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Old 04-15-2019, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default A barefoot approach

After having dealt with both the ups and downs of BPD and finally given in to taking medication I have supplemented with various self-care strategies to take the edge of any leftover negative emotional residue. One that was surprisingly effective for me I want to share today, just in case anyone would like to try it out:

I started barefoot walking. As simple as that.

I should have done this much earlier, since I knew that the technique has been in use for hundreds of years to reap multiple health benefits, both physically and mentally. (In my birth country there is an entire health movement based on this approach. Many well-tended "barefoot paths" exist that invite people to take their shoes off and walk through a trail in the woods on sticks, stones, grass and mud. There is also snow-walking in winter and water treading in summer, if you are into those things.)

I now try to walk barefoot as much as possible. Yes, I have found that donning my shoes as often as I can helps me with the release of stress and anxiety and also forces my mind to re-focus on the present moment.

If we think about it from a physiological standpoint the feet-brain connection makes complete sense.

Our feet are directly connected to our brains and flood the neural network with a sleuth of sensory information with every step we take. I found that by taking my shoes off and feeling nothing between the ground and myself I can affect my mind in a positive way. Among other this routine helps me to:

- get calmer by reaching a meditative, soul searching state
- pay more attention to the ground beneath my feet which breaks the cycle of other intrusive thoughts and rumination
- gets me into a humble state of mind where I don't have to be perfect
-reconnect with nature
- rewires my brain by way of the reflexology effect
- gives me more energy by increasing the blood flow
-reduces my social anxiety by forcing me to engage with other people who are likely wondering why I am not wearing shoes in situations that others would.

BTW: Most people ignore it, some find it funny or odd, but mostly folks are simply interested into the why, and strike up an amiable conversation. (No, I am not going into BPD at that point but stick to the mediation and mindfulness part and may tell them about other physiological health benefits. That's all they need-and likely want--to know.

A second BTW: You might have heard of a related technique called "earthing" where your feet are supposed to connect with the ground to exchange positive and negative energies like a dowsing rod. To date, there is no scientific proof for this particular practice. The jury's still out on that one.

How I got started? Slow, by walking barefoot around the house and in the yard more often. Since those first steps I have taken more nature walks through the woods in my bare feet which greatly helped with mood improvement and energy levels.

Now I have a morning routine where take my meds, down a glass of water with fresh pressed lemon juice and walk barefoot from my work to my coffee shop. I do this, and I know that my day is off to a much better start.

Another plus for me: while everyone at my work (a college campus) has been sick all winter, I did not have a single cold this year. Is it due to my barefoot routine? Perhaps... the mind is a powerful thing as the BDlers know...

And of course, it's much easier to leave off my shoes for longer now that it's spring. But there is always a way...

I don't know whether anyone has tried this or will, but this has been working well for me. Maybe it will also work for someone else.

Feel free to ask me anything or let me know whether it helped you as well.

Here's to brighter days!
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:23 PM   #2
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Smile Re: A barefoot approach

Thanks for sharing this. I'm "into" walking. But I don't walk barefoot outside. I live in a large metropolitan area & I don't think I'd want to walk barefoot around here. I do walk barefoot in the house when it's warm enough to do so.

I used to have some Vibram running shoes that had toes in them. They felt very much like you were walking barefoot. They didn't hold up well on the concrete & asphalt though. And they were expensive. I was fortunate to get the pair I had deeply discounted at the end of the season a few years ago. I doubt I'd buy another pair.
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Old 06-26-2019, 02:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: A barefoot approach

Thank you Gabe1205! Barefoot sounds spot on for me. I was trying to find something in self help to get me through a bad time. I moved to a new state and did everything in my power to avoid running out of medications. Unfortunately my new doctor never sent my RXs to the pharmacy like he said he did three weeks ago. I usually have Bipolar, Anxiety, Blood Pressure, and Thyroid medicines, but suddenly find myself without any of them and feeling frantic, helpless and uncharacteristically angry. I read your post and just picturing you walking barefoot calmed me. I was reminded of a time I walked an outdoor labyrinth barefoot (I chucked off my sis a few steps into it.).

Do you recommend any books, blogs, or websites? Luckily I'm staying with my Mom in the Appalachian mountains, so I can do a lot of walking right here in our yard, fields, and woods. I'm not sure what folks will say if I go out in public. What do you say when people ask?

I'm excited! Thank you for the inspiring suggestion.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: A barefoot approach

I loved barefoot walking when I was younger and lived where sand beaches and forest trails were available. I tried walking on snow once, too.

A wonderful post - good for you!
Bipolar I w/Psychotic features

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Old 06-28-2019, 11:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: A barefoot approach

Grammar police:

don - put on (shoes)

doff - take off (shoes)
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