Harboring Negativity

I am going through a little personal challenge and as an already hyper-sensitive person, my nerves have sprung into über defensive mode. Yesterday I had one of those experiences where someone offended me, but my brain didn’t process that result until they’d already walked away. Thus, causing me to spend the next twenty-ish minutes simmering in annoyance. How I’d have handled it differently, what I’d have said, what I’d have NOT said with suggestion in my tone.
Well I had the same reaction to a situation at home last night and here I am again this morning. Inconsiderate actions are everywhere in the world. I live with four other people so I’m constantly, if unintentionally, the target of inconsiderate actions. I find myself wanting to retaliate, like this morning, which is not my personality and not the karmic response to a situation like this. Instead, one would hope they could rise above…understand that the inconsideration is unintentional, normally, and not directed at us as deliberate hurt.
Climbing out of one’s instinctual, physical reaction to inconsiderate treatment or words is the difficult part. Dragging oneself away from this bodily response and rushing of adrenaline, backing up your irritation and quite literally fueling the fire, is next to impossible for many of us. Letting the frustration and angry internal words bubble up is much more satisfying than halting the process and stepping away to investigate. But why is that? Instead of resisting the temptation to surrender to the stress, I allowed it to saturate my brain in cortisol, rattling my nervous system and releasing armies of chemicals throughout my body. Doesn’t that sound awfully violent? Well, that’s the body and brain’s natural reaction to stress (read more about it at http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/stress.html) and there’s no differentiation between a frustrating roommate or co-worker and an actual disaster.
Which brings something to mind…a true disaster is what many of us live our daily lives afraid of and praying to never encounter. Most of us are blessed and fortunate enough to encounter very few true disastrous tragedies in our lives. So shouldn’t that assist us in living peaceful, calm lives on a daily basis? No, we continue to get aggravated behind the wheel, in line at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office waiting room. Let’s not beat ourselves up, because that’s not what this post is about. This post is about learning to be more understanding of our body’s physical response to the outside world and how we can attempt to control it. Sometimes things happen where it’s not feasible to step back and breathe through it, fighting the stress reaction within one’s own body. Other times, with conscious effort, perhaps we can begin to try and rate the severity of a situation before submitting to the hormonal drill sergeant’s ambush on our stress. As I type this, my initial reaction is, “Eek I might forget to do that.” That’s an honest reaction. And yet, my second thought is, “My body would probably really appreciate that.”
Think of it this way. Our brains have the capacity to analyze a situation and perhaps even stave off the armies standing protectively at the nerve endings of our bodies. Our hormones, oppositely, are like those friends who react just as devotedly and emphatically to a minor crisis as they do to a “true disaster,” as I put it. We must be sympathetic of this and try to avert whatever we can for these little soldiers. Our brains, our bodies and our minds will all thank us.
Not to mention our mood, sleep, skin, hair, appetite and loved ones! Stress wreaks havoc on every aspect of our being. With a scary world out there, let’s leave the big stress reactions to things that actually challenge us and avoid the big cortisol-fest during minor irritations such as what I experienced yesterday and this morning. Are you with me?


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