RE-educate, RE-new, RE-member!
Ready for a Change?
For many of us the past 18+ months have been one of reduced activity, but ironically also one of heightened sensitivity. So much information! So many decisions about how to stay safe or possibly just throw up our hands and try to tune out the whole thing. The pandemic has affected all of us in a myriad of ways. Our nerves are on edge and we may have adopted various coping mechanisms from anger to denial to internalizing our fear. Most of us have suffered loss or loneliness, anxiety or depression or all of these.
Fortunately there are helpful actions we can take.
A Tune Up for the Nervous System
A recent article by Dr. Adam Blanning, M.D. of the Denver Center for Anthoposophic Therapies tells us it is time to Reset our Nervous System.* Whether we recognize it or not, our nervous system has been traumatized by the pandemic, no matter what our belief system is about the virus or vaccinations. Internally things have been changing and adapting to being in a more vigilant state. Dr. Blanning recommends re-educating our nervous system by spending more time in nature and engaging in art activities “because then we are moving our sensing processes in all kinds of ways, which brings more flexibility” to our hyper vigilant system. He states that this effect is greater when we are active in the artistic process rather than just passively experiencing it.
Nature as Healer
Taking a stroll among flowers in a park or a walk in the woods where we can enjoy the sights, smells and quiet sounds of nature is enriching and healing for our whole body. In a similar way the process of art making is known to be deeply gratifying to the mind and soul. Our being becomes lighter and our hearts can become more open through artistic expression and connecting with nature. For many these are meditative experiences and can give us positive ways to work with afflictive emotions such as fear, anger or grief.
Participating in one of the many forms of artistic expression from music, writing, or dance to crafts or the visual arts, moves our nervous system into a creative mode which changes our brain activity, our endocrine system and our emotional states. These types of activities can help our muscles, joints and internal organs relax. Creativity is something we all possess and can utilize to improve our ability to think, to enjoy life, and to reset our nervous system.
Being in nature and engaging in art can bring us joy. And when we are involved in the artistic process to create something for others, the joy is multiplied.
Make a little video of a special song you want to share. Print out a poem you wrote and send to friends. Create a craft item to give to someone who feels lonely, sad or maybe forgotten. For those who can’t get out in nature, take or send them a decorative or flowering plant that you pot yourself or order online. Perhaps send a special nature photo you took along with a few caring words. And let’s not forget about the culinary arts. Bake a pie, make some scones or fix your favorite casserole to brighten someone’s day and your own. Focusing our creativity on these simple acts of kindness can reverberate out and help soothe all our nervous systems.
At East Side Art Institute we wish all a joyful creative life and plenty of peaceful time in nature.
* Dr. Blanning’s full article, which includes information on other therapeutic remedies, can be found on his website at: https://denvertherapies.com/resetting-our-nervous-system/