Self-Care, Finding the Right Fit ll By Rich Brodt

Self-Care, Finding the Right Fit
By Rich Brodt

So far in this series, I have written a good deal around self-care, especially as it relates to regulating oneself, and addressing ones own needs. However, self-care is useful for more than just relieving stress, it can allow us to understand ourselves better, and be more present in our lives. 

The process of picking out a new activity can be very useful for understanding oneself and ones needs better. For the sake of argument, lets say that an individual has an interest in martial arts, but no background in martial arts and no idea which particular form of combat might best suit them. Luckily, almost every martial arts studio out there today offers some kind of a free or reduced cost introductory lesson or introductory week of classes. 

Simply attending a few different introductory courses can be informative and transformative. Muay Thai, or Thai Kickboxing, might be a good fit for someone who wants to cultivate strength and power, however it may be a poor fit for someone who wants to learn slow, precise movements in a meditative environment. Someone who wants to learn to leverage their smaller frame for the purpose of self-defense, might find a home in Judo or Jiu Jitsu. There are numerous different martial arts, all stressing slightly different theories and techniques, focusing on different strengths of the individual participant. 

Finding the right fit for ones own values and needs, can provide a transformative space for an individual to grow and gain confidence. 

The transformative nature is applicable to martial arts, as an example, but also applies to most new activities that people want to engage in. 

In fact, the simple process of attending introductory courses, whether martial arts related or otherwise, is quite illuminating. When I have clients who fear or avoid vulnerability, I often challenge them to attend some kind of introductory course. This may be a course in photography, yoga, or some other activity that piques their interest. Most people agree to start, and then report feeling anxious in the days leading up to the activity. This is part of the process. 

In our lives, we are regularly going to be faced with new and difficult tasks. 

The idea of intentionally taking on an activity where we are a beginner is quite vulnerable, and often leads to personal growth, as well as the discovery of skills that an individual might not have known they had. 

By simply being willing to engage in the processes of self-care, we find growth. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable – to identify things that are both interesting and totally new to us. With newness, there is often a good deal of discomfort. We worry about looking like we dont know what were doing. 

But thats the point, to be comfortable being lost, and to recognize the support we have around us.  

Along with vulnerability, most new activities have an ability to teach us about presence. In order to succeed, we must stay present, follow along closely with the instructions and take risks to test our abilities. Learning anything new, especially a skill when technique or body mechanics are stressed, is a great way to force oneself to stay present in the moment. As concentration on an enjoyable or challenging task increases, the stresses of the outside world tend to fade into the background.

About Rich Brodt

I provide therapy and counseling for individuals. My style integrates various techniques, but I tailor my approach to each client’s unique needs. I am committed to helping people that experience anxiety resulting from trauma, work-related stress, legal issues or major life transitions. Together, we will work to calm your mind and create lasting change.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth