Rest for the Senses

Anxiety comes in all shapes in sizes. It arrives for different reasons, some known, some unknown. Sometimes it’s as simple as a blood sugar crash, a slight hypoglycemic imbalance that mimics symptoms of anxiety as the body tries to reach equilibrium after digesting simple sugars (elevated heart rate, increased insulin released into the GI tract, cortisol flooding the nervous system). Sometimes anxiety presents as exhaustion, exhaustion from which there is no respite. After pouring caffeine and stimulants into our systems during the workweek, the weekend arrives and we can’t fully let down without feeling jittery, scattered, or imbalanced. A more common but less discussed cause of anxiety, however, is a culture that emphasizes intake, rather than output.

You exist in a world of creation. Birds chirp, bees buzz, you speak. Dolphins swim, monkeys climb, you dance. Dogs bark, cats purr, you sing. You get the point.

But, as a human, you also process creative information on a daily basis. This is not to say that humans are the only beings that process information. It would be ignorant to claim as much. But, you rarely see dolphins sitting all day, starting at one screen, absorbing the images presented to them via this screen, and then carrying on with their daily tasks. We take, take, take, take, take in information. When do we ever put it out?

We absorb images, words, sounds, and messages all day, every day.

How often to we sit and take time to create? To respond to what we’ve been given from the media? To understand the effects these images, TV shows, and sounds have on our minds and hearts?

I woke up this morning, a Saturday, feeling like I had to get up and run out the door. I thought it was Friday and needed to get to work. But, it’s not. It’s the weekend. It’s the time designated for my rest, relaxation, and recovery, because I’ll be doing this whole working thing for many years to come.

But I instinctively check Instagram right when I wake up- I see all the happenings of my friends/acquaintances doing all sorts of different things all over the world and I feel the rush. My brain sees activity, movement, action. It hasn’t seen stillness, peace, or tranquility in weeks. I feel the need to hurry, to get out and drive somewhere and take in more input from life. I neglect what I really need: to stop, breathe, and create.

I forget to see the morning light as it hits my bedroom window. I fail to see the sweet smile of my dog, who is happy to lay on the floor for 12 hours a day. I forget to value all the things I hold most dear, none of which are found in any of the places I feel obliged to run off to.

What I need, and what I think more of us need, is stillness, quiet, and a rest for the senses.

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