Saturday, April 23, 2011

Life's Simple Pleasures

Among the things the doctor has determined about me is that I have abnormal adrenal function. That abnormality is the source of my nighttime anxiety attacks. Caused by excessive production of the stress hormone cortisol. The adrenals are supposed to work in a way that cortisol is produced in the early part of the day, it should peak in the early afternoon and then wane throughout the rest of the day to a lower value. I seem to have two cortisol production speeds, high and higher. Which leaves all that hormone floating around in my body when I need to relax and sleep. This seems to be a common occurance in Type A people and may be why we have type A tendencies to start out with. It also contributes to high bloodpressure. I have a supplement designed to nourish the adrenals and to support their function. I also have a number of supportive measures to help with the issue.

I have stretching exercises that have to be performed in the morning before I begin my day, and then again in the evening before I go to bed. Stretching my muscles uses up some of the cortisol. Meditation also helps, but there are days that I can't find the quiet, alone time to accomplish a meditative session.

I have a high stress job, taking care of people in their homes can be stressful in ways that don't immediately occur to me. Some of that stress is alleviated by the movement involved, but there are days that things go wrong. I see families that ignore their loved one when they shouldn't. They're in denial as to the true conditions of the client so everything the client asks them to do is a burden and they respond to that. I try not to be judgemental, but some days it's more than I can accomplish. I grit my teeth while trying to stay out of the situation, and I end up having an anxiety attack.

When all else fails, and sometimes it does, I have found that filling my thoughts with things that are pleasant to me help me to not focus on the attack, so it's duration is much shorter and quite a bit easier to handle. Sometimes it's a matter of reminding myself that even on the darkest days, good things happen. No matter how bad the day, we always have little pleasures. It's just a matter of stopping to remind myself that they exist and the day wasn't all bad.

The following is a list of some of my pleasures.

Snuggling under the down comforter on a cold night.

Making the turn onto the home street after a hard days work.

The scent of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove.

The shy smile of the toddler in the shopping cart in front of you in the check out line.

The sight of a crocus pushing up through the snow.

The first bud of daffodil in my garden.

Saying Thank You to someone holding a door open for you.

Returning the favor and being thanked.

Being greeted at the door by your pet acting as if you've been gone for a month.

The hug and wet kiss from a small child.

Hearing the voice of someone you haven't talked to in a while.

The sound of laughter among friends.

The scent of a steak sizzling on the grill.

Cleaning out a pocket and finding money when you're broke.

A smile from someone you love.

The playfulness of a puppy or kitten.

The purr of a cat on your lap

The warmth of a baby sleeping in your arms.

Getting to stay inside on a cool rainy day.

The sound of music.

A good book.


Knowing that you're loved.

Having the ability to recognize and appreciate that life does have it's little pleasures.


  1. I just love this post, Sherry. Not necessarily the first part - but the last part. It's the little things!

  2. Glad to hear the exercises help.

  3. A friend of mine who is a psycho therapist (she is a therapist and she's a psycho) teaches her clients to lay down, eyes closed and take a trip of a different imagine you are floating above your see everything from see the car in the driveway, you see the trash cans, you see the flower beds, the trees etc..etc..all from above in explicit you get better at doing this you expand your views to your neighbors house, the road you live on, the woods, ponds, rivers, etc..etc...surrounding where you eventually take this trip and cover the whole town where you live and on to adjoining cities..all from the perspective of floating above it all and seeing in amazing detail what everything would look like from above..each trip you go out a litter longer and cover more area and then return home the same way.......she claims it calms the mind.........................

  4. if you get that cortisol level under control you'll no doubt shed a few pounds from just that one measure. Here's hoping you have a relaxing Easter Sunday.

  5. Sherry:

    You have to remember, as Johnny Mercer said in the song, to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

    Gather 'round me, everybody
    Gather 'round me while I'm preachin'
    Feel a sermon comin' on me
    The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
    If you wanna hear my story
    The settle back and just sit tight
    While I start reviewin'
    The attitude of doin' right

    You've got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    And latch on to the affirmative
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium's
    Liable to walk upon the scene

    To illustrate my last remark
    Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
    What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

    (Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")
    ("Eliminate the negative")
    ("And latch on to the affirmative")
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    (Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
    (Bring gloom down to the minimum)
    (Have faith or pandemonium's)
    (Liable to walk upon the scene)

    You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive
    Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
    And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between
    No, don't mess with Mister In-Between

  6. Happy Easter, Sherry! Does all that adrenalin help you run marathons and such like? No - I suppose not. Spring - rebirth - and the Ressurrection - these are good things. Be well.

  7. H.D.

    I understoodd what you meant. Even with the problem I have, the post is positive since I have guidance to solve the problem. And that too is something to be pleased about.

  8. Skinny,

    Yes it does help, but the doctor is limiting me to stretching sessions twice a day and walking. Apparently more exercise than this will create more stress hormones.

  9. TAB,

    That would be another way to shorten the duration. The trick is to stay calm during so they don't escalate.

  10. Bella,

    Well, it started out nice, then Hubby called to tell me he'd be late due to a break down. We're out of business until he gets the truck fixed. Always something.

    My doctor says it takes years to do this to the adrenals, it's going to take a long time to correct it. I'm working on it.

  11. Whit,

    Accentuate the positive. Yes. That's the ticket.

  12. John,

    Unfortunately, no. Exercise has to be mild to moderate or it creates more stress hormones. No running.

    Happy Easter to you and YES, it's SPRING. I have daffodils in bud.