Emotion Comes from Motion
If this sounds familiar, you have probably also heard of Tony Robbins. He is the motivational speaker who teaches that emotion comes from motion.
The best way to unpack this idea is to remember the last time you danced. Take a minute to picture that in your head. I am guessing you are smiling right now. Am I right?
Scientists are still studying the connection between emotions and motions, but they already know a little bit about how it works.
When we move, endorphins are released in the brain. Endorphins make you feel good. So, after moving, you feel good. If you haven't exercised in a while, you might also feel sore and tired, but you should also feel good.
If you don't believe me, try it. Dancing is the fastest way to release those endorphins (just my opinion, not a scientific fact). I dare you, try to dance for even two minutes without smiling. You might smile because you feel goofy, but that is okay! Your brain is releasing endorphins, and that is all that matters!
While I think that learning about the emotion-motion connection will help you, as a teacher, I am not sharing this information just to make your life better. I am sharing it because I think it is a powerful tool that we can use in the classroom.
Kids spend so much time sitting. At school, they sit at their desks. At home, they sit on the couch. They even sit on the bus on the way to school! These kids are not moving! No wonder they feel lethargic!
Luckily, it doesn't take long to get a shot of endorphins from motion. Why do you think every kid loves recess? They are moving!
Positive emotions are essential to learning. Emotions are controlled deeper in the brain than thinking, so emotions will always override thinking. If a person is feeling sad or angry, their brains will focus on those feelings, not on reading, writing, or math. On the other hand, if a brain is full of endorphins, learning is easier. We actually become "smarter" when we are happy.
So, here are a few ideas to try in your classroom to take advantage of the emotion-motion connection.
1. Turn on a popular kid song and lead a dance party. (Kidz Bop songs are great. I am also loving the Moana soundtrack - you try not dancing to "You're Welcome!")
2. Go outside and play with your students! Sharks and Minnows is a super fun game that requires no equipment.
3. Try yoga with your kids. Don't forget the soothing music!
4. Send a kid that is having a hard time in class on an errand. Just walking may change her mood!
I bet a lot of you are already using motion in your classroom! Share what you are doing in the comments!
Thanks for reading!