How to Literally Shake It Off

self-care well-being Jul 04, 2023
Illustration of Charis Santillie literally
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #064 here.

You've probably heard the phrase "Shake it off." Picture someone falling in a race or trying to do something, and metaphorically speaking, they fall in some way, and somebody responds by saying, "Shake it off," as in, "Get up, brush yourself off, and try again."

I wanted to address this phrase, "shake it off," in a different and very literal way today.

Shaking is the way that animals process adrenaline and cortisol during fight-or-flight states.

This is literally something you can apply to yourself to help an emotion move through you.

Because fear (big or small) easily gets trapped in our bodies. If we don't do anything about that, it can produce long-term anxiety and/or show up in other ways symptomatically in our lives.

You may not think of some of these things that have happened to you as being things that you were fearful of. Yet all so many of the little things that happen to us are actually connected to underlying fears and our brain responding by having us react in various ways to either take action or not take action on something. There actually is fear involved when your heart races as you see a text from someone or when you're preparing to send an email and you hesitate because you're worried you didn't get it quite right.

These are little moments that add up throughout our days. Then pile on top of those the very obvious, larger fearful moments of our lives, and it's no wonder that body tensions and anxiety are at an all-time high these days.

One of the things that I've been doing myself in recent weeks, and has been really supportive, is physically "shaking it off" when I notice I want to shift my energy and let something go. Side note: I prefer to do this by myself while no one is watching.

So if I feel like my internal energy is off, or I feel a little anxious, or some mood is affecting me in such a way that I don't like, I will shake my arms and move my whole head and body around, but especially the arms in big motions as I shaking them out. It feels really good to move in this way.

We don't move enough in our sedentary lifestyles. If we move or go exercise, it's usually for a limited amount of time. And then most of us go sit down at a desk and work with very little movement in our normal hours during the day.

Taking these few minutes to stand up and shake can be really valuable, and it's actually kind of surprising how good it feels. You can do this by dancing too; turn on a little music that inspires you. 

Let's take a cue from wildlife who shakes to transition from a moment that was fearful into the rest of their day. We are also animals who have fight-or-flight moments. We have anxieties that come up. We have all kinds of feelings that we often don't process; we either shove them aside or react to them while taking them for a ride in an unhealthy way.

So give this a try and see if you can literally "shake it off."

“Emotion is energy in motion.” 

– Peter McWilliams

“Emotion is created by motion.” 

– Tony Robbins

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #064 here.

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