Last weekend, I re-watched an old (-ish) movie from 2010, Extraordinary Measures with Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford. The movie was inspired by true events. It’s about a couple that have 3 kids. 2 of them, aged 6 and 8, have Pompe and the parents are in a hurry to find a cure or a effective treatment because the life-expectancy of someone with Pompe is only about 8-10 years.
Pompe is a genetic degenerative condition that causes damage to muscle and nerve cells and affects other tissues such as the heart and liver, because of an accumulation of glycogen (sugar) due to a deficiency in a particular enzyme.
I enjoyed the movie and I had one major takeaway: be grateful for the extra-ordinary.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often think about or notice what is physiologically happening inside of me. There are hundreds, thousands…if not hundreds of thousands…of “ordinary” things happening inside of you right now, and all the time. Chemical reactions, gas exchanges, filtrations, movements, formations, divisions, replicatings, transportings, and more. It’s all happening…without you even being aware of any of it!
Really there is an “extra” of “ordinary” things happening. And if just one of these “ordinary” things don’t happen, like in the case of Pompe disease, things fall apart.
Now, I’m not saying this to get you anxious!…“What if one thing goes wrong?!!”
I’m saying this to make you aware of just how extraordinary you really are! You always have something to be grateful for!
In life, when things go wrong, or when troubles arise, it’s easy to experience negative emotions such as grief, despair, anger, or hopelessness. These emotions cause us to narrow our focus to that one area of life and hyper focus on and get lost in the problems. We become biased towards seeing negativity - the negative stuff just pops out at us and we don’t see the positives. This leads to more negative emotions and a resultant downward spiral where stress builds and it feels like there is nothing to be grateful for.
But like I said, there’s always something to be grateful for. The “extra” of “ordinary” things happening inside you all the time.
Gratitude is a positive emotion. When we experience positive emotion, stress is undone- our focus broadens, we see positives, get new perspectives, and build resilience. This leads to more positive emotions and we get swept up into an upward spiral.
Even if you have a condition where, like Pompe, one thing is not working “properly”, don’t get caught in the downward spiral - you still have an “extra” of “ordinary” things to be grateful for.
My takeaway from the movie Extraordinary Measures: be grateful for the extra-ordinary.
PS. There is a lot of “ordinary” in life of which we are not aware. There are some “ordinary” things that steal our happiness and contribute to stress. Learn what they and choose to be happy again. Start with The 42 Day Choice Challenge.
Here’s to conquering stress.
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