‘Zebras Never Get Ulcers’ and 2 More Reasons to Slow Down

zebra relaxationRushing willy-nilly like a bat out of hell may make us feel very productive and important, but it can also turn our brains into a stressful mess. Increased stress means increased anxiety means increased fears of vomit, along with an increase in symptoms emetophobia can bring. 

Sometimes the willy-nilly rushing isn’t about feeling important at all, but rather it has become something we have become programmed to do. Laptops and smartphones means we’re always plugged in. We never miss a beat. For goodness sake, we bring our work to the beach!

This constant motion and striving is taking a toll on our health and well-being. A CBS report says depression rates have nearly tripled over the past 20 years in the U.S., leaving us with a total of 27 million, or about 1 in 10, who suffer from it.

The trend in other industrialized nations has been similar, stirring the thought that there just might be a link between all this work and all this depression.

Mention of the CBS report – and the catchy phrase we used as a headline about zebras not getting ulcers – came from a Positive Psychology News Daily article by poet and lawyer Sean Doyle. The “poet” title caught our eye, especially since it was combined with the “lawyer” title. We also liked how he mentioned enjoying poetry can be a benefit of learning to relax.

What Slowing Down Can Do for You

You can enjoy poetry, or at least its concept. Sure, there’ll still be some folks who say they’re not in tune with poetry or don’t have the patience to try to understand it. That’s fine. Even if you’re not about to get an Emily Dickinson line tattooed on your forehead, you can still enjoy the concept and lessons of poetry, which is to look at the world in a whole new way.

The practice of mindfulness dovetails nicely into the art of looking at the world with a new set of eyes, and we serve up some mindfulness tips in our post on How Mindfulness Can Help Your Emetophobia and How to Start Today. Our extended post on Making Time to Relax to Alleviate Anxiety also offers some tidbits on mindfulness and additional relaxation techniques.

You can re-learn to savor. When was the last time you actually enjoyed your lunch, and we mean really enjoyed it by paying attention to food’s aroma, its texture, its fabulous taste? Chances are you chowed down at your desk like most of us and may not even remember what you ate. We have forgotten how to savor food, a sunset, our child’s first steps or our dog’s first bath. Our senses have gone stale, only captured by the next flashy noise or annoying graphic screaming from our computer screen. 

We can never be reminded enough how crucial it is to take a breather in our daily lives. It might seem somewhat ironic to have to schedule time to relax, but that’s what many of us have to do to ensure we set it as priority. And as the adage tells us:

If you don’t set your priorities, someone else will. 

And that someone will probably set them via our smartphone.


Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc