Get Out and Get Moving

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Recent interfaith tweets

Get out and get moving.  When I used to counsel persons with depression, that’s what I encouraged them to do.  Depression doesn’t always produce sadness, but very often it produces fatigue and lethargy.  To counteract it one has to get moving. Nothing strenuous.  Just walking twice around a city block will do for starters. Then, as you begin to gain energy, increase your distance.  Also, it helps to walk where there are trees and longer views than one gets in a city. Fresh air helps too.  In many healing arts one learns to concentrate on breathing in a relaxed way, deliberately, mindfully.  If you go from walking to hiking, up and down hills especially, you’ll find yourself becoming much more mindful of your breath! This is good. Veterans who suffer from PTSD need to become more aware of what they are feeling in their bodies, and vigorous exercise can be very helpful in gaining this awareness, this mindfulness.  The following article about self-helps for PTSD explains the reasons why:
In an earlier post I talked about IVW’s weekly hikes, led by veteran Jack Sanders. There are civilians hiking with Jack now, and this too is good, because veterans returning from war are trying to learn to live comfortably among civilians.  Hiking is a bit more strenuous than walking, but not as demanding as running, so conversation comes easily, and the more you hike with someone the better you get to know them.

Delaware hikers are fortunate to have a huge park to meander in:  Fair Hill state park in Maryland.  Delaware is mostly flat, and long views are rare, but in this 5600 acre park one gets woods, fields, and plenty of space to explore without repeating one’s route.

The last time I hiked in Fair HIll Park I saw a young man in camies with a German Shepherd and a huge military style pack.  A woman I took to be his wife leashed the dog, and the three of them took off running up a long hill.  I had the impression that the guy was probably a veteran, the dog was his service dog, and the woman was his wife.  He was dressing in camies and shouldering a heavy pack to simulate aspects of a life he was trying to leave behind, and at the same time he was vigorously exercising with trusted companions, becoming aware with each step and each breath that what was stored in his body could be released in a mindful and safe way.  This is how one can recover:  Get out and get moving.

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