|Graphic by Julian Bialowas|
I had a terrible dream last night. I was at a family barbecue and fighting with my best friend. She was angry with me for something I didn't understand (and was therefore irrational). Despite my efforts to show kindness, she continued her disdain. It all came to a head when she left a slice of pizza on the ground and I threw it at her, screaming insults. I awoke from this nightmare still angry. Every muscle in my body was tense, and my arms were crossed, forming a defensive shield. My entire body had gone into fight-mode in my sleep.
It's funny how the events in our daily lives affect us, even when we tell ourselves they don't matter. Negativity seeps into our subconscious; if gone untreated, it becomes parasitic, infecting the soul. Mental duress impacts the physical body, as well as the spiritual. "Unusual symptoms that resist the million-dollar workup can be a sign that your body is expressing some kind of emotional upset," says Charles Goodstein, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Unexplained headaches, intestinal issues (you know what I'm talking about), and back and chest pain are all associated with mental stress.
So how do we get over this? How are we supposed to move past what is hurting us when, as far as far we knew, everything was fine? First, learn to acknowledge the issue. It may seem that you're letting it go, but in reality the issue is simply being buried and allowed to fester. Second, make it a habit to address the issue right away. If your room mate blasts the TV when you're trying to sleep, don't lay there, allowing yourself to get unreasonably angry. Ask your room mate to turn it down (politely) when it first happens. If your boyfriend is late for a date, call him out on it immediately! Let him know he upset you; hey, you may even get desert out of the poor guy if he feels bad enough. Third: LET IT GO. Once the issue has been addressed and resolved, it doesn't exist. By holding a grudge, you make yourself sick...and look like a psycho. No one wants to date a psycho, except for maybe another psycho. Then you can make each other sick together, and leave everyone else alone.