I subscribe to Psychology Today. I know…you’re shocked, right? I can’t help it. I’m fascinated with the human mind and how it works. God created something there that is endlessly unique and, yet, very predictable. There is a little article buried in this month’s issue about how to change bad habits. One of the tips they give is to identify the biggest hurdle you will have in succeeding in changing this habit and devise a plan to overcome it. I did that last week. In Friday’s blog I shared that I have to change my eating habits to heal my hypoglycemia. The biggest issue I have…and the one that ALWAYS trips me up….is socializing without food.
I am an extrovert. I love people, and I love to talk, especially with my girlfriends. Having lunch, dinner and coffee are the primary ways we visit. After all, “breaking bread” is a fun way to commune with others. I was feeling down last week, and I knew I needed to get together with some of my gal pals to get connected and get my oxytocin flowing. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, and it helps counteract cortisol, the stress hormone. I know that just talking with my gal pals releases this hormone. It’s also released in massive quantities during orgasm, but that’s a different blog…..and intricately more complicated to experience when you are not in a relationship.
I had a couple of girlfriends contact me about getting together this weekend, so I suggested walking. I’m trying to do this six-meal-a-day thing, and I need to have more control over my food. I can relax it a bit later, but I need to see some progress. Luckily, they both said they’d love to walk. I met Rhonda at Shelby Farms, and we hiked for two hours in the woods along the Wolf River. I met Leah at her house, and we walked around Midtown where we live. It was freezing and snowing. But, the bonding and the walk made it seem really warm.
If you don’t walk with friends much, let me tell you the benefits. The first thing, of course, is that you don’t have to dress up. You don’t have to spend any money. I’m budgeting, too, so that’s a perk. It’s healthy, and the movement and the fresh air increases energy in your body. There is something about a walk, and being side-by-side, rather than face-to-face that opens people up. I don’t know how to explain it, but you’ll have to try it to experience the difference. I’ve often heard that parents should walk with their teenagers because the activity distracts them from their nervousness about talking, and they open up more. It happens with everybody. In the two-hour hike, we never stopped talking. We moved from subject to intimate subject, laughed and shared our fears, and just had a blast. In my walk with Rhonda, we discovered an amphitheater deep in the woods. That prompted some play and acting on stage to an imaginary audience. In my walk with Leah, we covered some subjects that were a little difficult to talk about with ease. She shared some things she has learned from coaching and a finance class she’s taking, and I shared some things I was learning about eating healthier. I learned from both of these ladies in this short amount of time, and they said they learned something from me.
So, I’m on a quest to find non-eating things to do with my female friends. I’d love any suggestions that you have. I really want to focus on activities where there is some “food for thought” and time to socialize and discuss it. So, a movie’s okay IF we also make time afterwards to talk. Every now and then, I’d love to have a meal out, but I’d rather it be when I really want to have a meal out. Then, I feel much happier about the food consumed and the money spent.
Some ideas I’ve had:
I took some pictures on my walks with my Leah and Rhonda yesterday, and I wanted to use them in this blog. But, alas, the files got corrupted, and I couldn’t download them. Maybe those moments were just for us, and the universe conspired to keep it that way. After my walk with Leah, we went back to her home and had tea. A friend of hers had made these awesome mugs with the scientific symbol for oxytocin on them. We both laughed when she showed them to me. But, we were way ahead of the mugs. Our walk had already begun pumping that hormone through our brains.
P.S. Thanks to Leah’s friend for the mugs…you prompted a blog topic, and I need to know where to get a pair or them for myself. 🙂