Shannon Armitage, LMFT

Adult, Child, Couple, and Family Therapy in Seattle

Letting Cooler Heads Prevail

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This summer in Seattle has been a hot one–for us.  Last summer I barely cracked open the sunscreen. This summer I’ve had to be slathered every day since Memorial Day.  I’ve run the fan most days and slept with the windows open in my room.  What most people in North America think of as a “normal” summer feels like a special sun-filled holiday for us.

Now, I’m not one to complain about the heat, but it did catch me off-guard the other day.  I had just finished my morning run.  It was barely 10 a.m., and the thermometer was well on its way toward the 90-degree mark.  I was doing my usual “cool-down”, walking around my neighborhood when I stared to think: ” What is wrong?  I’m not cooling down.  If anything, I feel hotter than I was during my run.”  Then it dawned on me, “Oh, it’s just really hot out today; I gotta get back inside to cool off.”

I know, this story sounds so weird, but coping with heat is just not something we Seattlites do often enough to develop any really expertise.  Atlanta, y’all got us beat on this one.

But in dealing with the heat this summer, it reminded me of our all-too common human shortcoming:  to deal with change as if NOTHING has changed.  We resort to our old habits and apply them to the new situations, expressing shock when they fail to work.  Everyone does it.  Who hasn’t driven a rental car, pulled into the gas staion, and been surprised to find that the gas tank is on the OPPOSITE side of your ususal car?  Habits are a powerful force.

So when you find that you’re trying the same strategies that no longer bring the same results, it’s time to ask yourself:  What has changed?  How can I cope with what’s true now?  How can I change my thinking and behavior to get more of what I want, and less of what I don’t want?  How can I stop feeling so hot and sweaty?

Stay cool, friends.  And if you can’t figure out how to do it on your own, help is out there!

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