“As our opportunities for primary experience shrink in everything from manual and social skills to learning about nature, society, or work, we become increasingly unable to function in the real world. We shelter in the pseudo- and virtual realities created for us by others and take our own paths less and less frequently.”
- Edward S. Reed: The Necessity of Experience
Are you struggling to find confidence in yourself? Do you feel like your anxiety and doubts are holding you back from being the person that you want to be? When it comes to finding strength, sometimes we need look no further than within ourselves. Embodiment is a powerful tool that can help us access the confidence, resilience and inner power that we need to move forward in our lives.
Embodiment is a tool used in therapy and coaching settings to help people reconnect with their bodies and minds. It includes awareness of sensations, feelings and thoughts and brings mindfulness into our movements. It offers individuals a chance to reconnect with themselves on a deeper level while gaining insight into how they think, act, and feel - ultimately leading them down the path of increased self-confidence.
Embodiment as a scientific paradigm acknowledges the fact that our mental and physical processes influence each other. Mind and body are not separate, but interwoven units that mirror and shape each other.
The term “Embodied Cognition” refers to the fact that our thoughts are deeply connected to our physical bodies. The way we think affects how we move and the way we move affects how we think.
This connection between thinking and physical movement has been studied extensively by scientists, psychologists, and researchers in recent years. The results have been impressive—it turns out that our bodies play a major role in how we process information and make decisions, even if we don’t realize it consciously.
According to German neuroscientist, Gerald Hüther, the body plays a decisive role when it comes to the emergence of emotions and cognitions - it is a companion of all mental processes.
Physical events that persist over a longer period of time lead to corresponding changes in the brain and adaptations of the neuronal control circuits and synaptic connections. The formation of physical and central nervous structures depend on each other. Body and brain are inseparable.
Hüther considers the body - especially posture - as one of the key elements to form new neuronal wiring patterns in the brain or to reorganize old wiring patterns. Thus, a change in embodiment directly affects our affective sensation and alters how we perceive ourselves and the world.
One of the biggest problems in this context is that in a digital age, where we spend much of our time in front of screens, connection to the body is increasingly lost.
The disembodiment of the 21st century, which goes hand in hand with a sedentary lifestyle, leads to a very characteristic signature in the brain: high activity in the prefrontal cortex and brain waves in the high-frequency beta-range. This is associated with a constant release of stress chemicals like norepinephrine and cortisol which raises stress in the body, weakens the immune system, but also increases subjective feelings of anxiety, overwhelm and self-doubt. We become more self-centered, neurotic and egoistic. This evolution of our lifestyle is probably one of the main reasons why we are seeing an epidemic of mental illness and why rates of depression and anxiety disorders are going through the roof.
However, we can't think our way out of this dilemma. The solution to what Freud once famously called our “cultural frustration” is not necessarily found in talk therapy or more analysis, but often in deeper forms of embodiment.
If we want to make positive changes in our lives or overcome challenges that have been holding us back for years, then understanding the concept of embodied cognition and how it affects our biology can be pivotal.
By being aware of the connection between body and mind, we can use physical movements and nervous system regulation to improve our mental state and become more resilient. We can use breathing exercises or mindful meditation to reduce stress levels and increase focus. In doing so we are able to create a more positive mindset which will allow us to tackle problems with more clarity and confidence than before.
In somatic coaching, as practiced here at Red Beard, we see the body as a potent tool of consciousness modulation, deep healing and personal growth. Somatic coaching is a transformational process that empowers you to more effectively function, work more skillfully with others, and embody new, generative ways of being.
We incorporate multiple modalities that will help support you with a whole spectrum of body-mind and neurobiological tools. By working with the mind, body and nervous system we will work towards a deeper level of self-awareness to help you understand what you want in life.
By listening to the visceral “voices” and tapping into our felt sense we can reconnect with our true self, strengths and inner resources. We become more self-assured, effective, and move through the world with greater clarity and more ease.
If you are interested in learning more about how Somatic Coaching could benefit you please reach out and schedule your free consultation call now!
I am looking forward to learning more about you and chat about how we can get started on your journey of embodiment!
List of references:
Blacking, John (Ed.) (1997): The Anthropology of the Body. London, New York, San Francisco: Academic Press.
Cantieni, Benita/Hüther, Gerald/Storch, Maja/Tschachner, Wolfgang (2010): Embodiment. Bern: Hans Huber.
Kotler, Steven/Wheal, Jamie (2017): Stealing Fire. How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALS, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work. New York: Harper Collins Publisher.
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