Pain or Perspective
As you probably know I row a lot, in a boat on the river … not arguing with people! The fitter I become the more I seem to have constant aches and pains. Perhaps it’s my age but I honestly don’t remember getting all these twinges when I was flabby and unfit!
This got me to thinking. Am I in pain because my muscles are growing and being worked? Have they been overworked? If I get a twinge in my shoulder I might move it, rub it and perhaps say “ouch”, I don’t assume it is a permanent condition. Firstly, I ignore it and it goes off. If it doesn’t then I might stretch it and then I might work it hard and then stretch it. If it doesn’t go away then I might go to a physio.
Does that work too for the brain: I laugh about my brain hurting if someone sets me one of those mental arithmetic challenges. The more we do to stretch the brain of course, the easier things become – neuroscience and indeed practice tells us that. If we still struggle; we seek the advice of a professional teacher!
And what about emotional range?
Like the Spring Weather when we can have all the seasons in 24 hours, I can go through a whole gamut of emotions in a day. When in the company of others, being an extrovert, I draw energy and have a tendency to laugh. And I don’t expect to laugh constantly. I feel lifted in that moment and the joyful experience may remain for a little while and I don’t expect it to remain permanently.
Why is it then, when we feel blue, it feels like a life sentence? Why is it that when we go under a cloud we feel trapped?
Please believe me, I am not talking about depression here and it all starts somewhere. I have taken to treating those sinking moments of sadness like a pain anywhere else in my body – transient – “Ouch, I’ve got an emotion! It’ll pass!”
I might try and distract myself with a different emotion ie do some housework, that always makes me cross, but at least I’m not miserable anymore! Sometimes I indulge in revelling in it until I’m totally bored. Other times it can be really hard work to make myself do the exercise to release the endorphins which lift me or to go around hugging enough people for the dopamine to kick in!!!
Just taking action, knowing and trusting that it WILL pass can be enough to make it pass.
So far, so good … thought I’d share … try it and tell me how you get on.