Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Sunday, April 09, 2017


Serious question: with the job loss and everything else happening lately, I've had a lot of stress, which I thought I was dealing with, but I tend to 'deal' with stress by pushing it down and having somatic issues where I express it as bodily pain, plus I get anxiety that just builds and I want to just curl up in a ball and shut out the world. I need to learn better coping skills. How do you deal with releasing your stress in a healthy way? Exercise helps some, and I'm working towards being able to do that better. Meditation sounds great, but I find that to be difficult. What other activities would you suggest?

1 comment:

Bob said...

Hiking. This doesn't have to be a punishing slog - - I call it hiking simply if I change into clothing more suitable for the outdoors when taking a walk, and carry a cane or staff. Right now it's spring, so you look for wildflowers and mating birds. In fall you look at foliage. Summer you look for cool places. Winter? Stay indoors, mostly. Try to find a trail that is away from highway noise, to begin with; where there's a bench or two somewhere along the way to simply sit and listen and breathe. Somewhere you can hear the sound of running water is always good - - a river or creek. I see something called "Raven Run Nature Sanctuary" only 15 miles from Lexington, straight down I-75 - - ever been there? It has an overlook of the Kentucky River.

About an hour's journey away is the Abbey of Gethsemani, the Trappist monastery where Thomas Merton became famous for his spiritual writings. It's a lovely place, very peaceful, and you can hike there and buy books and other items in the gift shop. You don't even have to be religious to visit.

The main thing, though, is to get so far away from highway noise that you can hear nature noise. I was once at a park in southern Spain called El Torcal - - do a Google Image Search to see pictures - - and there was one overlook where you could sit with a valley below, and birds - - swifts and swallows - - would swoop around the cliff face, and you could hear the little whisssssh noise that their bodies made as they swooped. Off in the distance you'd hear the bells of goats scrambling among the rocks.

Get outdoors, to a quiet place, and listen. You'll be amazed at what you hear.