We all handle and deal with stress differently. Some people manage large amounts of it and still think clearly, while others have mini meltdowns in the blink of an eye. Wherever it is on the scale, it’s fine. Being kind to ourselves regardless of our reaction to it, is what ultimately matters..
I started this newsletter not only to discuss the inner workings of the music and entertainment industry, but also to create a positive space where we can find small ways to heal. Especially in this day and age, where we are all clearly overworked and in a constant state of stress. It’s nice to feel like there’s a friend in our corner supporting us along this wild journey that we call life.
So this week, I want to bring up a term that has really helped and continues to help me when I’m experiencing moments of extreme stress and anxiety. I want to discuss the positives to it, as well as some of the negatives. It’s called; Regression.
Age regressions is basically a term when someone has a mental retreat to an earlier age or portion of life. It can be triggered when either something really positive or negative happens. It is a coping mechanism for a lot of people who deal with anxiety or PTSD, and can help regulate the emotional state. It can be reverting to a time where a person is only a few years younger than they are now, to reverting all the way back to a young child. It’s different for everyone, and definitely depends on the upbringing. For some, they can experience negative reactions and it can be really intense, leading to lashing out or screaming. It can also cause people to physically react as they did when they were a kid (sucking thumbs), or have attachments to certain items like childhood blankets etc. In other situations, it’s more positive and connects us to our inner child, which can be quite healthy and helpful for overall mental health.
Now, I’m not a psychologist or an expert in this field by any means, I only know a little bit about it. However, I wanted to share my experience, in hopes that it might be helpful for others, and less taboo.
When we are in a constant state of fight / flight or freeze / fawn (which you can read about in another one of my past newsletters HERE), certain parts of our brains shut down. This is why we look for coping mechanisms to calm ourselves or make us feel safe.
Learning to reconnect with our inner child or younger self is something I think can be super helpful to living a more happy and peaceful life. But again, this is only if there were positive moments or a significant point in one’s life where things were pleasant and safe to return to. Some people have had difficult upbringings or traumatic childhoods, in which case, it isn’t worth re-triggering or re-living through that kind of suffering. If this is the situation, then maybe regression for them might be a moment from their teen years, or even a more recent state. Either way, there are a lot of theories out there about age regression. If you’re curious, you can do some research and read more about it on the interwebs.
For me, I experience regression when I’m super overwhelmed. It’s usually because of an intense work situation, but can happen in everyday stressful settings too. Either way, I have particular memories that I jump back to in my life. One of them that makes a regular comeback is when I was a child, around 5-6 years of age – I would water my parents' plants in our yard with a giant watering can. I remember stomping my feet in puddles of water while doing it, and I usually wore a one piece bathing suit that had little sunglasses all over it. I remember being so happy watering those plants. The smell of the soaked soil is something I think about regularly. It’s why I still love to water plants and make sure I include the ritual into my weekly routine. Last week, I even made puddles on my patio so I could stomp around barefoot and feel like a kid again. It was lovely and very wholesome!
Another time I jump back to often is my early teen years. My favourite thing to do was listen to music in my room and sing into a karaoke machine. I would sing along to Spice Girls, Avril Lavigne, Mandy Moore, Michelle Branch, B*Witched, S-Club 7 and much more. I sang like no one was listening and it was extremely freeing. Once in a while, I make sure to listen to these artists, and find moments where I can sing at the top of my lungs. My space and time for this is usually when I’m in the shower, (you can ask my partner, I sing very loudly EVERY TIME). It makes me really happy and I’m glad that I continue to make space for it.
Another activity I did during the pandemic was revert to streaming old shows that I grew up watching. Programs like Hey Arnold!, Lizzie McGuire, Boy Meets World, The OC and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They genuinely comfort me to this day and make me extremely happy. The nostalgia train isn’t something new either.. It’s why Hollywood is creating all these reboots to try and make money off of our nostalgia.
It’s also why events like Emo Night have been so successful. People who attend these emo shows get a high from being in a packed room, screaming lyrics to their favourite songs, with a bunch of strangers. It’s incredibly liberating.
Obviously being nostalgic for too long, too often can cause us to not live in the present moment, and that’s when age regression can be deemed as problematic. We are looking for a healthy dose of nostalgia here, okay? We want to connect with that inner child and let them thrive!
So my question for you is, is there a time in your life that you regress to?
I would love it if you could make a playlist for yourself with songs that remind you of a certain time in your life and that brought you joy. Put it on regularly and enjoy the nostalgia. Maybe dance or sing it out! You could also try throwing on an old show you used to watch, while you’re at it. Another option is to find a snack you had as a kid and treat yourself to it. I used to make ants on a log and recently made it for the first time in years, it was such a throw back! Try to connect with that version of yourself, even if it’s only for a brief moment, because they’d probably love to see you. It may make your heart feel light, in fact, I’m hoping for it!
Here’s my nostalgic playlist that I made last year.
Feel free to share yours in the comments if you’re comfortable!!
I too look to past memories/experiences that brought me peace and it is largely why we moved. I now live 30 min from where my grandparents once lived, my favourite place on earth. I am starting to garden, seeing old friends that I haven’t been able to visit due to distance and just looking forward to the lifestyle change. The pandemic really had me reevaluate what is most important. Spending time with friends that share that nostalgia/history, listening to 80s tunes and sharing memories is a great way to get some laughs in the belly :)
Love reading what comes from your heart and specially sharing it for others going through the same situation, even if it only helps one person then it’s worth it all! ❤️