Another reason to walk
The more I learn and practice with EMDR, I appreciate the power of Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) and ease of incorporating it into a daily routine. Take walking for example. My clinical supervisor reminded me recently that walking is an accessible form of BLS and when bilateral music is added can become a powerful tool to help process unresolved trauma, increase ability to focus, and reduce anxiety.
How does it work? BLS activities activate the left and right hemispheres of the brain in a rhythmic pattern. This encourages the body and mind to process emotions, integrate and organize memories which can reduce the level of disruption we feel related to the associated memory. Similar to what occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep that can produce vivid dreams, BLS activities encourage the brain to process memories so as it is triggered, the nervous system is able to remain in an optimal arousal zone or “rest and digest”. This means that we are more likely to feel safe, be curious and remain in the moment as opposed to being hyperarousal zone or “fight or flight” mode that can lead to racing thoughts, fear and unrest.
Unlike REM sleep, BLS can be mindfully practiced during every day activities like walking, biking, yoga, and even drumming (okay, not so much an every day activity but a great reason to try something new). Give it a try. A 30 minute walk with some bilateral music or a bike ride in the mountains.., be curious and dive in.