Thursday, October 26, 2006

Surviving the Winter - Repetitive Motion

One method to ease the depression and anxiety of Seasonal Effective Disorder is to adopt some sort of repetitive motion. I'm sure most of you have heard about the soothing effects of repetitive motion. It's been news in knitting lately. It also pertains to crafts like macrame, crocheting, hand stitching and weaving.
In folklore, spinning often produces an altered state where some women see visions of the present, past and future, so the idea of the effects of repetitive motion on brain chemistry have been around a very long time.

People who live with chronic pain like cluster headaches often pace or rub their scalps or perform "various (almost autistic looking) physical motions"(click link to see full article)
in response to the pain. I wonder if the serotonin-raising effects of the repetitive motions in some way help alleviate the pain, even a little?
Heck, any parent knows a rocking chair has a good chance of soothing a fretful baby. Its funny how science sometimes takes awhile to catch up with folk wisdom, eh?

Even things like jiggling a leg, drumming your fingers or other annoying habits may have a positive effect on your mood when you are feeling down or anxious. If you work in a crowded office environment, it may be considerate of your coworkers to adopt a less intrusive method, say tapping only your big toe, chewing gum, or rubbing your thumb with your forefinger.
I'm certain many of us have already been doing something like this, but it may help to do it consciously, to reduce depression and anxiety this winter. If, like me, you like to have some resulting product or more tangible benefit, you could take up knitting or sanding wood for a home improvement project. Or kneading bread, digging holes in the backyard.... typing.... wood chopping..... swimming... dancing....

1 comment:

Lynx said...

making snow angels....
I like the warm, sorry. But the crocheting/knitting/quilting is good, not only the repetition but the tangible results. Washing the kitchen table is certainly repetitious, but it seems that every single time I do it, I strain my wrist so that I can't do anything FUN. And yes, I am the only person in the house that is able to clean the table.....