The Tuesday Two © – May 14, 2024

1. Surprise – I had lots of fun on Sunday Paying it Forward.  I bought dinner for a couple, sitting at a table near me.  They were pleasantly surprised when they learned I had bought them dinner.  They told me that it was the first time in ages they had been out with just the two of them for a date.  Their response definitely made me feel good about my choice.

Do you like surprises?  Some people don’t but there are mental wellness benefits.

Boosts dopamine: Surprises trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, which can uplift mood and enhance mental wellness.

Alleviates stress: Unexpected positive events can momentarily distract from stressors, providing a mental break and reducing overall stress levels.

Stimulates curiosity: Surprises can ignite curiosity, leading to increased engagement, exploration, and mental stimulation, which are beneficial for cognitive health.

Fosters resilience: Dealing with unexpected situations builds resilience by teaching adaptability and coping skills, which contribute to improved mental well-being.

Enhances social connection: Surprises often involve interaction with others, fostering social bonds, and promoting a sense of belonging and support, which are crucial for mental health.

Sparks joy: Pleasant surprises evoke feelings of happiness, excitement, and gratitude, fostering a positive outlook and overall mental wellness.

My experience sparked joy not only for the couple but for me as well!

2. Finish – Sometimes when you have a tendency to be a bit of a “ping pong” as my husband Darcy likes to call me you don’t finish what you start because you get distracted.  Similarly, not finishing the stress cycle can have a negative impact on our bodies because the stress energy gets stuck in our nervous system. The stress cycle consists of stress activating our fight-flight-freeze responses.  When we aren’t in real danger or don’t complete this cycle by running away or stand our ground, the stress gets stuck in our body.  This has a negative affect on our nervous system and overall wellness.

The two best treatments are physical activity or affection such as a brief 20 second hug.  What Physical movements work best for you?  Dancing, yoga, weight lifting are my three favorites, and I definitely appreciate a good hug!  So this week focus on finishing off your stress cycle.  When you have had a stress time in your day, find a way to release that either through movement or a hug.