Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Release the emotional stampede: raisins and the mentally fit cyclist

New research indicates loneliness is contagious; I'm definitely not leaving the house now. Don't worry, though, because happiness is also contagious. Your chipper waitress whose name is Tammy! and writes it on your paper table"cloth" and asks how she can annoy the living shit out of you? Yeah, Harvard says its contagious: "What we are dealing with is an emotional stampede," says one researcher. In related news, a sex therapist is trying to release an emotional stampede in women's erogenous zones by having them touch raisins.

Tonny Robbins told you this years ago, as did Hamlet: there is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.

Although's Toolbox is among my favorites (Stephen Cheung's work is especially exceptional), I've come to despise the work of Marvin Zauderer. Marvin, a psychologist, urges us on with annoyingly meaningless imperitives:
"Stress and its siblings contribute not only to negative self-talk, but to unpleasant sensations and images, distraction, errors, avoidance, and energy loss."
"Sadness is certainly a normal part of life, but be on the lookout for sadness that’s prolonged or seemingly serious; it could be one of the many signs of depression."
"When you’re sitting, standing, or walking, practice paying attention to the contact of your feet (or shoes) with the ground."
"In contrast to other animals – although I suspect our cat, Whizzy, would disagree – we human beings have the unique ability to be self-aware: to reflect on our moment-to-moment experience."

Some of the inanity of Zaudererism is the inanity of all psychological advice--point out the obvious. We do not need a man with a cat named Whizzy to point out that sadness is related to depression and that stress can impair our ability to function. At least give us a raisin to stroke.

Therapy doesn't work in a column because it is necessarily concrete, face-to-face. The power of therapy is the power of concrete things to release the emotional stampede. It's peer pressure. As silly as it seems to inspire arousal in women by sitting them in a circle, handing them a raisin and telling them to tell themselves they're sexual, it's a hell of a lot more effective than telling us to be self-aware.

This is exactly what evangelists like Benny Hinn recognize. Nothing like a body hitting the floor to inspire change.

If you want to become stronger as a cyclist but don't want to get thrown to the ground or sit around in a circle stroking raisins, there's hope. Strong cycling is contagious. Ride with strong riders; I guarantee you'll catch the emotional stampede.