I could feel it building up. Early in my vacation, there was a shift in my mindset coming. I was blaming again and I was deflecting responsibility, With this mindset, I was giving away control of my life and happiness. My reactions were not positive and I could feel anxiety building.
When my vacation was over I had failed to make some time for myself and I ended up paying for it when I returned to work. When I walked in Monday morning I was nowhere near in the right kind of mindset to come back to work. My thoughts were negative and I began to feel a little anger with every interaction. I had to get away.
By Wednesday of that week, I had enough of my mindset. Working out at the gym was not doing the trick, I needed to ramp up my effort to rid myself of my toxic mindset. By Wednesday of that week, I left town. I called in sick to work and I headed into the deep woods of Fundy National Park. Thankfully, my workplace (www.dovico.com – we are hiring BTW) supports strong mental health among its employees so taking a “sick” day to mend our mental health is encouraged.
As I trekked out into the woods I immediately noticed the silence that the early morning solitude provided. The air was fresh and the ground was soft. I knew about 5 minutes into my walk that this was what I needed to clear my mind. Most times when I hike in the woods I listen to podcasts to limit my fear of the silence, but not this time, I needed to hear nature.
As I got deeper and deeper into the woods my fear of the unknown began to creep up. I began to hear things and sometimes even see things that weren’t there. I am still a relatively new hiker so the thought of a bear or coyote jumping out and eating me weighed heavily I could feel my adrenaline rise as the awareness of my surroundings became acute. I found myself a stick; an over-sized walking stick that somehow gives me safety. Like the movie Cast Away where Tom Hanks named his volleyball Wilson, I named my stick Vince. Vince was my saviour from the wildlife!
I got about a half-an-hour into this trail before I realized that I was not prepared to go any further. I didn’t pack enough water to offset the sweat I was releasing. I decided to turn around and venture back to a less physically demanding trail. When I returned to my car I already felt better mentally. That hour of unnecessary fear had cleared my head. For that brief hour, I did nothing but focus on my survival. There was a chemical shift in my brain that only that kind of situation can do for you. I felt energized and had more focus.
We often look to alcohol, food, TV or some chemical medications to clean our headspace of stress and bad feelings. But what we forget is that we create our very own natural chemical for that and it is adrenaline. In our sedimentary and comfortable lifestyles, we have inadvertently stopped our bodies from producing adrenaline on a regular basis. Adrenaline does all kinds of wonderful things to our body and minds. It enables us to be hyper-focused and reactionary. When we are focused on our survival, any bad thoughts that we may have had consuming our mind are quickly forgotten. All it takes is that brief break from our bad thoughts to give us some perspective. On this particular day, my healthy fear of the woods gave me just enough of a rush to completely recenter my mindset, I am so thankful to have that kind of medicine at my disposal.