This post contains no misery or mental illness.
At 44 years of age, only in the past month or two have I noticed/enjoyed the pleasure of stretching. Naturally, I googled it. I google everything.
S t r e t c h
“When a person stretches the circulation is measurably increased. The contracting muscles squeeze more blood back to the heart and replenishes oxygen to the lungs. The chest expands drawing in more air. Sometimes as a person stretches they also yawn sometimes. This also enriches the bloodstream with more oxygen and feels good to the body.
Why does this feel good? For a number of reasons. First, the brain is cleared and receives more oxygen. This is especially helpful when waking from a night’s sleep, after a nap, or even after sitting for a sustained period of time. When the body is at rest it uses less oxygen, breathing becomes shallower and the blood circulates more slowly. Stretching galvanizes the body’s metabolism and kicks it up a few notches—almost like turning up a rheostat.
All this activity releases endorphins to the brain. In some cases the endorphins gently stimulate the same region of the brain that is stimulated during an orgasm, but at a much lower level. This gives the body a mild feeling of euphoria accompanied by a sense of refreshment.
Psychology then comes into play and emotions. A long, satisfying stretch buoys the emotions and also elicits a mild feeling of well-being.
All of this from simply stretching? Yes, that is why it feels so good and at the right moment of the day little else is as satisfying as a good, long stretch.”
No wonder it feels good. My attempts at googling why on earth it’s taken me so long to get there, were useless. Despite my need (and greed) to know things, I love the fact that some things are ungooglable. It prolongs the hunt, reroutes it to pre-internet resources and even then, it might be unanswerable. When I first noticed (or experienced, idk) it, I wasn’t sure what it was and I didn’t immediately identify it as a good feeling. Now I like it lots, of course. I wonder if it’s due to a history of my mind being very far removed from my body (thanks for that, childhood). I wonder these things idly and if I’m feeling blank enough, I have the space to write down trivial shit.
All of my life until late last year, I’d have confidently told you that I rarely see images in my mind and that if I try to force it to, quite often I see the word or words themselves. In black, American Typewriter font, on an oldish, very slightly yellowing paperback page. And of course, that is an image of a sort too. I was astonished and really pleased when, while reading one day, the some of the characters’ faces popped brightly into my head. They were mostly celebrity head and shoulders photos. No idea when it stopped happening, but I’m gently regretful about it.
This one is plentifully googlable, it’s a very common thing.
“All the exams the scientists gave MX confirmed his claim that he was missing his mind’s eye. And yet he could do lots of things that would seem impossible without one. Without any effort he could give the scientists detailed descriptions of landmarks around Edinburgh, for example. He could remember visual details, but he couldn’t see them. Della Sala and Zeman asked MX to say whether each letter of the alphabet had a low-hanging tail (like g and j). He got every one right. They asked him about specific details of the faces of famous people (Does Tony Blair have light-colored eyes?). He did just as well as the architects.”
Not uncommon and certainly not a handicap. In fact, it may not even be an anomaly. Here is one interesting cause from the same article, but it doesn’t apply to yours truly.
“A study I was part of found that people with congenital prosopagnosia, a genetic inability to recognise faces, had virtually absent visual imagery despite having no signs of brain damage or neurological abnormalities.
Patients who acquire prosopagnosia after brain damage often report that they can no longer imagine what faces look like, but in MX’s case, he seems to have lost his ability to mentally ‘see’ faces but has no problem recognising people.”
The only times I don’t recognise faces are because I habitually avoid eye contact, I miss lots of other visual detail that way. Naturally some
funding hunters academics do see a problem and there’s a little flock of charlatans life coaches developing spin solutions in their wake.
“When people have lesions in Area 39, they have great difficulty with abstr act imagery, memory, attention and self-awareness,” writes Dr. Khalsa.
Einstein had an enlarged Area 39.
But! Research into the brain fascinates me wildly and so I approve of those grants and the projects they finance. We know so little about the brain etc etc.
Anyroad up, I am deeply fond of these little detours down the proverbial rabbit hole. There’s no discomfort behind any of it, I learn a lot (frequently about totally unrelated things) and intelligent distraction is very good for me, I think.