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The Flight Impulse

When stressed, I experience an intense desire to flee — to get away from whatever situation is causing the stress. I've left restaurants without ordering, stores without buying items, and even medical appointments when the situation didn't feel right. About the only thing I can't recall leaving suddenly was my classroom when teaching. The good thing about teaching is that you can stop lecturing and alter an assignment to adjust the mood of the room. Next to leaving, establishing some personal control seems to be the best way to reduce stress.

The most stressful moments are those of individual conflict. When I feel threatened or dominated by someone, I do have to leave. I feel physically ill when someone is imposing his or her will on me without listening to or caring about the results. Some people are intimidating by nature. I suppose there are "natural" bullies, people who expect to be in charge at all times. These people aren't inclined to let each person in a room or situation relax and gather their thoughts.

I like low-key people. I need low-key people if I want to function. Anxiety makes me anxious.

Because I feel stress driving in the cities where we live, I have to "escape" from traffic at times. I'll stop half-way to my destination at times and try to gather myself. Other times, I drive out to the edges of the cities to regain composure. There is, unfortunately, no easy way to escape the urban stress — I end up preoccupied with the stress I will experience when I have to return to the cities.

I'm trying to remember you can "escape" without physically leaving a general location. While there are exceptions, like when noise or vibration is the issue, often it is possible to find a quiet space and meditate on nothingness. Quiet, peaceful, calm is a way of fleeing a situation without leaving.

I need a day at the arboretum. Yes, there are people, but you can escape them while concentrating on flowers.


  1. For me, it's definitely music. No vocals. Quiet music.


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