By the Erickson Living
Embrace Wellness team
Happy June! In an earlier edition, we introduced you to our year-long initiative called “Embrace Wellness”—designed to create greater awareness of all of the dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, occupational, spiritual, and environmental. Our focus for June is on Emotional Wellness, and we are thinking about “Navigating Change!”
Back in Colonial America, Ben Franklin said: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished!” In our lifetime, President Kennedy added: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
With every change, large or small, there is stress; our heart rate rises … our breathing speeds up … and more! How we handle our stress is the key.
When we feel very pressured, we might default into any of three over-reactions:
• Fight (lash out)
• Flight (run away)
• Freeze (shut down)
In a true emergency, any of these instincts might protect us—in the short term. But if the worry button goes “on” and we can’t find the “off” button, our body can begin to suffer symptoms.
Think about some good things that signal change in our lives (ex: moving to a new home, marrying our lover, finally retiring after a lifelong career). Think also about some not-too-good things that signal disruption to our lives (ex: getting a bad diagnosis, losing a key relationship, being pushed out of a job).
Typically, our bodies can’t tell the difference between “good stress” or “bad stress.” In many ways, it feels the same. Yet our bodies might complain by giving us headaches, or heart palpitations, or swings in appetite, or dozens of other symptoms. We might need a physician to help sort it all out.
On an emotional level, we might sense that we need help:
• If we can’t relax
• If we have “racing thoughts”
• If we are irritable and moody
• If our anxiety is out of proportion
All of these burdens might actually make us sick. So what can you do to turn off the “worry button?”
• Turn to the people who love you and talk it through.
• Take up relaxation techniques (ex: meditation, yoga, music, art).
• Turn toward healthy foods and away from caffeine and alcohol.
• Make an appointment with your Medical Provider, Minister, or Counselor.
• Join a support group or call your Resident Services Coordinator.