There is no possible way that we, as humans, cannot react to the potentially “fearful” situations around us. The reptilian brain is millions of years old and protects us from danger – loud noises; nasty people; chaotic news and global economic fears. If someone is racing at you with a big stick to harm you, your reptilian brain will turn on the cortisol and get you the heck out of the way.
But what about the perceived dangers? Things we think might happen and we worry about? The reptilian brain keeps the cortisol pumping as we obsess about what might happen. It can easily wear us out. Stress overload and anxiety become the norm and we have little resistance or resilience left for us to use when the danger does come.
Nashville, TN was rocked by tornadoes on Monday night. We had the fear of them coming through all the news reports; the descending and the damage and now the aftermath of the storms. It is pretty terrible the actual toll and devastation of the tornadoes. As of this moment, 23 people died. Many people who made it through the storms, lost everything. I watched the news reports at sunrise this morning of the people “wandering” around their wrecked homes and trying to take in what they were seeing. Nashville is going to need a lot of help to recover.
What about you? You can see the wreckage of Nashville on your device and feel fear or hope. No one in Middle TN wanted this storm or the wreckage. However, this morning the first responders and the neighborhoods had already started cleaning and helping. The storm was real and the actions to begin to fix the situation have started. My heart and prayers are with all the people hurt by these storms. And my deep gratitude goes to those who are showing up to help.
There is our reality and then there is “OMG, what if” and how we are now living our lives. We are “what iffing” so many hours of our day and constantly pushing the ON button in our bodies to dump more cortisol into our bloodstream to ward off……..? Cortisol is toxic to our bodies after a while. We do not need to be ready to run or react 24/7.
I am not asking you to think lightly about what the media, economy, politics and the virus are telling us. I just want you to have some normal, relaxed, easy moments so you and your body can recover.
“Well Natalie, how the hell am I supposed to feel that way with the world the way it is?” That is a great question and I hope you adopt some of my answers:
- Stop thinking and breathe
- Breathe some more and move your body – get off your screen and phone
- Sing your favorite song loud and often
- Dance – even if it is bad dancing – did you know that you can heal your brain with music and dancing
- Hold someone’s hand and say gentle and nice things to them
- Shut your phone off for 2 hours and see how addicted you are to it
- Go to YouTube and watch lovely kitty and puppy stories – most of them are 6-8 minutes tops
- The Zen music (a new favorite of mine) healing, stress relief, negative thought videos can play in the background of any office or with earbuds
- Go to the restroom and look in the mirror and tell that remarkable person they are remarkable
The children’s instructions with fire issues taught by the Fire Department is that if you are on fire, stop, drop and roll. Good advice for all of us with this dramatic, stressed behavior of our own causing.
Stop. Breathe. Move. Laugh. Dance. Say something nice to someone…maybe even to yourself.
God bless Nashville. God bless everyone.
May we help?
To your success,
P.S. Listen to the music link above. It will help. I promise. Be well. I care so very much about you.