The Benefits of Shaking

Photo by: @queerfatloud

An old adage that is full of instinctual wisdom: SHAKING IT OFF.

After losing vision in my right eye at age 6 – I lived in a perpetual state of anxiety. With no peripheral vision or depth perception- I was always bracing myself against the outside world. Distancing myself from embracing the painful emotional experience of limited sight, for over 24 years I froze and numbed out as much as possible.

Locked Nervous System

So, what happens when the body’s process of releasing sensations naturally is interrupted or muted? When we bypass a physical discharge of emotional material we are interrupting a psychological release. This leads to storing the physiological aspects of distress in our body.

Our nervous system locks into fight or flight, causing symptoms like muscle stiffness, unexplained pain, headaches, nightmares, panic attacks, weakened immune system, and so on. My nervous system locked alright. In 2009 I began to explore various methods of somatically discharging trauma.

Photo by: @queerfatloud

Shaking Inspired by Animals

There are many approaches, but it all boils down to taking a cue from our animal kin. Animals involuntary shake to discharge from a stressful encounter and regulate their nervous system. The seal escapes the jaws of a shark. The rabbit is being chased by a dog. A possum is shaking vigorously after playing “dead.”

Shaking as a Reboot

Shaking is a reboot that allows new safe stories to pass between the mind and body, it assists the nervous system in deregulation. Deregulation is required in order to bring energy levels back down, to lower heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. This brings the nervous system back to neutral and resets bodily functions.

I get it, it looks intimidating. It’s messy and unapologetic. You don’t “G.A.F.” what you look like – dropping all inhibition and releasing into a movement that is an instinctual response that we as humans have suppressed.

~ Alyssa