The Power of Silly…

Those of us who live with a chronic illness, deal with a lot of difficult emotions. I often find myself with feelings like frustration, boredom, loneliness, sadness, etc. For me, these emotions become their strongest at night, when I usually cannot sleep or go out. My biggest coping skills- going out for a walk or talking with a friend, are not options in the middle of the night. So, how can you alleviate these feelings when you are in your house by yourself? Dancing is one good way.
I have limited energy so I cannot dance a whole lot, but even a brief one song dance will help me out. If you cannot stand, you can still get your groove on from a seated position or even lying down. If you are sitting you can still move your head, arms, and torso. You can tap your feet, or move your legs to the music. If you are lying down you can wave your arms to the music or move your legs to the beat. Even just rotating your wrists to the music and making pretty postures with your fingers can feel good.
I am a big supporter of silly dancing. When I was still healthy and lived at home with my family, my sister and I would have these silly dancing “competitions,” where we would try to dance in the most ridiculous ways possible. It was very freeing to dance without rules or fear of judgment, and we would laugh and laugh at ourselves. This is a big stress reliever! We created dances like The Tush Push and The Worm. Dancing freely affords a wonderful opportunity to laugh at yourself! If you have pets, dancing with the dog or country line dancing with the cat can be lots of fun too. Even just dancing around them or in front of them will get you that quizzical, “What in the heck are you doing?” look, which makes the exercise all the more fun. Getting my cat’s confused gaze gives me an opportunity to laugh at how ridiculous I must look to her.
Another activity I enjoy is singing. If you are home alone you can sing at the top of your lungs and pretend you are a famous singer, belting it out for your adoring fans. Sometimes I sing and dance at the same time. Depending on my mood I might sing a real song, other times I will make one up on the spot. Sometimes I will sing a silly song about my cranky cat, or whatever comes to mind. You can make it a game and give yourself only 30 seconds to think of the next verse and it has to rhyme with the last one. It is fun to see how far you can get before getting stumped and having to start over.
I am also a big proponent of talking to yourself, talking to your pets, talking to God. Just because you look crazy, it doesn’t mean that you are! You can also write in a journal and say anything that you want to say to anyone that you want to say it to. Write a letter to that guy you like, saying everything you have wanted to say, knowing full well it will never see the light of day. You know that fight you had with your mother? Write a letter to her and get all of your feelings out on paper, then never show it to her. Writing is a good way to release those pent up emotions that you don’t know what to do with. If you are having a bad health day, vent your frustration and sadness on paper.
I have these dreams about big, messy art projects. I see myself with a giant canvas throwing paint all over it and smearing it all around with my fingers. Living in a small apartment with limited funds, I cannot actually buy a huge canvas, gallons of paint, and make a huge mess. However, I will often do smaller scale art projects. This is another way to put your emotions on paper.
I like to draw, color, and paint. I suppose you could buy sculpting clay and get your emotions out by pounding it and molding it. Maybe kids finger paints are just what the doctor ordered? With my art there are no rules and no judgments. No one ever has to see it if I don’t want it to be seen. If it is just angry squiggles all over the paper, that’s okay. Sometimes if I’m mad I end up tearing holes in the paper because I am coloring so aggressively. Other times I take my time, draw a real picture, and color it in.
Drawing can help you symbolize your emotions on paper and help you figure out what you are feeling. I often have no idea what I will draw when I sit down to do it, I just let my hand and my imagination show me what needs to come out.
These are just a few ideas of ways to cope with and release those emotions you are feeling, when you are home and alone. I encourage you to be creative and fearless in coming up with new ways to express yourself. After all, no one is watching, so why not go for it? Being silly is cathartic. If you just need a release, dance, sing, make sexy poses in the mirror. No one is watching so laugh and have fun with yourself. This is truly some of the best medicine. Written by Laura Markley © 2007


About AZSyringoChiari

Support Group for rare neurological disorders.
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