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How I found emotional wellness by rediscovering the mind-body connection

As I cry, shinny clear snot is running down my cheek, I try to snort it back up, too unmotivated to get up and get a hanky.

Once again I'm lying on the floor, between the bed and the window, wearing those faded black track suit pants that mean that I am feeling despairing and helplessness.

My partner is out, I don't do this in front of him, I don't talk about my depression and anxiety, I'm afraid that talking about it will make me feel worse. Having him around is a distraction, and I don't want to talk about things that make me feel down when he's around and I could be thinking about something else.

I know that if I cry long enough I'll go numb, maybe fall asleep.

But I knew I couldn't go on living like this.

Then, everything changed.

That was the day I met Michael Gelb.

My dad used to be an Olympic sailor, and each year he would race in the Melbourne to Hobart. That year I had been given Michael Gelb's book Body Learning for Christmas. My mum and I drove to a vantage point in Brighton to watch them sail past, as I sat in the car reading I felt like Michael was speaking specifically to me. Saying:

"It doesn't have to be this way. You really can feel good, you just need to learn HOW"

He explained that moods are a psycho-physical response, moods effect your body and your body effects your mood, it is a loop that runs in both directions.

This can help to demonstrate it: scrunch yourself up, hunch your shoulders, droop your head. How does it feel? A bit depressing? Now try this: Stand up, legs slightly apart like you are playing scare-crow tiggy, put your hands on your hips and look out into the horizon, head held high. How does that one feel. Confident, bold, energising?

That link between body and mind is what Michael was talking about, and the thing that I had been missing.

Michael talked about the Alexander Technique and Yoga and how people can break out of their habits of movement and change the direction of the loop, setting themselves up for emotional wellness, and really feeling good.

That was the day that I started on the path to feeling well again.

Through the Alexander Technique and Yoga I learned new ways of using my body that triggered positive energising mind-states. Today I feel happy and at peace, knowing that if I wake up feeling crappy I know what to do to shift states and feel good again.

--- Alysha teaches Alexander Yoga for Emotional Wellness one-on-one and in groups at the School for F.M. Alexander Studies. Find out more by visiting her website

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