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Walking for Calming? Yes!!!

The past 18 months have been stressful in ever-changing ways.

How have you managed to keep yourself pulled together mentally and emotionally?

I found myself walking or running outdoors. Everyday, and often 2-3 times a day.

Anytime I feel a little edgy or unfocused I throw on some shoes and head outside. 15 minutes is usually enough, but an hour can be amazing!

To learn that neuroscience research shows there is something to this correlation was AMAZING!

Need some calming for yourself? Get out for a walk.

Need calm, or less anger or fear in your kids, get them on their feet.

Looking for a way to calm your children for longer?

Check out our new online program, 7 Steps to Calm.

There is neuroscience linking walking, vision, and calming!

Listening to a podcast last week I almost fell over with surprise!

A neuroscientist was discussing walking and why it helps us to calm. The secret was a subtle yet significant link between eye movement and the brain.

When we walk, our eyes and brain have to hold the images we see stable, so the world is not rolling around. The images appear to be steady because the eyes are able to move opposite of how the head is moving. This effect is called slip, a side-to-side compensating eye movement.

Our phones are designed with similar optical stabilizing features which allow us to take video that looks smooth.

This side-to-side eye movement has been shown to decouple the part of the brain responsible for fear and anger, the amygdala. (The full study is here.)

Needing to go take a walk to re-group has some true science behind it!

(The podcast was ‘The Armchair Expert’ with Andrew Huberman, PhD on September 23, 2021. The discussion about eye movement and walking begins close to the 53 min mark.)

And then I got to thinking…what if ???

At the Bridging┬« Institute we find so many ways the body just isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. There are so many reasons why — an injury, surgery, medical issue, and sometimes, its just always been that way from birth, or before.

Hearing the discussion about walking, eye movement and the brain got me thinking …

  • What if your eye movement didn’t develop correctly, or if you had surgery to correct poor eye alignment? Does it link to the feet and brain in the same way? Can this change?
  • The first observed fetal movement of the eyes is side-to-side. This occurs in the second trimester. What if the eye linkage didn’t develop correctly? Can it still develop?
  • The heel structure of the foot when walking should move in the same side-to-side manner as the eyes. If the feet don’t work well, does this have a relationship to the eyes and brain?
  • And I want to understand the relationship of fear to all of this. If foot and/or eye movement development is incomplete, are these the people who are fearless? Reckless? And can it change if the development is enabled?

SO many questions! You see my curiosity. Guess what I’ll be paying close attention to over the coming weeks and months. My hypothesis is — yes, it all changes.

These questions are typical of how we think about the very real relationships we find daily between movement, cognition, communication, and emotions with clients.

The AMAZING part is that when we use Bridging to guide a body’s movement to change, the cognition, communication, and emotional development follow.