I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks lately. I watched one the other day titled “What’s so funny about mental illness?“, and I have to admit there was a theory in there that has rocked my world. To paraphrase, human brain chemistry hasn’t caught up with the fact that, in the first world at least, the general response to someone who threatens or angers you isn’t to kill or beat them up. In caveman days, humans would resolve differences differently, and in so doing release all the adrenaline and other chemicals, and then go back to life.
These days, we can’t kill people who piss us off. We can’t even really yell at them and smack them with a club without expecting some punishment. So we’re left with all these chemicals in our brains, and nowhere to release them. Hence, road rage and facebook rants and office politics and pretty much all network TV “news” shows.
So, how do we counter this? I’m not sure we can. I know I have my moments when I wonder why my mood can swing so dramatically just because a meeting lasts too long or a state senator tries to undo hundreds of years of progress with one statement. But I’ve decided all I can do is try to remember the good stuff – like the fact that I’m healthy, I have a job, I have health care, I can be proud of my work, I love my dog, my family is safe and well, my friends just had a baby, I will be an aunt soon and…here’s the big one…it’s almost spring.
And since I appear to be a chronic sharer, here are a few of the share-worthy awesome things I encountered over the last day or so.
A thoughtful coworker told me I needed an ap on my phone called Weather Puppy. She was right. It’s a weather ap with puppies. It’s free. You should get it, and stop enabling the Weather Channel’s hysteria-inducing “forecasting.” Enough said.
A friend shared a terrific blog post about how social media can make everyone else’s life seem far, far awesomer than yours. Though I hope it’s not true, as she claims, that my photos of me in France made you feel like a loser, I do think she has a point. And she summed it up perfectly with this statement:
Let’s stop comparing. Let’s start connecting.
In the not-so-awesome category, Roger Ebert died today. I literally just read an article about him last night. The interwebs have exploded with funny and touching tributes to him, but my favorite has to be his TED talk from 2011, about rebuilding his voice after cancer took it from him. It might make you cry, but it’s worth watching, and qualifies as an awesome moment.
I mentioned that it’s almost spring, right? I feel like the trees and bushes are holding their breath, waiting for that first 70 degree day to explode into that heady, soul-soothing burst of fresh, new greens and pinks and yellows. It might happen this weekend, and you might just find me standing under a tree, breathing it in and trying to capture it with my IPhone. No judging. It’s almost spring, and spring is when we get to release those nasty brain chemicals out into air that the trees are about to scrub clean.