Archive for the ‘Stress’ Category

Balancing Act

 Did you ever say or do something dumb?  Not just dumb, I mean really dumb.  Dumb to the point that someone asked “Is your head screwed on straight?”  That’s a funny saying because I can’t even imagine someone’s head being placed on their body wrong.  Too far forward and you’d be staring at your shoes.  To far back and you’d be gazing at the sky…and, it would be kinda hard to swallow.  

Emotionally, I think we all want to be level-headed.  Physically, however, our spines won’t allow it.  The cervical spine curves inward so that our heads can balance on our necks.  Without the curve, it wouldn’t balance.   

© Chrisharvey

I’ll bet you never thought about how your head balances on your neck before.  Or maybe you have…if you were a wannabe runway model or pageant winner (…cue the Miss America hand wave) and walked around with books balanced on your cranium.  I could never do it well.  Balance books that is.  Okay, the hand wave either – it always looks like I have the Girl Scouts Promise sign rockin’.  See….   


I think the human skeleton is super cool.  Not because I have an iota of interest in the medical profession (I black out at the sight of blood), but I do like skeletons.  In particular, I think the human spine is absolutely fascinating.     

© Chrisharvey

Caring about posture and spinal alignment is not something that most people worry about.  But, I must.  I’ve had a lot of problems with my back over the years including back surgery in 2005.  From my personal experience let me just tell ya that the spine is nothing to fool around with.  It supports your entire body and if something isn’t right, it lets you know…screams it, actually.     

 Every time I have a painful episode or blowout with my back, it’s always the result of not enough exercise + too much sitting at my desk + too busy of a schedule + stress.  In fact, my doctor said that if I don’t get with the program by doing sit ups and stretches every day, I’ll have back problems my entire lifetime.    

(c) Chrisharvey

I submit to you a theory.  Just like our real backs, we need to take care of our symbolic BACKBONES that I talk about all the time…all of those intangible traits and characteristics that make us who we are and define us as unique individuals.  What happens when there are pressures on your symbolic BACKBONE?  When it’s not balanced?  When you try to “correct” its natural curves?  When it’s not getting enough exercise?     

Are there episodes?  Are there blowouts?  Is there pain?  In my life, the answer is yes.    

Think about all of those qualities that make you…you.  Not one other person on Earth is put together exactly like you are, either physically or characteristically.  Celebrate your uniqueness.  Embrace  your quirks.  Take care of both of your backbones.    

Do you take better care of your physical health or your mental and emotional health?  How do you know if you’ve struck a good balance?

Reaction Plan

Today I confronted a personal emergency.  I’m sure you’ve all had some of these in your lifetime.  Here’s how mine went down…

  • Work Phone Rings
  • Hello, this is Tracy…how can I help you?
  • Hi Tracy, this is Grandma.
  • Grandma??  Um, why are you calling me at work?  Is everything ok?
  • Your Dad is in the ER.
  • Brain goes blank.  Brain sends out stress signals.  Brain needs help.

Everyone reacts to emergency situations in different ways.  Some of us shove emotion aside and immediately go into action.  Others panic, have emotional breakdowns, or freeze.  Still others remain clam and handle the situation with ease.

I tend to go into immediate action mode – sometimes without thinking clearly enough.  Today in my office, I was mentally out of my business suit and into my Catwoman suit long before the 30 second phone call with Grandma ended.  I was ready to act (or react) with cat-like reflexes.  The problem was that I didn’t have any sort of action plan.  It’s kind of like what my cats do at home when they run around the coffee table for no apparent reason with crazed looks in their eyes, chasing an imaginary bug.  Not good.  Especially when done by people. 

The lesson I learned today is that I will never be able to change my natural tendency to go into action during emergencies.  But, now that I recognize my natural bent, I will be able to better control what I do in the future.  Like reminding myself to stay calm.  Like figuring out a good plan.  Like acting with purpose.  Like not turning into a crazed Catwoman.

Catwoman - catwoman-selina-kyle photo


How to you react in emergencies?  Do you stay calm or freak out?