Optimizing Stress

Doing either too little or too much can lead to the same symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, appetite loss, memory impairment, and insomnia.
Harvard Medical School, Retirement blues: Taking it too easy can be hard on you

Well, yeah. That’s well known in the stress management field. I wrote Optimizing Stress over ten years ago, and the knowledge was well known even then. The Harvard article goes on to say,

The trick is to find a balance of activities that draw you in and stretch you out. “We grow and keep our brains alive by being engaged with things that challenge us.”

I’m guessing none of us have problems doing that. Do you agree?


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It’s Not Just Humans

Average air temperatures were so high last month at a monitoring station on the north coast of Alaska that computers rejected the readings as flawed. But there was nothing wrong with the data or the instrument that recorded it. Rather, temperatures had soared because of shrinking sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, one of the more obvious effects of climate change.
New York Times

So it’s not just humans that deny climate change. The scientists corrected this problem by changing the computer program — if only it were so easy to change the minds of humans.


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Christmas Tree

Andy took advantage of the good weather — sunny, no wind — to put the Christmas tree on the roof yesterday. He will start turning it on about December 18, shut it down after Kaitlin and Torben leave after the first of the year. I’m glad it’s up and he did it safely.


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Good night, sleep tight.
Don’t let the fleas bite.

Our family said that a lot when I was a kid. But whenever I said it after I married, Andy would say, “No! It’s not fleas, it’s bedbugs.”

I stuck to my guns until a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m considering the bedbug version. Do you think that might have anything to do with the recent trip we took to see Kaitlin, Torben, and the pups?


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We Don’t Always Need Words

Tempi is looking at Torben after he accidentally threw her pig into a tree. She would look at him, then at the pig in the tree, then back at him, etc. until he managed to get the pig down for her.

It reminds me of when Kaitlin was little. One Christmas we gave her a toy tool set, including a big plastic nut and bolt. A day or so after Christmas, when she was sure I was watching, she took the nut, climbed into Andy’s easy chair, looked straight at me and put the nut into her mouth. She knew full well what I would say, “Nuts aren’t for eating, they’re for putting into bolts.”

She then looked at the can of cashews on the table next to the chair and looked back at me. Oh yeah. I explained to her that it was confusing, the same word can mean different things.

We don’t always need words to communicate.


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The Staples Are Out

Andy went back to the ER this morning to get the staples out. The nurse was the same as last Sunday and she asked him if he had picked up a bug from them because she was sick this past week. Suspicions confirmed!

She also said another fellow came in with a lacerated scalp. He was embarrassed and felt so stupid because he had done it by bumping into the sharp branch of a tree. She reassured him that he wasn’t the only one.


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The Present Moment

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive. It’s not a matter of faith; it’s a matter of practice.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

That’s one of my favorite quotes. But I burst out laughing when I read about Gerald May’s reaction to that point of view:

Thich, old buddy, you know how you’re always talking about “this moment, precious moment, only moment.” Well, Thich, some moments really suck.
—Gerald May to Thich Nhat Hanh

Yes, life is never perfect —- Bertand Russell says it is horrible, horrible, horrible — but that doesn’t mean we can’t decrease the number of sucky moments. Commitment and practice.


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Hurray for Sleep!

Andy figures he picked up a flu bug at the ER last Sunday, because he felt sick and actually vomited Wednesday evening. There was blood in it and he couldn’t eat his dinner because of the pain in his esophagus, so he went back to the ER. They did some tests to make sure he wasn’t bleeding internally, but they kept him in the hospital overnight for observation. That gave me peace of mind, and it was the sensible thing to do, but it also meant he didn’t get much sleep that night with all the interruptions to check his vital signs, etc. So he stayed down here yesterday, then slept 9 to 10 hours last night, without a sleeping pill.

He had a lot more zip this morning, so went up to the land to take advantage of the sunshine to store heat in the floors. He took it easy and didn’t go for a walk. He’s not completely well yet, but it’s a lot better.

I’ve put in several long days uncluttering and rearranging the apartment and was getting tired, so when I started having symptoms of coming down with something today, I took a long nap this afternoon. Hurray for sleep!


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New Snow

As usual, DPLDT.

We just had a bit of snow (Thursday), but then the sun came out and it was pretty. My kind of winter. 🙂


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Intriguing Quote

Our ability to feel sad is what stirs compassion in others and empathy in ourselves. There is no growth without loss, and no art without longing.
—A. O. Scott

I’ve been pondering this quote for a while. I don’t believe there is no growth without loss any more than loss always leads to growth. Some of us can also grow from joy. Art and longing? Probably. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Every clod feels a stir of might,
And instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers.
—-James Russell Lowell

That one resonates with me, no pondering there. It energizes me.


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