I don’t know about you, but with everything that has been going on in this country lately, it seems as though the calm will never return.
We have been dealing with the aftermath of Sandy (with another Nor’easter bearing down on us as I write this post) along with the constant barrage of information, signage, advertising and robo-calls generated by our political campaigns.
There have been sharp words and denigrating comments hurled back and forth from both sides of the race and I saw little evidence of tolerance for those who may have different perspectives. I guess it makes for ‘good’ TV chatter and headlines but for me it just becomes brain scramble after a while. I think most people are really just glad when Election Day gets here and we can put an end to that long, drawn-out process that is our election cycle. And while some are disappointed and others heartened by the outcome of the election, I think that some of the stress of the lead-up lessens now that the votes have been cast and tallied.
So whether you are gladdened or saddened by the outcome of the election, affected or not by hurricane Sandy, maybe it is time to take a deep breath and consider the words of these children:
“I’ve learned that humming a tune when you’re upset can ease your mind.”
Maybe you need to hum a tune today to ease your mind. Music can lift your spirit in times of sadness, disappointment and fatigue. In an article titled “The Power of Music to Reduce Stress,” Jane Collingwood writes:
“Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet, classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”
Sounds like a pretty good return on investment if you ask me! If you are feeling stressed today, hum a tune or find some time to listen to something relaxing for you; in the car on your way to or from work, as you fix dinner for your family, as you work at your desk throughout the day. Whatever, whenever, just find time to enjoy a tune or two and feel your body release the stress!
“I’ve learned that when you are really stressed out, the cure is to put two miniature marshmallows up your nose and try to snort them out.”
Well, yes, sometimes we need to simply do something that makes us laugh. Kids are great at finding ways and reasons to laugh. A 4-year-old will laugh an average of 300 times/day; a 40-year-old adult a measly 4 times! What happened to us? I know we all grew up hearing that laughter is the best medicine, so why don’t we take more of it (it might just help people get off of those blood pressure medications!). Laughter, literally, enlivens us by producing health-enhancing hormones (those good old endorphins) and decreasing the stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine and dopamine). It increases blood flow to the heart and boosts our immune functions. When we laugh, we relax and improve our mood and outlook. Hey, another good ROI! And fun to boot!
“I’ve learned that God gives you a new gift every day.”
Sometimes we just need to take a step back from the negative, the disappointments, fears, worries, etcetera, and look for the gift we have been given in that particular day. Even on days when it feels like there can’t be anything that we could consider a ‘gift’, if we really look hard enough, we usually can find it; it might simply be the smile of a stranger, a hot cup of coffee or a pet curled up at your feet; a joke that makes you laugh (big bonus) or music that lifts you up (another bonus).
I think that it’s clear that children have much to teach us. These lessons that they shared helped me to put into perspective the jangle of issues that we have just experienced. And while many will continue to suffer the after effects of Sandy and others will hold on to the disappointment of the outcome of the election, I hope that those reading here will try to elevate themselves from the stress by listening to some music, having a good laugh and looking for the gift in their day.
On the journey with you…….Kathy
(Quote: Age 14, 11, 7- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)