Photo by Jennifer Davis Rash

Rashional Thoughts: Ever feel like screaming when pressured from all sides?

Fall Saturdays in the South are some of my all-time favorite days. Whether it be spending the day in a stadium cheering for our favorite team or curled up watching back-to-back games in the comfort of our home, I love when football is the only item on Saturday’s agenda.

And even when we have to suffer those difficult game day losses, I still enjoy the overall experience.

However, one thing I’ve noticed is the difference of how loud I cheer when in the stadium (especially during an intense game) versus tucked away at home or at a friend’s house.

You know what I mean, right?  Screaming at the top of our lungs, shaking pompoms, jumping up and down and basically exhausting ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally — all totally acceptable in a stadium atmosphere, of course.

It’s also common to find a similar atmosphere in some TV rooms across the state but definitely not all of them.

This got me thinking recently about all the college football and NFL stadiums that sat empty in 2020. Those empty stands also meant tens of millions of people over the course of last year’s football season did not spend their routine fall Saturdays screaming and jumping up and down for several hours.

Is it possible that without the natural stress relieving exercise of cheering at a football game, an unusually large number of people ended up with pent-up anxiety and frustrations with nowhere to go?

‘Fragile emotions’

And could that be part of why so many people have seemed extremely angry and on edge this year?

Is it possible that as more people return to the stadiums, some of the fragile emotions will balance back out?

I know it seems a bit wacky to think about the heightened levels of anxiety and edginess this way, but some research does claim releasing stress through screaming can be helpful.

It’s not the same as yelling in anger to be hurtful or ugly, but more like a pressure-release valve or like what you might do when lifting a heavy object.

Fun fact — I tried it and can document it works. Don’t tell the TAB staff, but if one of them had stopped by the office a few weekends ago when I had the upstairs to myself, they might have been frightened.

Pressure is normally my friend and helps me prioritize, but that particular day it tipped the scale beyond what I thought I could handle — but only for a few minutes.

Once the “last straw” entered the scene, the scream came out at the top of my lungs and I discovered those years of breath-control training for band immediately sprang into action.

I’ve still got it, y’all — holding that scream for what seemed like two minutes (while probably only 10 seconds) absolutely evened me back out. I was then able to calmly tackle all items needing attention that day.

So, would a few screams at the top of our lungs serve as the pressure-release valve we all need from time to time? And if so, what options do we have for spaces to scream and not cause concern or embarrassment? Do we need to purchase one of those foam boxes made for screaming exercises? Could we hide out in our vehicle?

And while strategic screaming may not be for you, I would encourage you to find some type of exercise to help when the pressure piles on and life seems out of control.

The ability to remain steady in the midst of intense stress prevents saying hurtful things we don’t mean and adding extra frustration to our day.

Word of appreciation to our church and associational partners from Haley

Helping care for our church and associational partners has been such a special part of my 16 and a half years at The Alabama Baptist and TAB Media.

I have enjoyed my time here and have made lifelong friendships with my co-workers as well as those of you partnering with us through subscriptions and local editions.

It’s amazing how many of you I have gotten to know personally, and I want you all to know that I don’t take any of that for granted.

I worked hard to make sure you will be covered with the same attention you’ve always had. You are important to our entire team, and I’m going to miss you.

The relationships made through TAB Media are what has made this job so great for me.

—Haley Piersol

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