I read an article earlier today about how listening to complainers is bad for your brain.
The author mentioned that when he finds himself trapped by a complainer or venter that he finds a desire to be somewhat understanding towards (e.g., a coworker), he essentially pretends like he’s listening, but takes a vacation elsewhere.
In his case, he imagines a private island with a winding, sandy pathway and pictures himself tuning out and taking a peaceful stroll. The island is one that he saw in a magazine once upon a time, and it stuck with him.
He remembers to nod when appropriate and seem as though he’s taking all of the venting and frustrations in, but in reality, he’s retreating during the ranting and raving so that he doesn’t bring himself down.
I found myself thinking about the places I wander. I wander to Vermont, even though I’ve never been.
I wander to Lake Como even though I’ve never been.
I wander to Greece, to London and to Tuscany — all despite the fact that I’ve never been.
But the author wraps up his article by saying that eventually he got a chance to really visit that island — and that it was as beautiful as he imagined. And if he can carve that road out for himself, perhaps I’ll be able to travel my own roads to Greece, to London and Tuscany someday.
Here’s to taking the walks that we all imagine in our minds.