Whenever I or my friends are stressed, we have found that animals bring significant comfort to our lives. In my apartment, we have emotional support rats which have helped us destress and also bond with each other!
I recently indulged in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Podcasts that I found to be particularly relevant to what we are doing at OOTify and what is going on in the world today. First, let me say that this is not a plug for Malcolm Gladwell or his podcast, but really, you should listen to it. It is excellent and he is a brilliant writer and researcher! If you have not heard the podcast or read his books do yourself a favor and dive in. You will not be disappointed. The episode I’m referring to is the August 1st episode “Descend into the Particular”. It is the third episode in a 3 part series where he is discussing the Jesuit way of thinking referred to as Casuistry. This particular episode is using the hot button issue of law enforcement shootings and people’s perceptions of them to illustrate his point that history is not exactly how we have perceived it and that it can be thought of in different ways. He highlights a story of a man who was shot by police officers in New Mexico in 2016. He opens the episode with the information that the public was initially given: that the young latino man was shot too many times and was unarmed. Malcom Gladwell then goes on several masterful tangents as only he can and comes back to this story to finish the episode. It turns out that the young Latino man had committed suicide by cop. Malcolm Gladwell interviews the criminologist who examined the case during the trial brought about by the victim’s family and they proceed to “descend into the particulars”. They go into the back-story of this young man who had been seeing a therapist and who had been having suicidal thoughts. They discuss the particulars of the young man’s actions leading up to the shooting and review police video. Malcolm Gladwell then talks to the young man’s brother who proceeds to tell him that he had no idea that his brother had been seeing a therapist or that he had been struggling with depression. This is when I decided to write this post. It is in line with some of my past posts. There are too many people out there suffering in silence. There ended up being three victims in this case; the actual victim who died, his family and the officer who killed him. This all likely could have been prevented if this young man could have reached out for help, if he had a good support system. I don’t know about the family or about this unfortunate young man, but I can’t help but think that this sort of thing is preventable. A strong support system is invaluable when you are going through difficult times and it can potentially save your life. If you need help it is out there. http://revisionisthistory.com/seasons
Ever wonder why you feel so relaxed after a deep message or a day at a lake or the beach? Ever get annoyed by how swiftly this wonderful relaxed state dissipates once we walk out of the spa or come back from the beach? Think of it this way : the body responds to our external surroundings . Guided by our five senses our internal physiology responds to external cues like a massage or the sea air or sounds of the waves. Remember this after a day of worry and overthinking. Internal thoughts impact our body as directly as the sun or sea. We forget that our thoughts are essentially the internal environment of our body that responds to our thoughts and moods on every level of our physiology. However the physiological effects of negative or stressful thinking does not dissipate swiftly like a message or a day on the beach. This is because a negative thought generates a deeper longer lasting after affect that moves more slowly out of our system because tension gets stuck deeply in our bodies on all levels While lighter experiences like joy and gratitude are restorative and drench our body and mind with relaxation ; when we are overthinking in negative ways we carve out deeper grooves of responses to help protect ourselves. What starts to respond to negativity are the defense systems of our bodies. The adrenal and limbic systems ( to name only 2 ) get turned on and ready to defend. These systems relax when we are in pure relaxed states but if the stressful or negative thoughts continue without awareness our bodily systems continue to protect and defend ourselves against our stressful internal thoughts. The key is not to eliminate stress from our lives because that is impossible. The key is how aware you are of how your particular brand or style of thinking impacts your own body which not only includes our moods and behaviors . If you disconnect from this mind - body relationship (which in the world we often do) we can numb out and not even realize how much our body is trying to tell us about the health of our mind- body state. Bessel Van Der Kolk said it best in the title of his most recent book: ” The Body Keeps The Score”
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