Sometimes it feels like a topic is stalking me. Recently it’s been Movement. These little movement nuggets popped up over the course of the last few weeks so I put them together to make a post. (This is my pre-emptive excuse/apology incase this post ends up a disjointed load of hoohaa!)
I have a different singing teacher at the moment. My regular teacher is away. I’ve actually started the singing part of the lessons with the covering teacher, previous lessons were singing foundation exercises. The other day she said ‘You’re so enthusiastic when you sing’. Hmmmm I thought, is that her way of saying she can’t sing but she gives it a good go? Or is she referring to the little jig that accompanies a song I really enjoy singing? Norah Jones – Cold Cold Heart does not elicit this response. I struggle with her. Her voice is like a hot cup of Horlicks, laced with sleeping tablets – a soporific drone which should be researched as an insomnia cure….or a torture method.
Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man does make my toes tap. I dance around because the music moves my feet. I can’t help it. In fact I struggle to understand those who are not moved, literally or emotionally by music. Even in the case of Norah Jones, at least she provokes some sort of reaction.
This jiggling around is me expressing my joy of singing, through movement.
Happy Happy = dance. Unhappy = can we finish now.
Having had several very unpleasant digestive events since being on the road, I now tend to be obsessed with all things tummy related. I’ve just finished a book called Gut by Giulia Enders (Movement related on multiple levels…). In amongst a very many interesting things about our digestive system, she refers to Daniel Wolpert; medical doctor, neuroscientist and engineer. He believes the reason we have a brain is so we can move. In his words:
“I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.”
I love a good TED talk and here is Daniel Wolpert’s TED talk on the brain and movement.
The reason Giulia Enders includes this theory in her Gut book is that the only other organ that is as complex as the brain is the gut. In fact it’s actually called the ‘gut brain’. I swear! The gut is amaaaazing! Google it!
Last week I attended a talk by an occupational therapist, here in Mumbai. The purpose of this talk was to coincide with the beginning of school and to educate parents on how they could ease the stress of intensive learning for their children. I don’t have children but it sounded interesting and it was in a neighbour’s house. Plus indian hospitality is epic.
There were several things which the occupational therapist said that were very interesting:
- The average concentration span of a person is equal to their age in minutes. (I don´t know how that changes in elderly people – this was a talk about kids remember) But I can say that this is about right for me. Any significant time after that ‘golden number’ and I start re-reading the same lines and start foraging for a snack.
- The generation that are growing up with touch technology and computer usage as the norm, are missing out on a lot of developmental skills. They can lack the fine motor skills which come from using your hands to write, to pick up bugs in the grass and to separate the peas from the rest of the food on the plate. They have very agile forefingers but can they ride a bike? They can process images and information on-screen at a much faster rate than older generations but in turn need this tech speed to wind down and relax. She said only time will tell if there’ll be long term issues with the tablet generation. Add to this the intensive education systems in schools and she said she certainly sees many children with problems now.
- However, she said,the best way to help de-stress the brains of these overloaded children was to get them to MOVE! Yep, good old fashioned get up and have a run around. Not a tennis lesson or a PE class just free movement. When the brain is having difficulty with something, for example a Maths problem, she said the best way to diffuse the situation was to do something physical to distract the mind; sit on a medicine ball, squeeze a ball in your hands, get up and walk around. I HATED maths. Talking about it brings back the anxious feelings of having to answer a maths question in class, knowing that I couldn’t do it. ‘What would happen?’ she asked me…’I would fidget’ I said. ‘Aha!’ she said ‘that was your body trying to diffuse the stress of the situation’. Moving around diverts the attention of the brain and can actually help with concentration.
I can see it with the H when he’s working from home. When he’s stuck on a something, he goes for a ‘ponder walk’. He wanders round the house. A little while later he’ll be back in his office working away. When I’m writing and starting to flag, there’s nothing like a little jump around to clear the mind, put a smile on my face and re-energise the creative juices. In fact, I need very little reason to jump around and have a boogie round the living room. In honour of the Notting Hill Carnival which was this past weekend and a regular feature in my youth, I have been mostly dancing around to this.
So there it is, a few interesting tidbits on movement and a little food for thought. What is your de-stresser movement? If you don’t have one maybe you should try one. I’m sure uncorking a bottle of wine is an acceptable movement. In fact I’ll give them all a go and see if they work for me too. Answers on a postcard….no,.not really, just reply below!