Play

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I grew up in a very volatile angry household and from my earliest memories I don’t remember play, let alone deep play and the joy that I’ve seen in children’s faces playing. I grew up with a tv and stereo being my friends and magazines as my window to the world. I was a messed up kid from the war zone I called home and I didn’t make friends easily. I didn’t want them to know what went on at my house and I was never really allowed to go to anyone’s house often. So my bedroom was my sanctuary and when I did play, my play was imagining I had friends, or families like the few friends I had were blessed to have. So play was never joy for me, it always ended in having to come back to my all too real world. There was a huge disconnect. I grew up not even knowing how to play, really play where joy and laughter were the center of the world. But even the most well adjusted kids grow up and let day to day life, work, bills, etc… make them forget how to play.

Through a lot of healing and lately a lot of learning how to live my authentic self without fear and releasing that fear I realized that play was something I need to find. No matter how awkward that might feel (and it does), how scary it is is (it really is), I need to nurture that child within and allow her to have self expression. One of my biggest joys in life is just watching kids play. To hear their laughing and giggling. I’ve never laughed or giggled much (why so serious) but when I have it becomes so emotional I usually end up crying happy tears. And I instantly feel so good and so connected. So yeah, I need more of that and I need to give myself permission to feel it all. We all need more play, who couldn’t use a lil more.

Rev. Brien Egan CHt, CRM, CKRM is a certified hypnotherapist, a reiki master, karuna reiki master, pranic energy worker, EFT practitioner, life coach.  He manages and created: Just be: natural spiritual healing and wellness And is the director at Camp Now Brien is also a teacher and has had studies in Psychology/Special Education

I recently met someone who has become a mentor to me. His life in so many ways reflects what lies inside me. My soul recognizes his soul.  His name is Brien Egan. And besides all the rest of his credentials he and his beautiful kids and wife, love to play. In a few days I will actually begin Reiki Level 1 and  he will be my teacher and mentor. But just through knowing him he has reminded me that there is a part of me that still lies dormant or covered hiding secretly away. The child within me needs to thrive. It’s one of my biggest obstacles in life and on my path in life. 

Diane Ackerman wrote about the importance of “Deep Play” as an antidote to anxiety..

“Deep Play looks closely at the human saga, and consider how much of it revolves around play. Simple play, elaborate play, crude play, sophisticated play, violent play, casual play. Most animals play. Evolution itself plays with lifeforms. Whole cultures play with customs, ideas, belief systems, and fashions. But it’s a special caliber of play, deep play, that makes thrill-seeking understandable, creativity possible, and religion inevitable. Deep play awakens the most creative, sentient, and joyful aspects of our inner selves. More than anything else, our passion for deep play has made us the puzzling and resplendent beings we are.”

And Jason Silva spoke about her writing and his thoughts on Deep Play..

So my friends, let yourself play! It will reduce your stress and allow your creative self to thrive. Your tension will melt away and your inner child will  be nurtured and allowed to flourish!

Ways to begin to play:

😝Sports
😝Join a band or choir. Learn to play an instrument
😝Local theater
😝Game nights/weekend play day day
😝Play with your kids
😝Crafting
😝Pottery/Painting/Art
😝Cosplay
😝Volunteer for a youth program
😝Go out and blow bubbles
😝Build sand castles
😝Climb trees/mountains/zipline
😝Dance
😝Coloring Books
😝Jump in puddles
😝Sing

Add your favorite ways to play in the comments!!

Running out of my darkness

depression

 writer for New York Magazine wrote this article “How Running and Meditation Change the Brains of the Depressed” and exercise helping depression is something I knew was real but something when you’re slipping into that dark place, you forget.

I’m not a full fledged “runner” by any means, yet. But I know just lacing up my shoes and stepping out the door were some of the first moments I was reminded, I am alive and I breathe. So I’m thankful just for the training, for the ability to step out into nature and move forward. It was hard at first. I cried. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating a few times. But every day was just a tiny bit easier. Easier to live beyond the sadness, or despite it. Easier find bright moments in a day that would remind me that I needed to thrive.

Something about feeling the sun beating down on my face (vitamin D is awesome) and leaving the emotionally cocooned safe  walls  of our apartment allowed me to not have anywhere to hide from the vulnerability of grief. And I think that’s a necessary step in battling depression. Allowing the vulnerability to release itself maybe is where you find renewed strength of spirit. That comfort of four walls are like arms embracing you with a huge hug when depression begins to set in, especially from loss. But soon the walls become a prison cell locking you into a moment in time. Maybe we do that because we fear we are letting go of that which we lost, that last spark of life remembered.

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But we don’t. All the good memories remain as long as you choose to be brave enough, vulnerable enough to remember. I still cry. I still hurt. And I think when we lose someone (this includes furbabies as someone’s) who is close to your soul, you always will hurt, there always will be tears. But you have to find a way to smile despite it all. You have to choose to live the life they can’t. It’s the very best way we can honor them.

So how does it all work this running (exercising, walking, aerobics) help with depression? What’s the proof, or scientific mumbo-jumbo?

 

 

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Running

• It elevates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, slowing cognitive decline and strengthening your capacity for and rate of learning, and protects neurons against the corrosive effects of cortisol (exercise boosts BDNF ) 8 Ways To Increase BDNF Levels (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

• It promotes brain growth. Not like, your heads gonna get big lol. Running and the chemicals release while going through very physical things stimulates new nerve growth. Endorphin’s are an amazing fix for depression! 5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power .

• It helps ward off stress. If you include some sort of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, like walking and running your body and mind is better prepared for whatever comes at ya in the form of stress or depression triggers. If everyday stress is minimized coping skills are much more effective and with easier transition. Physical Activity Reduces Stress

• It’s kinda the closest we have to a Fountain Of Youth (naturally) Physically, the effects are obvious. But also mentally. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and performance on tests of attention improves. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.  Think Better: Exercise

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•It interrupts the mental feedback loop of stress, anxiety and depression within our brains. When we are stressed in our everyday life, or depressed because of a loss of some kind or dealing with anxiety because of something life has thrown unexpectedly at us, we can get “stuck”. Our brains go on a loop and doing a vigorous activity can be just the thing to snap our brains back into problem solving, or at least into acceptance of a situation if no other resolution is possible. Along with this, when depression sets in our bodies produce less Cortisol and that is bad news for our body trying to help us out of that loop, exercise increases Cortisol levels! The Brain on Stress

• It reduces muscle tension. Ever notice your body when you’re stressed out, or depressed? We tend to contract muscles and hold them in tense states. It’s all a part of that fight or flight mode ancient humans carry within them. Our body is ready to defend us against the perceived threat. Even if that threat is coming from ourselves being depressed or stressed to the max. Exercise, running, gives those muscles something to actually do. It then tires them out, they feel they fought the good fight and finally they can relax. Exercising to Relax

• It improves your self esteem which in turn gives you the confidence you can move forward away from the depression and anxiety. Developing Self-Confidence Through Running: How I Found Myself Out on the Road

 

So I don’t run very well, nor very fast or far (yet). But lacing up those shoes and putting your best effort in is what matters. You don’t have to be skinny, or already healthy. And you don’t have to be happy either. But your mood will lift as you continue running out of your darkness and into a better state of physical and mental health.

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