At some point in your life, I am sure you have heard “shake it off.” Usually, an adult tells a younger person to shake off a minor injury like a stubbed toe, bump, or bruise. Or someone may tell you to shake off some hurt feelings or insult.
Feel the Feeling
I don’t like it when someone tells me to shake off emotion rather than deal with it. I spent most of my life doing that, and it only resulted in physical ailments, depression, and anxiety. As a student of mindfulness, I have learned that it is critically important to acknowledge our feelings rather than bury them.
So now, when I experience an emotion that I don’t particularly love, I invite it in and say to myself, “okay, if you want to feel that, then feel it.” I find that the emotion usually evaporates quicker when I do that.
EFT and Releasing Emotion
After my surgery, I spent two years in intensive EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), healing old traumas and releasing pent-up emotions that I had held for far too long. My EFT coach told me that after experiencing a trauma, an animal would involuntarily shake as the body releases the excess energy/fear or other emotion. That’s why animals don’t worry about the past or fear the future. They retain the information from the experience but not the emotional charge that went along with it. People don’t do that, unfortunately. At least not always.
One rare exception is when my baby daughter fell off a counter onto the floor. After I took action to ensure her safety and I knew she was okay, I sat down and shook for about 10 minutes. I couldn’t control it or stop it. It was my body’s natural method of ridding myself of the trauma and excess energy. I wish I had been able to handle all my traumas that way. But, by not doing this, we store the emotion in the body, which can trigger problems down the road.
The “Shake it Off” Method
While thinking about this recently, I came up with an idea. I said, okay, the body shakes uncontrollably as the muscles spasm and release the stored emotion. So, I got thinking. The next time I feel an emotion I don’t like; I will try to shake it off. So, I did.
I was feeling anxiety as the holidays drew near, so I sat down in a comfy chair and shook my legs and arms until they felt fatigued. When I finished, I no longer felt any anxiety. It was interesting. I believe I was forcing the discharge that may naturally happen sometimes by shaking my entire body for a few minutes.
Since then, I have tried it numerous times, and I can honestly say it works like a charm. Whenever, I feel too much energy/emotion of any type, and I don’t like it, I shake it off. It actually works beautifully.
So, I have to wonder, did our forefathers know something we don’t? Perhaps there is more wisdom in that adage “shake it off” than we realize.