Recovering from a stroke can be frustrating and the therapy daunting. As a single momma, I am a big fan of multitasking, while at the same time keeping things simple.
One thing I love about NeuroMovement, or the Anat Baniel Method, is how easy it is to incorporate into your daily life.
Anat Baniel has 9 Essentials to accelerate learning. All 9 are brilliant and could give you years of contemplation, but if you want to propel your stroke or injury recovery and see results today, this week, this month, then here are my top 3 favorite essentials that you can EASILY put to use right now.
So, if you are:
3 Tips to a Fast Recovery of Stroke or Injury:
Tip 1: Go Slow
Slow allows you to feel HOW you are moving.
The more you become aware of how you are doing activities, the more information your brain has to develop new connections.
Fast movements are done on autopilot, a definite advantage to get us through most of our everyday lives, but what happens when a brain injury affects our autopilot mode?
You may have discovered that the faster and harder you try to perform those tasks that used to be automatic, the more failure you experience and the more frustration sets in.
So, what can you do?
Those are the golden moments to slow things down.
The next time you are doing an activity that you used to be able to do without thinking (let’s use drinking out of your favourite coffee cup as an example, but it could be anything… putting on your socks, zipping up your coat, etc), instead of attempting to grab the coffee cup like you always used to before your injury or stroke, pause for a moment and slow down!
Take a deep breath.
Let go of any expectation.
As you slow down, you will begin to discover HOW you move.
The slower you go, the more awareness you have of where your body is in space.
The more awareness you have, the more information you can give your brain, for it to organize your movements efficiently.
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!
Start with slow.
Then you’ll begin to notice more awareness.
Tip 2: Become Aware
Following the above example of reaching for your morning coffee, the next time you do it, get curious about things. Become aware what you are doing.
It sounds easy.
But really becoming aware of what you are doing and where your body is in space is an amazing brain workout!
Here are only a few examples of what you can become aware of as you reach towards your morning brew:
Find your inner curiosity and playfulness!
Once you start noticing and feeling subtle changes in how your hand, arm, and body moves while doing a 'simple' action, the more fun it becomes and the more awareness you will have.
You'll start to notice finer and finer details, which in turn upgrades your brain to know HOW to move finer, more delicate, and more precise.
You might also notice that becoming aware is easier when you go slow.
Moving fast and being on autopilot has it’s advantages, but when you are learning new things, moving slow accelerates the learning process!
(see Step 1!)
Tip 3: Add Variation
This is the fun one!
Adding a bit of variation to a seemingly routine movement, captures your brain's attention and turns on your learning switch.
Get Curious and Explore!
How many ways can you bring the coffee cup to your lips?
Oh boy, I could go on and on!
There are an infinite number of ways to perform a specific task.
No one does the same task exactly the same way as someone else, nor do they do it the same way each time.
There’s always a variant!
Your body is never in the same precise position more than once!
You might sit in the same chair at the kitchen table every morning, but are your feet exactly in the same spot? Your elbows? Your head?
There is always something different.
Your brain is amazing at taking all the variants and creating a desired outcome (like bringing the coffee cup to your lips!).
It’s what your brain does best!
It’s what your brain is designed for!!!
Your brain takes sensory information (like where your body is in space), then organizes it all so it can perform the desired outcome with minimum effort.
Your brain is freaking amazing!
By slowing down, becoming aware of where your body parts are in space and adding variations, you are giving your brain quality information. The higher the quality of information, the better chance your brain has to figure out the most efficient and pain-free way to move YOUR body to get the desired outcome.
How exciting is that!
You get to control the quality of information you are feeding your brain!
Now go forth and conquer your new milestones!
With great Awareness!
Jen Stewart is a mommy of 3 amazing kids and a practitioner of NeuroMovement™