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Stress has become a ‘resident’ in our lives. It could be due to the occurrence of personal or professional events in our lives. Some of it could be due to very trivial instances, while in other cases, there could be underlying trauma. So, what could be the best way to deal with stress? Shake your body! Oh yes, baby!
We asked Roopali Shrivastava, counseling psychologist, IWill, to give us more insights on shaking as a solution. Here’s what she tells HealthShots, “There are certain people who may benefit from counseling or therapy. It can also be beneficial to work with the body and nervous system directly. This is where shaking therapy comes in.”
Shaking is a process of warming up – the idea is to loosen up and shake out all the built-up tension in your mind and body. While most meditation techniques require you to be still and be aware of your body, shaking is the act of letting go.
“All mammals shake. If you notice, dogs tremble/shake right after they get up or when they face a new situation. By shaking, we literally shake off the old energy and tension as a way of resettling. We humans also shake when our fight or flight impulses are activated, which means when we face a threat to our system or are in trauma. Shaking out is the easiest way to get rid of it,” adds Shrivastava.
Childhood traumatic experiences make us more hypersensitive to stress. We are easily upset by minor infractions and stressors. Our brain and body are frozen in an “anticipatory stress response” or the negativity brain bias loop.
“Animals don’t get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason is, once out of danger, they shiver and shake and release the trauma from their bodies. Human beings develop PTSD because of frozen emotions. In the case of childhood abuse, there is no escape. The child has to freeze his emotions as the source of trauma is most often the parent,” says Shrivastava.
Long-term suppression leads to excess energy being trapped in our bodies. This results in chronic emotional and physical tension and mental distress. Repeated activation of the stress response contributes to high blood pressure and promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits. Further, stress causes brain changes leading to anxiety, depression, and addiction.
“By shaking your body for 15 minutes, you can calm your body after a long day. Shaking activates the parasympathetic nervous system and signals the brain to calm, relax, and let go. Shaking also activates the lymphatic system of our body, which helps our body get rid of the toxins,” she adds.
Shrivastava has a step-by-step guide for us:
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, soften your knees, and drop your shoulders.
2. Begin shaking and feeling the bounce through your knees and let the vibration spread to your arms and shoulders.
3. Try to shake your entire body with little trembles and full body shakes. You can even play some music if you want.
“The shaking mechanism can be great for people suffering from trauma, grief, and even phobias. The involuntary shake is a burst of good news from the muscles directly to the central nervous system. The signals generated can create new pathways inside the brain. You can start the practice by doing it for five to 20 minutes a day. As no equipment is needed, you can do it anytime anywhere,” she adds.
Shaking is one of the easiest and quickest ways to release stress. All the wild animals do it. Undoubtedly, human beings are also programmed to shake off the excess energy in their bodies. You need to let go of your inhibitions and shake off your tension.
Like Taylor Swift rightly sings, “Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake….I shake it off, I shake it off… in my mind saying it’s gonna be alright.”