Do you ever find yourself in a tangled web of thoughts and pondering and sometimes feel yourself getting crushed under the weight of it all? How do you cope with those moments? I remember being 21, enjoying my college life and living each day with vigour. My academic load got pretty heavy during my junior year but Fridays always brought me salvation.
I would jump in the car with a backpack of clothes and my favourite swimsuits and drive with friends to our favourite surf spot. Something–everything about the ocean soothes me, calms me, heals me. What was it they say about saltwater?
The cure for anything is saltwater–sweat, tears, or the sea. -Isak Dinesen
12 years on, today, I don’t have too many free days to just drive to the beach for surf and week-long camping trips. But if I don’t resort to ugly-crying to make myself feel better after a tough day or week, I make sure to get myself to the gym. I fight against my “weak body” and get my “willing spirit” to run, stretch, lift weights, and push myself against my limits–especially on days I want to just veg out in bed and feel sorry for myself. I have NEVER regretted going to the gym whether it’s an intense workout or an easy circuit session. My favourite part is sitting in the hot sauna room just sweating away the day’s stresses.
Not only do I sweat out the toxins from my body but I also give myself some quiet and allow myself to think despite the heat. My pores open and so does my mind. My skin starts to turn pink and my pulse slows down. I can hear myself breathing and finally–can hear myself think as well. The choices and the voices that get muddled in the deafening noise of the daily grind finally come to me clearer and with more definition. I am able to sort out my thoughts, compartmentalise my feelings, choose my battles, and strategise my moves.
Whether I’m nursing a broken heart over a failed relationship or friendship, a lost loved one, or some career downturns, I at least get to go through the emotional process in a healthy way. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer this quiet mediation after some physical exertion over retail therapy. It’s more economically-sound and yields more benefits. Ha!
Maybe you’re not a fan of crowded gyms? A brisk walk through the city or an easy jog through the park can do more for your soul than sitting in your room and wallowing in sadness. Give it a try and see if you don’t come out feeling better.
Maybe that’s why God created tears and invented crying. Maybe that’s the reason one of His first creations was the ocean. Maybe that’s why human beings can sweat in ways that animals do not–because it is linked to the way our emotions are processed. Whatever scientific or theological meaning you can find or think up, the bottom line for me is that Isak Dinesen spoke the truth in this quote. There is definitely some healing to be found in saltwater.