Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Are you anxious? Is that okay?
This week on Realgoodwords I talk with Dr. Henry Emmons. He's a psychiatrist based in Minneapolis who has written a new book called "The Chemistry of Calm".
The Grand Rapids chapter of NAMI - the National Alliance of Mental Illness - is bringing him to Itasca Community College on Thursday October 7th. See here for more information on that.
Dr. Emmons and I spoke about how having stress and anxiety in your life is not necessarily a BAD thing. For instance, you SHOULD be worried about your children when you drive a vehicle - and that should push you to make sure they are always in car seats and wearing seat belts. This is GOOD anxiety. But worrying day in and day out that your child could be harmed in a car accident at any time is not so good. Dr. Emmons had this to say:
"The problem for so many people is not that they have too much stress in their lives - it's that it never lets up. And that's the big difference between what we experience nowadays and the way that I think that things used to be. People have always experienced huge stresses in their lives in some ways probably WORSE stress than we live with now. The difference is that it used to come and go - people would have a chance to completely recover from it... their bodies would reset. Their brains would have the chance to get completely back to baseline and now that doesn't happen as often. For so many reasons our brains and our bodies and our stress hormones are activated all the time and we never really have a chance to get back to our healthy baseline."
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