If our thoughts, feelings and actions are locked in a response cycle, how about intervening in to this cycle at the level of actions? Making physical changes in the way we breathe, speak, stand etc. can have a big effect on how we feel Just try this:
Stand slumped over and flop your arms down towards your feel. Say ‘I feel great!’ Can you say it like you mean it? Now stand with feet hip width apart, level your pelvis and lengthen your spine. Lift your arms up straight above your head and say the words again. Do you notice a difference? The position of our body has a huge effect on our mood. Physical actions affect our feelings and our thoughts hugely, and they are so much easier to observe and change. Chi Running and Walking teaches alignment and relaxation of the body. In fact, these are the ways in which energy efficiency and injury prevention are achieved. So if you can make deliberate changes and corrections to the way your body is aligned and relaxed, this must have a huge effect on your thoughts and feelings – ie on your mood and stress levels.
Where do you carry tension and stress in your body? Is it your neck? shoulders? back? abdomen? Do you even know? Find out, and focus on relaxing these areas when you are walking and running. For many people (including me) it’s the shoulders, and these are very important indeed in the way they affect our running form. That brings us back to mindfulness again…. it’s this approach that makes Chi Running so different to anything other way of learning to walk or run. Chi Running and Walking are far more than just a biomechanical approach. Mindfulness and exercise are both recommended by medical professionals to help tackle stress. I’ve a hunch that if they knew more about Chi Running, then they might just take it up themselves!
Just my own thoughts and views – feel free to disagree!