Sometimes things just don’t go as planned! There is a long line at the check out counter, a wait at the doctor’s office, an accident on the free-way, or a colleague is running late. These are quite obvious situations that are out of our control, but can delay our plans. You may notice that as the wait goes on, your frustration and irritation levels go up. Maybe you get anxious because of the impending delay on your next activity for the day. There are many ways that we can react to unplanned events that seem to interrupt our plans. Some people quietly await their chance. Maybe they have nothing else on their schedule for the day. Or maybe, they noticed the futility of their frustration and accept that the situation is out of their hands. Who do you think enjoyed the time that passed more?
Wellness isn’t only about our physical being, but also our mental/emotional being. Which in turn affects our physical being! The stress and anxiety of the resistance to a situation cause your adrenal glands (near the kidneys) to release cortisol into the blood. This is your body’s call to action to the resolve the stressing situation. You may have heard of this as the fight or flight response, but in our day and age it has become the tip of our tolerance level or a motivation to action. This is where we often either get up and leave, begin making comments or shift into anger and frustration. The cortisol that remains in the blood affects your metabolism, beaks down muscle tone and suppresses the immune system. By getting up and moving, you alleviate the source of your stress and the release of cortisol. Reacting with anger and frustration also reduces cortisol but it creates tension in your heart, increasing your heart rate and testosterone production. This leads to the increased aggression and the feeling of the “blood boiling.”
So how can we approach these situations in a way that is better for our health? Remember that curious individual quietly awaiting their turn while every one else is frustrated, yelling and honking? It can help to take yourself out of your own schedule and look at each of the people around you. Everyone has their own agenda and goals to achieve and you aren’t the only one that is inconvenienced (usually). Consider the person you perceive to be causing your inconvenience, who knows what their day has held? Then, consider yourself, your values and morals. Take take 10 deep breaths (this works by stimulating the Vagus nerve which disengages the stress response). Then ask yourself “Is it really worth getting worked up over?” If you determine that it is, then go for it! Share your opinion and see what can done. If you determine that it isn’t, then you have many options for patiently awaiting your opportunity! You can use the breath awareness practice we’ve been working on, try coloring an abstract design (like the one below), or contact the person that you maybe causing an inconvenience for and give them a heads up! Because of the damaging affects of cortisol, try to do some physical activity before the end of the day to rid your blood of the excess hormone. Animals often respond to excess hormones like cortisol and adrenaline by shaking, which relaxes the muscles and reduces the hormone levels. For a quick release try shaking out your arms and legs!