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Going inward, then outward and onward

It’s the last week in May, summer is upon us and perhaps our spheres have expanded beyond a weekly trip to the grocery store. Perhaps we’re meeting friends or taking our families to the park or the cabin … maybe even taking trips out of state. We’ve collectively experienced lockdown and followed social distancing rules for 10+ weeks, and we’re negotiating our new way of being in the world: a mix of caution and eagerness to enjoy our summers.

This new way of being, like all things novel, has brought about and will continue to catalyze some fear and anxiety as we settle into an unpredictable reality. While antibody tests have not inspired assurance and a vaccine is not expected for some time, how do we venture out and carry on with our lives while being respectful of those around us? I think we do it tentatively, appreciating the seismic scare we've all endured.

In “Your Emotional Type,” authors Michael A. Jawer & Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D explain how memories become engraved not just in our brains, but also in our bodies. In the growing field of psychoneuroimmunology, the brain and body are integrated and interdependent. The authors explain the ways in which memories travel through neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from our brain throughout our bodies. Emotions can manifest themselves in internal, mental and physical ailment.

Where does this leave us while we begin, dare I say, to recover and heal from the past few months? Now, more than ever, it is important to take care of ourselves, recognize our fear and nurture the part of us that may want to retreat inward in fear or, much worse, outward in anger. Now is not the time to project. Now is the time to go inward and ask ourselves how we're doing as we begin to enjoy our summers. Be kind, always.

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