Walk 20 Blocks and Call Me in the Morning!

I was 57. I had just separated from my partner of over 20 years. I had moved in with my mom in her rather small apartment. I was away from my dog. We were a year into the pandemic. Work was more stressful than normal. I was trying to work through some childhood trauma with a therapist. I was emotionally exhausted.

One day, I just set off walking. I didn’t walk because I read I should or because I wanted to exercise or lose weight. I walked because I had to. The turmoil inside my body, mind and heart compelled me to move. And walking was the way I chose to move. I began walking daily. And with every walk, I felt like I was somehow cleansing the trauma that was living inside me. If I skipped a day, I could feel more of it creeping back in. It was as if I had skipped a dose of medicine.

And then, I happened to run across Brené Brown’s podcast interview with Emily and Amelia Nagoski, the authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Here’s a summary of some of the key points of the podcast and book.

  1. “Emotions…involve the release of neurochemicals in the brain, in response to some stimulus.”1
  2. They have a beginning, middle and end. They are like a tunnel.
  3. If you move all the way through the tunnel, great! But if you don’t do something to complete the cycle of the emotion, you get stuck in the tunnel and the chemicals created by that emotion get stuck in your body.
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