When I was around ten years old, my teacher at school often asked the class to write an essay at the beginning of the new term describing what we did on our holidays. I used to dread it. Not because I didn’t like writing essays, (actually, I was quite good at them), but because I never thought I had anything very interesting to write. All the other girls would write about going to this place and that place and doing all kinds of things but because my family never had much money, we never went away anywhere!! All I ever did was to go for walks with my sister or play with a few friends or curl up inside the house or outside in the sun with a good book. But, oh boy! did I enjoy myself!!!
So because I thought all this being out walking, playing with friends and reading books wouldn’t be interesting to others, I used to ask my teacher if I could make something up about what I did in my holidays. And bless her, she allowed me fabricate to my heart’s content, thereby nurturing my instinct for creative writing. I used to write about adventures I’d never had and places I’d never been to, and it was not only enormous fun to do, but I usually got good marks for whatever I wrote as well – which was an added bonus!
I’ve had some much-needed time off this month and just like when I small, I didn’t go away anywhere. Instead I had what’s popularly called a Staycation. And what did I do? I enjoyed my garden, spent time ‘playing’ with friends, and read some books. I also watched Murray beat Federer and win Olympic Gold, did a detox, gave myself lots of Reiki and administered EFT when I needed it. The result is that I felt – and am still feeling – refreshed, relaxed and renewed.
So I got to thinking about writing a Newsletter/Blog on “what I did on my holidays”, as I thought it would be interesting to look more closely at the beneficial effects of taking off the pressure and doing more of what one enjoys.
The first and most important thing I did was to spend a great deal more time than usual enjoying myself. It was wonderful to take time off and doze in the sun (when we had some!) and to enjoy the company of some dear friends who I don’t see nearly often enough. It was also an enormous relief to take off the pressure and not keep up with Social Media and stop giving myself long lists of “Things to Do”. I was therefore able to indulge in one of my absolute favourite pass-times which is “pottering”. I just LOVE pottering – you know – unstructured time spent doing a bit here and a bit there with no deadlines and giving myself the space to sit down and enjoy simply looking at the day if I felt like it. And what was happening while I was pottering around and enjoying myself? I was releasing endless streams of endorphins into my system and giving myself a great deal of healing as a result.
Those of you who are familiar with my work and/or who have read my book “Finding the River” will know that I’m always banging on about how pleasurable things trigger endorphins. For those of you who don’t know what endorphins are, they’re hormones which are scientifically proven to be triggered and released throughout the body any time we’re engaged in doing something we really enjoy. And they’re very healing.
Hormones are inextricably linked to our emotions and all our vital organs and systems (i.e. the nervous, lymphatic, circulatory, and digestive systems) and can therefore very greatly affect our health. For example, when we experience fear or stress, those emotions trigger a biochemical reaction in the physical body which causes the release of the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. In the days when we were running around wearing animal skins, living in caves and hunting or gathering all the food we ate, this reaction was very useful. Why? Because if, for example, a cave person met a woolly mammoth or a sabre tooth tiger, s/he would find that the blood drained from the frontal cortex into the arms so they could fight and also into the legs so they could run. This life-saving reaction is called the Flight or Fight Response (FFR), and in small doses spread out over several weeks or months, it’s perfectly OK to experience it.
However, we all live in an age where our culture is permanently geared towards piling on the pressure. We’ve got fast food, speed dating, technology which allows us to buy, view or sell at the press of a button, emails that mount up in our inboxes endlessly, as well as continuous bombardment from the media telling us what we should or shouldn’t be wearing/buying/doing/seeing/thinking! This kind of pressure inevitably triggers adrenalin and cortisol. In fact, what most people don’t realise is that a lot of what constitutes ordinary life (e.g. being held up in traffic, having your computer crash, rushing to meet a deadline or dealing with screaming children), will ALSO cause these hormones to release and send us straight into the FFR. And to have this dramatic biochemical reaction happening inside us on a regular (and sometimes daily) basis can affect our health adversely.
So what I did on my holidays was to flood my body with endorphins. In addition, I gave myself a lot of Reiki which ALSO causes a flood of endorphins . No wonder I’ve been feeling so good!! I’ve had those groovy little hormones flooding through every part of me for most of the last few weeks!!
I also went on a detox which took the strain off my digestive system and allowed it to balance and normalise. I got rid of some gunk and cleared out some digestive debris which chimed beautifully with getting endorphinated. And I cleared any mental and emotional debris that was hanging around with some EFT!
Lastly and most importantly, I freed up some more time for reflection, journaling and meditating, so that my inner space was given some much-needed nurture.
All this was grist to the mill regarding reminding myself of the importance of being here now. It’s interesting how much more present we are when we’re doing something pleasurable! After all, why on earth would one NOT be in the moment when you’re doing something you enjoy?
What do you enjoy? Make a list and resolve to do more of it. Make yourself a promise that you’ll spend time EVERY DAY – even if it’s only for a short while – doing something enjoyable. If you can do that, you’ll be injecting yourself with the antidote to adrenaline and cortisol and the damaging effects of too much FFR.
Clear out any emotional stuff with EFT and balance yourself up with Reiki. (For further information go EFT and Reiki on this website) And try to give yourself time each day for reflection and pause.
As it says in the TV advert –“Every little helps!” And it DOES!!!