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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 8:19 PM

Is This You? Calming Nerves

Is This You? Calming Nerves
Image by Ernest Rand.

There was a time, some time ago, when the thing to do to be calm was to sit cross-legged on the floor, forearms out straight out on your knees, and bring your thumb and middle fingers together, lightly touching the tips. Then, as you sit with eyes closed, you go, “HUMMMMMM.” That hum was the first time I ever heard the phrase “white noise.” All it did was make me giggle. But. Yes, a humming “but.” I think if I could still sit cross-legged in the middle of the floor, I would still give it a try. I am finding stress levels are not as easily seen as they were when I was younger.

I am pretty sure I never did this, but I saw a little kid in the store not long ago, in the cereal aisle, flop down on the floor and have a meltdown, full-blown tantrum. I kind of felt bad for the mom, but more than that, I was jealous of the kid. He lay there and let it all out. All the frustrations that I am sure he was feeling. Oh, not just about the sugar-laden puffs of corn he wasn’t getting. It was clear to me that he had just had enough that day, and he picked this time and place to “let ‘er go.”

When I think of doing something that scares me, or frustrates me, or just ticks me off, I wonder if what that little kid did would help. I’ve seen shows where people pay to go into a place and break things with bats. Some go into rubber rooms and beat the furniture with pool noodles. Sometimes, more than one person is in the room, and they pool-noodle each other until they are exhausted. Oh, could you see that on a headline running across the bottom of a news broadcast in a red banner, “Suspect was pool noodled to exhaustion.” Haha, but he felt much better afterward.

As we grow up, we are supposed to have more control over our nerves. Not use “those” words. Not take a swing at the cause of our angst. Hey, I sometimes watch “Cops,” and not everyone outgrows that stage of life. Most of us do. But what do we do to replace that instantaneous reply of hitting the floor and flopping around whaling at the unfairness of life with?

The pat answers of prayer, or forget it and move on, or let it run off you like water on a duck’s back, all, of course, have their time and place. Bickering with a spouse, parent, child, or friend to “clear the air” never seems to make the air as clear as much as it makes the air thick enough to cut with a knife. 

If you think of yourself like a teapot, one that is usually set just waiting for action, then someone, something, some act turns up the heat. Pretty soon, the little birdie that sits on the spout starts to dance and tweet and tweet, and if the heat isn’t released—well, “thar she blows.”

I’m a “keep it inside until my birdie hits the ceiling” type. When I was younger, you know, in my 20s and 30s, I had no trouble just getting it all out, putting stuff on the floor and rubbing them out like the butt end of a smoked cigarette.  That was easy; it was out, dealt with, and things moved on. 

As Father Time keeps pushing me along my path, I find it easier to ignore things. At least, that was what I thought I did. Recent activities in life have made me realize I am a closet stressor now. Or was. Stress is like a carbuncle. There’s an old-world word: carbuncle. You get a carbuncle in an area of your body that gets rubbed the wrong way and gets all hot and bothered. It’s usually not somewhere you see all the time, not someplace that you pay attention to. Until that carbuncle becomes so infected, it causes you to pay attention to it. Stress is like a carbuncle. It fills you with anger, a bacterium that spreads throughout your body and soul. It overflows to those around you until you pay attention and take care of business. 

Stress and carbuncles, icky.

None of us will deal with every stressor in life. I like to put stress in a pocket of laughter. Not all things are a laughing matter, though. Those other things? Close your eyes, put yourself on the floor of the grocery store, and work it out in your mind. Or! Buy a pool noodle and take it out on a garbage can or fence post. I understand the most popular ones are red. Just sayin’.

Trina lives in Diamond Valley, north of Eureka, Nevada. She loves to hear from readers. Email her at [email protected].