“I have a gut feeling he’s lying.”
Do you listen to your gut feelings, or do you ignore them and rely more on logic? Science tells us these gut checks are a function of our brains working with our bodies through a network of nerves and neurons.
Many use hypnoses, yoga, meditation, or bio-feedback to utilize that network. It reduces pain, anxiety, and stress. The more I read, the more I realize stress can be deadly. People who are constantly in a state of high alert have elevated blood pressure. This stresses the heart and vascular system, and may lead to heart attacks or strokes. Additionally, this high anxiety state releases certain stress hormones that suppress the immune system, leaving people more susceptible to infections and even cancers.
I found an interesting site that examines the psycho-emotional roots of disease. https://chopra.com/articles/mind-body-connection-understanding-the-psycho-emotional-roots-of-disease
Keeping Sane in Difficult Times
What I miss most while sheltering in place, is people contact. Telephone calls and Zoom just don’t cut it for me. I was surprised, because so much of what I like to do is, by nature, solitary — writing, quilting, reading. I discovered how much being with friends fills my emotional and mental reservoir. Frankly, solitude is not normal and never will be. We were created to be social creatures and not even Covid 19 will change that.
There are times I feel downright depressed living such a circumscribed life, so I appreciated discovering this site that offers some practical suggestions to maintain good emotional health — https://familydoctor.org/mindbody-connection-how-your-emotions-affect-your-health/
They define good emotional health as being “self-aware of feelings and behaviors.” Apparently, while life is full of various stressors, the way we cope with stressors determines how we feel about ourselves and relate to others. Even good events, like getting married, can be a stressor!
- Try to identify your emotions. You may “feel bad”, but is that feeling anger, resentment, sorrow, fear? Can you name the emotion?
- It’s okay to express your feelings in an appropriate manner.
- Focus on positive elements of your life, not just the negative. Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS, and author of Beating Cancer with Nutrition, spoke about the importance of a positive outlook with this story.
When asked how she managed to live well into her nineties, a woman told about the day her father buried her pet. She was a little girl, sobbing, as she watched her father bury her dog. Her grandfather gently led her to another window. It overlooked their garden, and all was peaceful amid the flowers and trees. She soon stopped crying. Her grandfather said, “You were just looking out the wrong window.”
- Develop resilience. I feel better after sharing a concern or traumatic experience with a friend. Besides relying on our social supports, we need to accept change and keep a perspective. I know there will be tremendous changes in our impending “new normal,” whatever that will be. I could assume everything will be worse, or I can choose to hope there will be changes for the better.
- Engage in activities you find calming — listen to music, meditate, commune with nature.
- Finally, just as our emotions affect our physical bodies, so the condition of our bodies affects our emotional state. This is a great time to add more nutrition and eliminate processed junk foods from our diets, get enough sleep (easier since many are working from home), and fit in some exercise.
For all my years in nursing, I repeatedly found that listening to my gut led to better outcomes. Sometimes just rechecking a patient turned out to be a wise decision, as the combination of learned physiology and my general alert system coalesced to warn me of changes.
Even now in my daily life I trust my gut to alert me if something just doesn’t “feel” right. When my widowed friend and neighbor met a promising suitor on a senior match web site, I warned her to be careful about sharing information with him. Sadly my gut was proven to be reliable when he started seeking money from her to shore up his business.
Sometimes I wonder if relying on my gut is inhibiting me from trying new experiences; that’s where I might just have to try to jump out of my “box” and take a risk. Don’t worry, though; if I do that I will weigh the pluses and minuses!
I have every faith in your good judgement, Cathy. It is true about those “feelings” we nurses get about our patients. Sometimes you know something is brewing, even though all the signs (temperature, pulse, blood pressure)”look” good.
As soon as I have issues with “gut” feelings (physical or otherwise) I seek a quiet place, submit to the Lord and His Word, even if it is a short passage in my journal. It may not seem as if I’m getting His message right away–but the first thing that comes over me is calm. He works the rest out through His peace–and I’m astounded at how His Word fits those moments.
Amazing, isn’t it.