A half-century ago, a guitarist named James Taylor sang the popular ballad FIRE and RAIN. These days, our left coast is in fire season and our east coast is now in hurricane and tropical storm season. JT certainly faced his own challenges and demons through seasons of flames and wetness. In similar fashion, most of us face extended ups and downs, hot and cold stints, loneliness and social closeness, stressors both good and bad.
Repeat after Koach Dave (and Hans Selye);
“It is not stress that kills you. It is your reaction to it.”
Granted, that is another easy to recite yet hard to execute aphorism. Yet in trying times like this half-year of general lockdown in America, we SHOULDN’T react by letting our cortisol escalate. Rather, we SHOULD consciously and mindfully:
Hum – Get your Vagus nerve system in tip top shape to lower your stress.
Laugh – even if it’s close to tongue-in-cheek military humor like “EMBRACING the SUCK.”
Hug (even if the motion is vicarious or self-hugging). A happy hormone named OXYTOCIN can be triggered by mental and/or physical imaging of cuddles and hugs. Honest! And note that this is a far different chemical than the opiod painkiller – OXYCONTIN. Far Different, thankfully. Yes! There are other meaningful ways to get happy hormones flowing in ya! Can you spell YOGA? How about a random act of kindness? And yes – coupled banana hammocks or pulsing lotuses work too.
Go Up on the Roof – circling back to James Taylor, who redid (in 1979) The Drifter’s song written by Carol King. I cannot count the number of times I’ve hummed or sang “Rooftop” lines striving to be “peaceful as can be.”
Am I forgetting about “flow” or runner’s highs to counter one’s stress? No, I was just saving the bedrock role of moving to sweat for your natural HIGH as a last 🙂 counter to little and big stressors…My kind of reward system!
Endorphins, which are our natural opiod-like uppers, are almost heaven! I hope that you can experience those second winds like I did in my running days. My rower’s highs are pretty good too! How about you and yours?
Please deal or cope with fire and rain in a way or in ways that work for you. Sure – hugging in COVID days is a challenge, yet is is not MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, Mr. Phelps. A Virginia Tech aerosol researcher advises that risks aren’t too high if you need a physical embrace – Follow the DOs List from the NY Times, and avoid the DON’Ts if you want or need that physical contact.
This too shall pass. Until then, try to get where most “cares just drift right into space.” KABOOM.