Have you ever had one of those days where you’re just pissed off about everything? Maybe it was one of those days when you get upset because someone calls or interrupts you during your favorite Netflix show. Or possibly one of those days when there isn’t a driver on the road who seems to understand the difference between the “passing lane” and the “slow lane”. Sometimes I wonder when I have those days, if my intensity of emotions felt is truly justified or if there is a possibility that I am overreacting. It definitely doesn’t feel like I’m overreacting in the moment, however I usually think back on it later and realize that what I’m really upset about is buried much deeper than the surface. Last Tuesday was one of those days for me.
Confession time: I don’t wash my hair everyday. Some may say, “Ew! Gross!”, but here’s the deal… I have really thick, course hair that gets super dried out if I wash it every single day. I usually wash my hair once every 2-3 days, and last Tuesday was the 3rd day since my last shampoo. I had somewhere to be that evening, so I decided to take a late afternoon shower to give my hair a fresh look. As I finished blow-drying my hair after my shower, I realized in horror my hair looked like a grease pit. It looked 100x dirtier and greasier than it did before I washed it. I was using a new brand of conditioner I don’t normally use, and I still have no idea if I just did a terrible job of rinsing out the conditioner or if the conditioner was just terrible for my hair type. Regardless, I was extremely upset about it.
It amazes me how when I get upset about something my initial reaction is to revert back to childlike responses. I typically want to scream into a pillow, say a couple of four letter words, punch
someone in the face something, or act out in my frustration in some way that will make me “feel better”. I didn’t have time to get back in the shower to wash my hair again, and I was unfortunately out of dry shampoo. I reached for the baby powder and angrily shook the bottle pouring an absolute mountain of it onto the top of my head. I looked in the mirror and just started laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of what I had just done. The more I laughed, the funnier I found the situation and before I knew it, I wasn’t even mad at all anymore. I shook out the excess piles of baby powder from my hair and attempted to remove the bulk of it, but my hair had pretty much become a light shade of blonde-grey at this point.
I write this story not to boast about how embarrassingly immature I can be at times, but to remind myself of the power of endorphins to regain control of seemingly out-of-control emotions or circumstances. Physically, I am recovering well from my laparoscopy and salphingectomy (surgical procedure to remove my ruptured Fallopian tube after my ectopic pregnancy). I’ve gone back to work and have pretty much resumed to “life as normal”. Despite the progress, I realize that I still carry deep-seeded negative emotions (grief, sadness, frustration, confusion, anger, etc) from my journey with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. But there is good news. When God created you and me, He designed these incredible neurotransmitters known as endorphins that work in the regions of our brains responsible for blocking pain and controlling emotion. This means when we are feeling down, angry, upset, frustrated, or just may be having one of those days, we can find ways to release natural endorphins (i.e. through exercise, meditation, deep breathing, sex, and even laughter*) in our brains to experience pleasure and a sense of satisfaction even in the middle of incredible pain or emotional turmoil.
Next time you’re having one of those days, get outside and go for a jog or maybe even pour a pile of baby powder onto your head just to make yourself laugh. I guarantee that when you do, you will thank God for endorphins.
*Some scientists will disagree that laughing releases endorphins, however there are are more and more studies coming about saying that it does, like this one by Dr. Robin Dunbar.