The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Squirrel

Good morning. That is a different start to a blog. The reason I thought about that is an email I get most mornings from my wife. You see, she gets up at the most unearthly hour to get to work. When I finally get up, at a time that I still think is too early, she is already at work. And quite often when I check my emails over a cup of tea, yes, you heard right, tea, I have an email from her entitled “Good Morning”. And in the email she will include some words of encouragement for the day. As that has helped me I am saying good morning to you in hopes that what I write and you read will provide some encouragement to you.

In my last few posts, and it has been awhile, I referred to a parrot sitting on my shoulder. And the more I think about it the more sense it makes. And when I share that with clients and others they too understand the concept. For others it seems to have made them wonder who I really am. One reader, who I have worked with in my mediation work, laughed as she said that my reference to a parrot was “so not like you”. Wait till she sees this one. I am going to talk about squirrels. Perhaps I could start my own TV show on the National Geographic channel.

I recently chatted with a client and asked him if anxiety was a person or thing how he would describe it. With little hesitation he answered “a squirrel”. I found that intriguing. As we delved into it further the concept really made sense to me. Imagine a squirrel. Very active. Quite noisy. Flits from place to place. Never runs in a straight line. Hops from tree to tree. Quite agile. Can be intrusive. Always on the lookout. Never a dull moment. I wonder, do they ever sleep?

Now compare that to anxiety. Many people I talk to describe how anxiety creates a myriad of thoughts running through their minds. And just as you deal with one thought another one comes rushing in. Scurrying about in your gray matter, jumping from one thought to another. Puts you on edge. We become spooked. Never knowing what lies around the next corner. As one who has experienced significant anxiety I know it is intrusive and never sleeps.

So if it never sleeps how does one effectively deal with it? I could go into some detail about the way our brain works. How the lower brain is our early warning center. The amygdala, which is literally communication center. And the higher brain which recognizes patterns and prepares the responses. However, as intriguing as the brain might be, particularly the amygdala, the details can become rather tedious.

So we understand, to some degree, how squirrels act. We have a basic understanding of how our body, particularly the brain, responds to anxiety. But understanding does not get rid of the problem. I know of various means to get rid of squirrels. Best not to become too descriptive about that. Want to make sure I don’t offend anyone. I also know some basic tricks to deal with and rid myself of anxiety. Perhaps as I reboot my efforts at writing on a regular basis we can discover new ways of dealing with the many anxieties life throws at us. In the meantime I am rather curious what animal I will come up with next. Make it a good one.

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