One of the things that we do not do enough of, especially in the Western world, is that we don’t spend enough time in our right brain. Most of us may even feel uncomfortable when not focusing on intellectual, linear, logical thinking. At The Exclusive, we purposely design and incorporate experiential therapies to provide you the opportunity to engage the right hemisphere of your brain where emotional, intuitive and creative healing takes place.
Why do we want you to access the right brain in addiction recovery and for any other mental health challenges? Research shows that play, meditation, and artistic pursuits relieve stress, improve brain function, stimulate the mind and boost creativity, improve relationships and it help the person feel younger and more energetic. At The Exclusive we also value that counseling effectiveness requires the integration of both right- and left-brain processing.
Right and Left Brain Hemispheres
The two hemispheres of the brain are two distinct lobes and are connected by a flat bundle of neural fibers about 10 cm long (corpus callosum) through which information is exchanged. Scientists continue to study the processes for which each hemisphere is responsible.
The left side of the brain is responsible for rational, logical, and abstract cognition and conscious knowledge.
The right side of the brain is associated with unconscious social and emotional learning, and includes intuition, empathy, creativity, and flexibility.
Right Brain Fun and Play
Fun and play shouldn’t end in childhood. Experiential Therapy to cultivate love, passion and fun help participants get out of their analytical minds experiencing fun together in less structured, creative ways. The goal is to awaken your intuition, enliven bigger picture thinking and expose you to different solutions to solve problems. Its also pleasurable — and healthy pleasures are key to addiction recovery.
These activities are customized depending on who’s in the program and each person’s individual interests, talents and gifts.
When you are present and fully engaged in a playful activity, it affects your entire being on a cellular level. For example, in laughter yoga you may be laughing out loud engaging your abdominal muscles, taking in more oxygen and increasing blood circulation to your brain and your entire body! Additionally, your body releases and mixture of endorphins, which are basically happy hormones which are the antidote to depression. In the process of laughter exercises, you can actually fake it and get results because researchers found that your body doesn’t know if the laughter is fake, it simply releases substances that improve your mood and wellbeing. You simply participate with the experience and fully engage while your body creates a more vital, healthful environment.
Through activities like these, you will begin to have an experience of freedom and to identify with more love, compassion and fun — all essential elements in your return to your natural radiance and childlike joy.
Children are a perfect examples of all-in engagement. They don’t analyze anything. They just launch into every experience with curiosity. Experiential therapies to cultivate love, passion and fun are about entering and having experiences without over-analyzing them. Through the willingness to fully engage, you will begin to transform yourself into a happier, more alive participant in living the life you have dreamed of living.
Examples of experiential activities:
- My favorite song. In this activity you can choose your favorite song and learn to play and/or sing the song on a musical instrument under the guidance of a guest musician. This can also take the form of jam sessions, karaoke or private lessons.
- Painting with a several options of media and tools
- Sculpture with art therapist Grady
- Joyful body movement and dance
- Chi Gung exercises
- Frisbee on the beach
- Team volleyball or badminton
- Games indoors and outdoors
- Hula hooping
- Pool ‘party’, fun and silliness in the pool with music
- Guest concerts
- Laughter Yoga and Brain Gym
- Volunteer crafts and activities at local youth center
- Horse therapy
- …..the sky’s the limit! (Sorry, we don’t do sky diving! 🙂 )
The point is not about playing volleyball or Frisbee, etc., it is about moving the body, and having fun throwing the ball/Frisbee.
It is about engaging in all these different ways. Hula hoop class can be so fun, people cannot help but crack up laughing because they feel silly.
“Cultivating childlike enthusiasm” is the motto of Laughter Yoga, which also applies to other forms of play.
The mind will come on board and say, ‘Well, that looks stupid, I don’t want to do that’. The key is that it’s not about what you’re doing, but the focus is to release the analytical mind that will otherwise undermine spontaneity and freedom of expressing.