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Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being Paperback – October 19, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


“This book is a prescription for mental wellness that has no bad side effects. Walking, like drawing, is a human activity that calms the brain and induces insight. . . . Buy several copies--you’ll be handing this book out to friends.” (Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain)

“In presenting respectable research and scholarship on how the mundane-seeming, everyday activity of walking balances the brain’s laterality, Thom Hartmann brings a scholar’s concentration to his subject, a storyteller’s sense of enchantment, and a humanitarian’s concern with the issues that matter.” (Stephen Larsen, author of The Healing Power of Neurofeedback)

“Thom Hartmann’s work with bilateral movement is a fascinating and important contribution to holistic healing modalities and a timely tool for healing many crises of our modern times.” (James Endredy, author of Ecoshamanism and Earthwalks for Body and Spirit)

From the Back Cover


“This book is a prescription for mental wellness that has no bad side effects. Walking, like drawing, is a human activity that calms the brain and induces insight. . . . Buy several copies--you’ll be handing this book out to friends.”
--Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Our bodies usually heal rapidly from an illness, injury, or wound. Yet our minds and hearts often suffer for years with debilitating symptoms of distress or upset. Why is it so hard for our minds and hearts to heal? One simple key to healing them can be just a short walk away.

Walking--a bilateral therapy that has been a part of human life throughout history--allows people to heal emotionally as quickly as they do physically. Normally the brain converts our daily experiences into long-term memories. However, a traumatic experience can become “stuck” in the brain, unable to be stored as “memory” and persisting in the brain as if it were still a present-time event. Thom Hartmann explains that when we walk, which engages both sides of the body, we simultaneously activate both the left and right sides of the brain. This allows the brain’s two hemispheres to join forces to break up brain patterning and allow the sufferer to release these distresses--from extreme but brief upsets to chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

To achieve these results, Hartmann shows how we must learn to walk consciously, holding an awareness of the distress (or desire we hope to attain) in mind as we move. Using a variety of case studies, he demonstrates that it is possible to dissolve the rigidity of a traumatic memory or negative mind state in as little as a half hour’s time. His techniques have proven successful in helping to alleviate rage resulting from a domestic dispute as well as the chronic traumas soldiers experience during war that are often locked away for decades. While the physical benefits of walking have long been recognized, its importance in promoting and maintaining mental health has only recently been rediscovered. Hartmann’s deceptively simple, yet potent exercises allow us to create our own walking journeys to restore our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being as well as rejuvenate our body’s health.

THOM HARTMANN is the award-winning, bestselling author of over a dozen books, including The Edison Gene, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, and Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception. His groundbreaking work in ADD/ADHD and psychotherapy has been featured in TIME magazine, the New York Times, and in media around the world. He lives in Oregon.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (October 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594771448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594771446
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the four-time Project Censored Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 23 books currently in print in over a dozen languages on five continents.
Hartmann is also an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics.
The co-founder (with his wife, Louise) and former Executive Director of The New England Salem Children's Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
He has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and refugee centers in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, Russia, and the United States through the German-based Salem International program. Formerly rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, founder of The Michigan Healing Arts Center, and licensed as an NLP Trainer by Richard Bandler (who wrote the foreword to one of Thom's books), he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
A guest faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont, he also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world's ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that many of our problems are grounded in cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years.
Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and Warner Brothers is making a movie starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro from the book Thom co-authored with Lamar Waldron, "Legacy of Secrecy."
Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their "Heavy Hundred" ranking. His radio show is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial-Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio, on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide.
His evening TV program, The Big Picture, is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US, and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries via broadcast and cable by the RT TV network, and distributed worldwide on the web on Hulu.
As an entrepreneur, he's founded several successful businesses which still are operating, and lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three (now adult) children on several continents.
He was born and grew up in Michigan, and retains strong ties to the Midwest, although he and Louise have lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Georgia, Germany, and Oregon...and now live on a boat in Washington D.C. with their attack-cat, Higgins.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Dave Smith on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Don't let the lightweight title, cover, and page-count fool you. This is a breakthrough book, and not just another self-help, happy-talk rip-off. This book can stand proudly next to the most academic psychological tome, and replace much of the pop psychology pap moldering on our bookshelves.

To be open to something so important, one first has to know who the author is, what he stands for, and why he can be trusted. I've read several of Thom Hartmann's books, and listened to his daily progressive radio program numerous times. I can only state emphatically: This is a gifted man we can trust. He is the real deal. (See my earlier post on him for more info.)

The basics of the book are these:

1. Our bodies are self-healing if we feed it the right food and exercise it properly under the right conditions. Shouldn't our minds and emotions also be self-healing?

2. Rhythmic, bilateral movement is the way we've healed ourselves from traumatic, psychological wounds for hundreds of thousands of years. But until now, we didn't know how it worked.

3. "Bilaterality is the ability to have the right and left hemispheres of the brain fully functional and communicating with each other."

4. Freud's early, very successful work was based on Bilaterality techniques, but after some unfortunate, sensationalistic historical events, he was forced to abandon it for mostly unsuccessful "talk-therapy" methods. Freud tried, but failed, for years to find an equally-successful technique. This history is crucial to our understanding of why psychotherapy evolved the way it did.

5. Devastating events can haunt our every waking moment for years.
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Bill on November 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
When a self-improvement book is reviewed I always look for actual experience from people who have tried the methods in the book - not just those read it and agree with it. Well now I am reviewing 'Walk Your Blue's Away' and I can say unequivocally IT WORKS, at least for me. All of my adult life I have been prone to depressive episodes from rejection and loss - even if the loss is very small. Recently a loving and satisfying relationship of 5 years was broken off by my partner. I knew from experience I was poised to nosedive into depression. This was despite many years of zealous embrace of cognitive behavior therapy in which the two sides of the brain battle. An adverse event triggers dejection, anger, depression. With cognitive therapy you have to identify the irrational thought that supposedly triggers your negative emotions, dispute the thought, and find a rational and sensible substitute thought. The problem was the negative emotions would take sometimes years to dissipate and I was constantly ruminating and flashing back to previous events. What Thom's book does is address healing. When you heal from emotional trauma with this method, the two sides of the brain actually are successful in integrating reason and emotion. With cognitive therapy reason and emotion seemed to constantly battle one another without resolution. You might win a battle but the next day another begins. I contend that after 5 daily walks following the simple guidelines of the book, the crushing sadness of rejection has lifted. The memories that previously would trigger bouts of depression are still there but now in the distance. They no longer dominate my mood allowing me to concentrate and get on with my life.Read more ›
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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Just as a person with a severe hemispheric imbalance can be badly disconnected from emotions such as empathy, and thus sanction or even encourage actions such as mass murder that is war, so too can an entire society. In the opinion of some researchers, societies that are hemispherically unbalanced are more likely to be patriarchal, hierarchal, and violent, whereas societies that are hemispherically balanced are more likely to be egalitarian and democratic, and employ violence only in self-defense." - From the book

Remember the caricatures of stage hypnotists brandishing a swinging pocket watch while intoning "Look into my eyes..." ? Well, according to author Thom Hartmann, this type of hypnosis was actually a bona fide psychiatric therapy in the late 1700's and early 1800's. In fact, Franz Anton Mesmer ("mesmerize") was the first person to develop a system of bilateral cross-hemispheric stimulation by waving his fingers side to side while a patient followed with their eyes. Mesmer discovered that his system was quite effective in resolving non-organic physical and psychological problems. That is, psychosomatic conditions or issues rooted in emotional trauma.

In the late 1800's, Sigmund Freud--a protégé of Josef Breuer--discovered the power of bilateral therapy in the form of alternatively stroking both sides of the body, a technique that Mesmer first developed. In fact, in the 1880's and early 1890's, Freud's preferred method of treatment wasn't talk therapy (which is what he became famous for) but a bilateral technique known as hypnosis.

In Walking Your Blues Away, author Thom Hartmann traces Freud's sudden discontinuance of hypnosis to the popularity of the book Trilby, authored by George Du Maurier in 1894.
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