Ask the Pros by Angela Grace

Disneyworld

No good, dirty rotten, very bad, awful X happens in your life. Of course, you need to deal with any immediate issues making sure not to make any big decisions (because it will probably be the wrong decision) and take time to stabilize. Then, what’s next? The ideal is to exercise, sleep, calm your mind and give yourself the luxury of time. I say go to Disney World!

Yup, go to Disney World for a vacation or go to a comparable destination. It’s not just a flippant suggestion. It is actually a very mentally healthy idea. Here’s why:

Most people walk about 8 to 10 miles per day while they are vacationing at Disney World. That amount of exercise alone will significantly improve your physical and mental health. Exercise facilitates the body’s processing of various stress hormones, including cortisol. It changes the body’s chemistry, improves your heart functioning, lowers your blood pressure, and makes you physically stronger. Also, walking improves your immune system, which is critical at this low point in your life. People under stress are more likely to get sick so strengthening the immune system becomes extremely important.

What happens after all that walking? You’re tired, really tired, especially if you’re not use to walking miles everyday. Being tired is conducive to healthy sleep. Getting really good, deep sleep is essential for physical and mental healing. Among the many benefits of sleep is the opportunity for your brain to sort and organized thoughts and emotions. Did you know that Walt Disney built Disney World hotels to withstand hurricane force winds? Poured cement walls surround the rooms. What that means for guests staying in the hotels, which have outside hallways, is that when the hotel room door shuts, BAM, it’s tight. This, in turns, makes the rooms very quiet. Excellent for sleeping!

The prefrontal cortex (located in the front of your brain), the thinking brain, is enormously complex. Even the top scientists and researchers do not yet fully understand how our minds work. It is amazing just how much we don’t know about the brain. What is known is that there is a direct connection between our emotions and our ability to think clearly. Using an oversimplification: the brain can think on a continuum scale of 1 to 10. One is where the thinking brain is completely frozen, which comes from being extremely frightened or stressed. Often referred to as the “fight or flight’ mode, the brain stops thinking, it’s blank. This is like the “deer in the headlights”, where the brain is not capable of doing anything. In this mode, the body automatically reacts and changes the composition of its functioning; more blood to the extremities, adrenaline and cortisol is pumped into the blood stream, muscles tighten, and the thinking part of the brain narrows.  Thinking focuses on immediate survival.

The opposite extreme, a 10, is where the brain can think very clearly, put together abstract concepts, use vivid imagination, be deeply creative and is able to solve complex issues.

Disney Imagineers intentionally and deliberately attempt to totally control the environment. Disney controls nearly everything you see, hear, smell and feel. They try to make guests feel safe and free from stress. Because, they know when you feel less stressed, in the 7-8-9 end of the spectrum, your body releases chemicals and changes the composition of your body in ways that make you feel good and happy. Muscles feel good when they are relaxed so you feel better. When you are relaxed, you can think more clearly, rapidly, and creatively.

No, I’m not a Disney travel agent, although I’m an admitted fan of Port Orleans Riverside Hotel at Disney World.  And, I’m a Mickey fan as well.

I use Disney to illustrate what some of the steps are that you may take when you have a no good, dirty rotten, very bad, awful X event in your life. Take the time for serious introspection while exercising, sleeping, feeling safe and having fun.

Angela Grace  BCC  WCS

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2 comments

  1. This post has arrived in my inbox at the perfect time. I am dealing with a crappy situation at work and have been signed off with stress. I was feeling six ways of guilty and stuck in the house. Well if I’m not fit to work then I’m not fit for anything? Fortunately this post reminded me that exercising is part of the cure so I’m away for a bike ride.

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  2. Stress can be really difficult to manage. Riding your bike is a great idea! Thank you for the commenting. I’m appreciative that you took time out of your day to write.

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