It’s a nightly thing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit. Rinse and repeat if I’m still not sleepy.
But I was caught off guard while scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook news feed — suddenly, I felt the floor shake.
Always on high alert, I jumped. What was that?
After a moment or two of frozen uncertainty, I audibly exhaled when I realized the source of the shaking: a heavy diesel truck, barreling down my street.
SHAKING ON THE INSIDE OR THE OUTSIDE?
I live on the east coast — far from any real fault lines — but ever since that magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia (that rumbled all the way to up to my apartment in Pennsylvania) back in 2011, I’ve been a bit leery of any shaking.
For the record, and I’m being completely serious here, I was meditating when the earthquake hit.
Yeah — meditating! That thing that’s supposed to, you know, relieve anxiety?
I’d taken a “mental health day” from work and spent a good half hour laying on my living room floor during the afternoon, relaxing my muscles and sinking into my breath.
There’s nothing like a few wall-hung photographs slapping against the drywall to knock me out of my meditative reverie.
It was my first earthquake, and I hope it’s my last — but still, three odd years later, even a passing diesel truck will put me on high alert.
“EARTHQUAKE! WE’RE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE.”
That’s why I so admire the KTLA news anchors who let cooler heads prevail during last week’s actual St. Patrick’s Day earthquake in Los Angeles. They exhibit a stress response to a very real trigger — shaking ground on a major fault line — yet still manage to remain composed:
Oh, if only I could react so logically and calmly to my own anxiety triggers! I long for the day when I can just hold up my right hand, announce my trigger, and then calmly proceed to deal with it rationally.
Right now: “Heart racing? Ohmygod. It won’t stop. Two seconds have passed and it still won’t stop. This must be a heart attack, and I am certainly going to die.”
My ideal future: “Heart racing? Ahh yes, it’s true — my heart is racing, folks!” (Holds pointer finger in the air like the KTLA anchor.) “I shall now sit down and watch a funny TV show until those beats return to their normal rate.”
Do your triggers send you into insta-panic mode or have you figured out a way to respond to your triggers thoughtfully?
Photo: Bjørn Giesenbauer (Flickr)