A guest post by Micky O’Brady
Hi there, dear reader! Happy to see you here. I’m assuming you’re browsing a tad, maybe looking for another book to hold in your hands or download onto your e-reader? A story to dive into and to lose yourself in? A nice adventure, a thriller, a romance story, or maybe a combination thereof, but in any case something to take your mind off the current whateveritmaybe?
After all, it’s 2021, and there’s this thing called pandemic still really messing with normality as we knew it. Add environmental problems. Climate change. Politics. Ugh!
Reading is the cheapest way of traveling and the easiest way to live a different life, I’ve heard somewhere. And boy, isn’t it true? The places we have seen! The adventures we’ve had, the romances, the scares, the mysteries…! Is there anything better than opening a book and diving head first into the story? Anything better than feeling how it influences your spirits, lifts you up, and keeps you floating hopefully for a while, even after you (unfortunately) had to stop reading (because, work. They don’t understand!)?
Welcome to the world of endorphins and hormones, where the mind influences the body. That warm, buzzing feeling when you immerse yourself into a character and live their happy-ever-after? Thank you, brain, for this nice release of serotonin. Much appreciated.
I must say, it’s quite fascinating how our brain is adding the hormonal score to what’s happening in our life. About to be eaten by a bear? Here’s a huge serving of adrenaline, go run, Forrest! Run! Holding the cutest baby (or kitten, or puppy) in your arms? Let’s go with a surge of oxytocin, for bonding and love. Awww…!
And luckily for us, even if it’s not real life—only happening in a story we’re invested in—the brain responds accordingly, and so do our bodies. It’s what I love about reading: not only the escape, but that it can feel real. The struggles and heartbreaks, fear and rewards, they leave their sweat stains under our armpits, or warm our cheeks with the cutest blush. To paraphrase Professor Dumbledore, it’s happening in your head, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
And here’s the kicker, the secret I wanted to get to since I put down the headline for this post: if you want the real fix, the motherlode of hormonal tsunamis…write the story yourself.
OMG. People. I can’t even begin to tell you how much more of an impact that makes. Writing your story, bringing your characters through their challenges, hurting them (sorry, all characters I have every written and will ever write, I apologize.), building them up and having them experience THE THING that they’ve been working for… It’s addicting. Mind-blowing. An internal reward measured on the grand scale. Angels singing and stuff, I mean it!
So, here’s the TL;DR and my official recommendation, as a physician and author: Feeling a tad off for whatever reason? Grab a good book and let the story and your mind do the rest. Thank you, happy hormones. Feeling like that’s not enough? Start writing your own stories and see where it gets you. I promise, your mind is not going to let you down.
PS: obviously, if you’re feeling down-down, talk to your friendly neighborhood physician. We can all attest you’re not alone—never have been and never will be—and we’ll be happy to help you in a different way.
About the Author
Micky O’Brady is a pediatrician-turned-writer living in beautiful, dry Southern California with her husband and two critters (one son, one dog). Micky loves to write YA thrillers with a romantic twist, mainly because she wishes her life had been such an awesome mix of action and cute guys when she was a teen. When she isn’t up at around 3 a.m. (with a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot) drafting stories she can’t get out of her head, she can be found at a martial arts dojo, though maybe not at 3 a.m. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Krav Maga, and is convinced every girl should know how to kick some butt. Learn more about Micky at her website.