Between ME/CFS Awareness Day (May 12th)/Week (May 11-17)/Month(May) and Mother’s Day, this week has been an emotional doozy for many of us. Mother’s Day is always a rough one for me as I lost my mom in ’02. She passed of heart failure and incurable anemia but had many of the same symptoms I now have. I believe to the bottom of my toes that she in fact had CFS and was misdiagnosed. So to have May 12th, ME/CFS Awareness Day, and Mother’s Day come back to back was a lot to bear. But there are some things in life that come around and all you can do is control is how you react. Previously when faced with overwhelming stress I would do like any experienced introvert does and curl up with a good book until the dust had settled and it was safe to come out. These days that’s less of an option so I’ve had to find new ways to get to other side of things. I thought I’d share a few of my newer coping tools with you in case you too are feeling a little emotionally weighed down recently. I’ll forewarn you, these are nothing new or groundbreaking just gentle reminders.
Before I get started with that list I thought I’d share a little science with you that came from this article.
“For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, or excited. The feel-good neurotransmitters — dopamine, endorphins and serotonin — are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.”
It’s been well proven that simply smiling can fool your brain into thinking you are actually happy. I’m the first to admit it feels a little odd just sitting there smiling while waiting for your brain to get the hint and do its thing, the below list can help induce that happy feeling, and maybe also help you find a genuine smile in the process.
- Pandora and Netflix comedy – As you likely know Netflix has loads of stand-up comedy routines, but did you know you can search comedy on Pandora and find comedy stations? I’m not making any promises that you’ll enjoy the humor, to each his own. Here’s the thing, sometimes you just have to ‘lighten up’, as my mother used to say, and relax and enjoy the show. Maybe you find it silly and ridiculous but in that very moment it’s just important to smile, get those happy chemicals flowing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pretty low and thought to myself that I didn’t want to listen or watch but lo and behold each time when the show is over, I’m smiling, and feeling a bit better.
- Music – Music might not make you smile but it does have the ability to take you away. With this one I try to go instrumental so that I don’t get caught in any emotional cobwebs, considering my mission is happiness. Art of Noise on Pandora is one I absolutely love. In fairness I love almost every type of music and it’s a happy place for me so this one might not be for everyone. Even if music is not for you though please know there have been proven studies showing listening to music is a good pain reliever and emotional booster. Am I trying to twist your arm to give it a try? Yes, maybe a little. 😉
- Google ‘cute pictures [topic]’ (of whatever you think is cute) – Okay you’re thinking this is cheesy. It is! It is so cheesy, but you know what? It works! I don’t know if brain chemicals are at work or what but looking at photos of things we find cute, for me it’s puppies, or sweet, just feels good, which in turn can bring you a smile, and we know that smiling definitely releases those yummy chemicals.
Again, these aren’t rocket science, they are ways to hopefully lift yourself out a little, ways to lighten the mood. They aren’t a cure, nor am I firm believer in the philosophy that moods shouldn’t be felt. I think most moods have a time and place, I’m more referring to those times when you feel stuck or need a break from feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and need a few minutes of a lightness.
Thank you for popping by and having a read. I’m thinking if you’ve made it this far you’ve probably been following along on my journey. I’m happy to report that the trembling and myriad of other symptoms have let up a bit. I’m no longer waking up in full tremble, now the trembling is just coming and going with exertion, baby steps. Still very much so wiped out, had to cancel doctor’s appointment yesterday as I was simply unable to go, but it’s rescheduled and I do have another one next Monday so my fingers are crossed I’ll be able to go to that one. Hoping today has been especially kind to you and if it hasn’t hoping tomorrow is better than today.
A few more of my little watercolors, which also bring me happiness, mostly because I tend to laugh while pondering what I’d hoped my painting would like vs what it actually looks like.😁