Posts Tagged "stress"

Attack of the Earworms!

Dear Kid,

I went to the gym yesterday (no applause necessary). As I was stretching, a ballroom dance class was starting.

All good. Except the song they were playing (at decibel levels no ballroom class should ever have to endure) was “The Rainbow Connection” (Yup, the Muppet song) sung by Karen Carpenter (or a very good impersonator).

You’re not old enough to recognize Karen Carpenter’s name. She was a singer with a very sweet voice. Whoever was singing last night could have given the entire gym diabetes.

Which got me thinking about earworms.

Just so we’re clear, an earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head and (no matter how many eviction notices you serve) refuses to leave.

Earworms are almost never songs you love.

Earworms all had sad childhoods which causes them to act out to get attention.

Earworms always get attention.

EArworms doing the jitterbug (not really). DearKidLoveMom.comOne reason people get earworms is that they’ve heard the song recently and/or repeatedly. This is an obvious and boring reason.

Dreams can trigger earworms. I find this enormously interesting, but I can’t figure out how to change the earworm radio station.

Another earworm trigger is stress. Sometimes if you hear a song during a stressful time it will pop up at other stressful times. (This is not necessarily helpful.)

Music is (ahem) a “multi-sensory stimulus.” We not only hear music, we see video or movie clips, we remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the music, we might even know what the music looks like or how to play it.

Music is also tied to emotion. Play “Brian’s Song” for any of us Of A Certain Age and we’ll spontaneously burst into tears. (This is not necessarily helpful.)

Then there is the evolution thing. As a species, we need to remember things and it was much easier for the Neanderthals to remember all 50 states if they learned the “Fifty Nifty U-nited States” song the way I did in 7th grade. (Hey, don’t make fun. I can still list all 50 states in alphabetical order.)

To this day, medical students learn “the leg bone is connected to the (uh) knee bone.” When they examine patients, doctors are often singing those songs in their heads. It’s when they sing out loud that you really need to worry.

Hoping you avoid earworms today.

Love, Mom

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Cucumber Coolness | What You Don’t Know About Cucumbers

Cucumbers--solving most of the world's problems DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Do you know where the phrase “cool as a cucumber” came from? Neither did I but I decided to find out.

My first stop was our garden. After crawling through the sunflowers (that’s another story), I found the cucumbers. The cucumbers weren’t nearly as warm as I’d expected (the sunflowers provide a LOT of shade), but they weren’t exactly icy (the 90 degree heat may have had something to do with it).

“What makes you guys so cool?” I asked. One cucumber pushed back his sunglasses, but overall they said nothing. I turned to the sunflowers. “Are cucumbers really the coolest vegetable in the garden?” The sunflowers gave me a look that said “Duh. Not even The Fonz is that cool.”

According to My Friend the Internet, “cool as a cucumber” refers to cucumbers’ ability to cool the temperature of the blood. Also, when you put slices of cucumber on your eyes, the cukes really do cool the blood (and lessen swelling). Very cool.

What’s even cooler is that if you have stinky breath, you can take a slice of cucumber, press it to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds (hold it there with your tongue), and voila! lovely breath. Seriously cool.

On the warmer side of cool, if you’re stressed (what? A college kid stressed out? Say it isn’t so) the steam released from boiling cucumbers in water creates a soothing aroma.

Need some energy? Forget the energy drinks (seriously, for-get the energy drinks—they are seriously bad for you). Cucumbers are loaded with vitamin B, carbs, and fairy dust—the perfect energy source.

Not that a college student would ever drink too much, but on the off chance that you ever meet a college student who imbibes a bit too much, hand him a cuke or two. Cucumbers contain sugars, the aforementioned B vits, electrolytes, and fairy dust all of which replenish all the parts of your body that had to move aside when the beer came in. Much better than waking up with a royal hangover.

Best of all, cucumbers are delicious!

Stay cool, baby.

Love, Mom

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First Things First | Who’s on First?

Laugh out loudDear Kid,

As we expected, orientation was full of firsts. First time to spend the night in the dorm, first time eating with Culinary Services (no longer called the cafeteria), first time registering for classes, meeting first friends at college.

Walking back from the evening activities with fellow Forensic Chemistry major Carley, we somehow got on the subject of Abbot and Costello — except that she had never heard of them. Being the type of people we are (thee and me), we launched into an abbreviated, impromptu, inaccurate, and entirely hilarious rendition of Who’s on First?

Being a Smart Chickie, Carley caught on quickly and the three of us Who, What, and I-Don’t-Know’d our way across campus laughing like…whatever three laughing people laugh like. It was a very fun way to end a LONG day full of information overload.

Here is the video for your viewing pleasure.

Turns out humans laugh 17 times a day on average. Most animals don’t laugh; fish almost never giggle. And while it is rumored that crocodiles smile, no one has ever seen a croc belly laugh. Scientists don’t entirely understand laughter, and much of what has been written about understanding laughter is laughably un-understandable.

What we do know (by which I mean scientists know and I was able to understand from the research) is that laughter is really good for us. Laughter reduces stress hormones. According to at least one source laughter is excellent for weight control (laughing 100 times is equal to 15 minutes on an exercise bike) but if that’s true I should weigh about 3 ounces total. There is no evidence that getting other people to laugh is a weight loss strategy which is highly unfortunate.

The other thing we know about laughter is that something has to be funny for people to laugh. As you know, I am often hilarious. Therefore, it is my considered opinion that reading Dear Kid Love Mom is good for your health, good for reducing stress, and good for remembering that we love you.

Let me be the first one to wish you, Carley, Brandon, and everyone else a great time at college. Until then, enjoy the next 19 or so days. And don’t forget to laugh.

Love, Mom

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