Coping through Movement

I have to dance every time Hall & Oates “You make my dreams come true” plays. A smile breaks out on my face and happiness bubbles from my heart. Even people who aren’t very expressive with their emotions will bee-bop around in their seat when a favorite song plays in their car. Dancing is a natural way to express emotion. Whether it’s a knee-slap while stuck in a laughing fit or a fist pump, we all need a way to express complex emotions.

Where are grief, anxiety, anger, or loneliness supposed to go? Crying can be therapeutic but who wants to weep daily? Or at all? I turned to walking and running as my way to cope through movement.

When my brother passed away I probably weighed about 75 pounds. I went from waitressing to a sedentary job and numbed my pain with food. Over the next several years I gained until I was 200 pounds.

I knew I had PCOS and thyroid issues so I was worried I would have trouble getting pregnant. My husband and I weren’t ready to start our family quite yet, but I thought I should get my body in tip-top shape for when that time came.

I started waking up in the morning to walk our neighborhood. Walking is for grandmas you say? Well I was getting fired up listening to music. Florence & The Machine “Cosmic Love” Seven Lions remix, baby.

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes…

the stars, the moon, they have all been blown up

You left me in the dark, no dawn, no day,

I’m always in this twilight, in the shadow of your heart: BEAT DROPS! [See 2:09 or 3:20]


Some mornings I would stare at the clouds. I remember one morning they were gray and threatening but incredibly beautiful. Maybe it was the combination of what I was listening to or what I had dreamed just before waking, but I felt as if my brother was with me.

Now I think it is definitely related to being out and moving.

We are most alive when our blood is pumping and our only purpose is to keep moving. There’s a certain FLOW you enter when you exercise with a purpose.

When I run I feel meditative. I experience epiphanies—I work through sh*t. Sometimes it’s a lot like the feeling when you are compulsively working on a puzzle and you get close to the end (of your non-sky pieces) and it all comes together very quickly and you have this great feeling of satisfaction.

With running you have the added benefit of knowing you can do hard things. I am a high achiever so being able to set micro and macro goals, ex. Today I will run three miles without stopping, in three months I will run this race, gives me the chance to set and then accomplish those goals.

Anyone can do it because it doesn’t have to be running. Even if you are walking, if you set your intention to a place of determination but relax your mind you can enter the flow.

Get out and do it and then share in the comments below which song is your hype song.