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Somatic Releases: A New Take on Letting It Flow

Credit: bottled_void, Flickr

Credit: bottled_void, Flickr

Have you ever heard of somatic releases? In a nut shell, our bodies emit adrenaline during moments of fear or trauma. If the body can’t fight or escape, then the person’s reaction to the stress can stay with them for years. Yes, your stress can literally stay with you and haunt the stuffins out of you.

I first learned of the idea when I started therapy a couple of years ago. I lost my father at a young age. Every time I even mentioned his name, I developed this uncomfortable lump in my throat. I was unable to cry. It would just burn and stop me from continuing. My therapist, who specializes in EMDR, started working with my body and memories to release the hurt I had stored in my body related to that pain. I had my doubts because I had never heard of such things, but it totally worked. Like seriously worked and now I can talk about that man — the good and the sad — without lumpy throat syndrome.

So I was aware of this release happening in therapy … when I was hooked up to little finger clickers, but I had NO clue that you could have a somatic release at the gym. (Doctors weren’t kidding when they said working out is great therapy.) The other day I was working out alone and heading into the fourth round of a very hard set. I took a minute to rest, and that’s when the tears started flowing. I don’t know what they were related to, but something was triggered by my workout. I was totally taken off guard. The tears wouldn’t stop. I sat, curled over and just wept my eyes out. It was the oddest thing.

It’s happened once before, but I was upset before I started working out so I just chalked it up to that. But this time I was happy and carefree — and the tears came anyway.

I felt totally awkward for my workout breakdown (Jimmy was screaming at me: “There’s no crying in baseball!“), but I knew it was needed. I’m not sure I got it all out either. Today is another tough workout. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be working out more than my muscles this time around …

What about you? Have you ever experienced a somatic release while working out? — Tish

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