Here is a comment from a client, Cammy, regarding the relationship between stress, beauty and internet surfing. Details have been changed for privacy purposes.

Lately, I cannot work. I move from writing a brief to looking at beautiful things.  Velvet pillows, furry rugs, mohair throws. I wonder, are they soft or itchy what is that color, peach, pink …I look at beaches, the blue and green water, and want to be in it, taste the salt.  I think I should get back to work, but I can’t or don’t or won’t.  I feel like I am seeking some kind of lightness.  The other day, I came upon this group of nature photos. I keep going back to them because they are so beautiful, full of light and color. They make me happy." She shared the link: http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-landscape-photos/”

Cammy, a young lawyer in a corporate firm, starts early, stays late and has struggled with depression on and off for much of her life. She wonders if she chose the right profession. Long hours, minimal daylight and the expectation of constant focus have taken a toll.

My family worked their way up. The goal was to be a professional but something about this is not working.  I feel like a pawn. Trapped. The minute the elevator door opens, the tension, the frenetic pace, the pressure to perform hits me.  I get the job done, but feel more and more depleted.  Internet surfing gives me solace, takes me away, fills a need."

These comments made me recall a resident I knew when I was a psychiatry intern. At the time, I was in New Orleans and this woman resident, originally from Puerto Rico, came to Tulane from Columbia University in Manhattan to do a rotation in our department for a few months. She told me that she had been excited to explore Manhattan when she first arrived there.  One could acquire reduced price tickets for cultural events through the school.  Having secured two tickets to the ballet she enthusiastically told an attending who replied, “Well, if you have time to go the ballet, then I guess we are not giving you enough work.”  I remember the look on her face. It was a mixture of shock, shame, confusion and something like submerged disgust.  I think she opted not to return to that program.

Takeaways:

  1. Studies show that exposure to images of nature as well as actual nature, enhance healing. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nature-that-nurtures/
  2. Lightheartedness helps you cope. Sometimes we need to just float. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-creativity-cure/201409/lightheartedness-helps-you-cope
  3. Seemingly superficial engagement can have profound implications. Your unique distractions may offer clues about your needs. Pleasure is a need.
    By Chloe Barron
    Source: By Chloe Barron
  4. Exposure to art and culture builds resilience, enhances healing and seeds intellectual creativityhttp://www.artandhealing.org 

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