Welcome to Day #4 of #30PostsHathSept. [PLEASE READ all my other challenge posts HERE.] I hope you enjoy this!
Listen closely. Sometimes that which is most important comes in whispers. All around you are the hum of whispers, beating inside every heart. If our eyes could see well beyond the spectrum of light and into the hearts and minds of those around us, we would literally topple at the profound depth of human experience.
For example, right now there are people, some you know and some you don’t, walking around day after day with what can only be described as heavy boulders. Large slabs of stone more appropriate for quarries than held across one’s shoulders. You may not yet be able to admit it, but you are also carrying one.
These boulders can be massive, multiple in number, and staggering in their weight and dimensions. Sometimes the boulders are smaller, perhaps not as unmanageable, but no less important or oppressive.
It is my belief that each and every one of us carries some of these boulders. It’s as if we have accepted this role.
But what am I really talking about? I’m talking about stress and anxiety and fears.
It’s no surprise that anxiety and stress levels are rising. It touches the lives of 40 million U.S. adults and upwards of 12-20% of U.S. children and teens. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the country and its costs peak at $42 billion per year.
In one study, 80% of school-aged kids report moderate to extreme stress.
Individuals of all ages experience stress and anxiety. Infants wail when they are hungry. Toddlers may shriek during thunderstorms. Preschoolers often cry when separated from a parent. School-aged children feel anxiety in making friends. Teens struggle with anxiety due to exams, homework, and the onslaught of puberty’s changes. Adults worry about finances and health. The elderly feel the approach of life’s end and the accumulating losses of those who are dear.
But what if it were possible to make stress and anxiety work FOR us, not AGAINST us? What if we could stop carrying around the boulders?
The other day in my post on procrastination, I shared a TED.com video by Dr. Kelly McGonigal entitled “How To Make Stress your Friend”. If you haven’t yet watched it, please consider doing so.
The idea is that anxiety and stress can be manageable. Inside each of us exist the means of regulating stress if we allow ourselves to trust our own bodies. In moments of stress, neurotransmitters are released producing the fight or flight symptoms, but additionally there is the release of the love hormone oxytocin.
Oxytocin brings people together. Oxytocin can act as our personal social support system. Oxytocin protects our cardiovascular system. Oxytocin can calm us. Oxytocin is much more than a love hormone. It’s a LIFE hormone. It is our own personal affirmation system.
Yesterday I was reminded of this topic as I spent quality time with family watching a favorite episode of Doctor Who, in anticipation of the new Season 9 that begins September 19.
In the episode, entitled Listen, Peter Capaldi plays the 12th incarnation of the doctor in Doctor Who with Jenna Coleman (Clara) as his companion. I don’t want to reveal too much detail, for those who have yet to see it, but suffice it to say the episode can provide you with a renewed and healthy look at stress, anxiety, and fears.
Listen closely the next time you feel stress, anxiety, or fear. Be the one in control. Put down the boulders. Trust your body. Courage can grow like a phoenix from the fires of anxiety. In the words of A.A.Milne, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
We really are all alike in so many ways. We are a community. We are all part of the human race.
So please…whatever you do…LISTEN CLOSELY.
Listen, Dr. Who (2014, season 8)
Clara: “Listen. Listen. This is just a dream.
But very clever people can hear dreams.
So please, just listen.
I know you’re afraid. But being afraid is all right.
Because didn’t anybody ever tell you?
Fear is a super power.
Fear can make you faster,
And one day, you’re going to come back to this barn,
And on that day, you’re going to be very afraid indeed.
But that’s okay.
Because if you’re very wise
And very strong,
Fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly.
Fear can make you kind.
It doesn’t matter if there’s nothing under the bed,
Or in the dark,
So long as you know it’s okay to be afraid of it.
If you listen to nothing else, listen to this.
You’re always going to be afraid,
Even if you learn to hide it.
Fear is like…a companion.
A constant companion, always there.
But that’s okay, because fear can bring us together.
Fear can bring you home.
I’m going to leave you something, just so you’ll always remember –
Fear makes companions of us all.”
[You can enjoy all the daily posts from the #30PostsHathSept bloggers HERE]