whilst thinking about something, it helps him organize his ideas.
Stephen King came up with many of his stories whilst driving, the constant-paced passing scenery stimulates his imagination.
Jack Dorsey wakes up to early meditation followed by a 6-mile jog, this sets a clear mind for a new day.
A 2010 Swedish study on classical pianists described how the musicians who reached full immersion showed lower heart rates and deeper breathing as well as the activation of facial muscles that enable smiling.
Spark, a book written by John Ratey in 2008, discusses the connections between exercise and the brain. Backed by science, the book goes through many emanations on the connections between how our way of moving impacts our thinking.
“What it means is that you have the power to change your brain. All you have to do is lace up your running shoes. Exercise is medicine.”
In fact, exercise supplies brain cells with oxygen, promotes the production of new brain cells, and aids in creating new synapses. It also triggers the release of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor known as BDNF. (Kesslak, Patrick, So, Cotman, & Gomez-Pinilla, 1998). This natural substance enhances cognition by boosting a neuron’s ability to communicate with other neurons.
Furthermore, movement increases energy, reduces stress, and calms mind, body and soul.
Research proofs that brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which energize and elevate mood, are stimulated when doing exercise. (Chaouloff, 1989). In addition, investigation links movement to improved memory and decreased likelihood of depression. (Kempermann, 2002).
Mental and body flow lead our bodies to a state of ‘stillness in motion’. A condition that relates to the mind being in a present, aware state of rest while the body is in motion and vice versa.
“The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest.”
Bruce Lee, Martial Artist
This state includes efficiency, smoothness and peace, but goes beyond each of those aspects. Actually, ‘stillness in motion’ is most common at an easy pace, but it can also happen at extremely high intensities, such as sprinting.
Stillness in motion often includes the illusion that you are stationary and the world is flowing around you. You get a sense of freedom, timelessness and relaxation that invades the self whilst negative emotions and distractions disappear. You are fully present in time and space, aware of how well you are performing, but at the same time isolated from feeling.