What I was suffering from I would learn in some circles is called “red mind.” This is the opposite of “blue mind” which I’ll describe below. And neither has anything to do with politics!
Red mind is a term that refers to our physiological state of mind where stress is needed to keep us safe from dangers, but in today’s society has instead become a state of chronic stress. This chronic stress is brought on by a world where long hours, multitasking, 24/7 constant communications, and rapid decision-making is our success culture.
And it’s killing us.
Chronic stress is considered to be the cause of many diseases and deaths in our red mind society. Stress impacts our immune systems and can lead to all sorts of complications, especially if you already have underlying factors.
I know my lupus is very sensitive to stress. Especially stresses that concern my children. I thought I was imagining this when I first noticed it. I would get sicker after being troubled by something one of my teenagers was going through than when I was stressed out about work stuff. But it made sense after I thought about it because I’m more invested in my family than I was to that job. Therefore I was more concerned and worried. Red mind stress.
A marine biologist, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, wrote a book where he coined the term blue mind. He suggests that blue mind is the antidote to our red mind stress.
Blue mind is the mental state where we feel calm and happy when we’re near water. Any kind of water can help us unwind out of this red mind state and into a blue mind state: a hot bath or being near an ocean or lake. Water affects all five of our senses, becoming powerful calming therapy.
This is why so many people desire ocean vacations or camping trip weekends. Our minds desire the predictability, serenity, and peace that we find in nature. We need the mental refresher that only water and nature can provide.
Eventually, I forced myself to walk around the block. Then each week I increased the distance to other neighborhoods. Without traffic on the street, it was easy enough to avoid other walkers. Social distancing in my own neighborhood.
The fresh air, new sights and sounds helped my mental state immensely. Although I don’t have water nearby, the mature trees and flowers helped lessen my stressed-out red mind and increase my peaceful blue mind.
Read more here.
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Photo: Richard Jacobs Inspiration from: Carl Safina, Beyoncé, NASA Astronaut... continue