It seems like our society is driven to distraction. We are constantly faced with stimuli and it is rather challenging to find peace of mind. As therapists, we see firsthand the insidious effects of anxiety and stress on marriages, families, and almost all relationships. One helpful technique I have learned to help maintain inner calm, and to move from flight-fight to whole-brain integration is something called “Brain Gym.”
Brain Gym is a series of movements which help “awaken” the brain so that it can get unstuck and ready to learn. These motions are meant to remind the brain of the movements usually found during the first years of life, when children learn physical coordination, including their eyes, ears, and hands.
When the brain is under stress, it is much harder for us to learn new things or to access all of our mental faculties. It is great fun for school children and has been incorporated in many classrooms throughout the world. I have found it particularly helpful when I am feeling stuck or nervous. If I am having difficulty organizing my thought s for a writing assignment or a speech, I often practice Brain Gym and notice only a few minutes later how I can move forward with ease.
Although I have never tried these exercises with my couples, I imagine it might help remove some resistance from couples therapy. As couples get wrapped up in the content of their conflict and get stuck in their brain stem, Brain Gym exercises might help them move quicker to the point of compassion and empathy.
For more information about brain gym please visit www.braingym.org