HUMOUR: SUNDAY HERALD/WEIGHTLESS WORRIES
Weightless worries during Covid times
In which soothing music increased, not decreased, worry
My sleepless nights are getting to be a matter of concern for my kith and kin. I`m a certified worrywart and the Virus-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named has worsened my chronic insomnia. None of the tried and tested remedies are working. I`d worry about the sheep hurting themselves as they jumped over the stile, so counting sheep was out. Counting down from one hundred had me so anxious about skipping numbers, I did it with full attention and wakeful concentration, over and over again, through the dark watches of the night. So now, I spent most of my nights padding about the dark, hushed house, trying not to knock the peg tables down, pondering the etymology and the philosophy behind that crowned pestilence that was stalking the land, on and on till sleep beckoned. Which was usually just as dawn breaks.
Which is why the aforementioned kith and kin put their heads together, conferred, and sent me The Song.
It wasn’t just any song. It was a song discovered by Western neurologists that Reduced Anxiety by 65 per cent. Better than Cognitive Therapy. Better than Meditation, Yoga, Massage and other Relaxation Techniques. (Disclaimer: all the capitals are from the promotional literature, not mine). Researchers had got participants to listen to The Song, then measured their brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing. The Song, called Weightless, apparently calmed the listener down, clipped their anxiety levels by a whopping 65%, and sent them to sleep very quickly.
Just what the doctor ordered in these locked-down times, in fact. And so, that very night, I duly sank my creamed, lotioned and teeth-brushed body onto the mattress, switched off all lights, and turned The Song on.
There was one minute before I switched on the song, though, when I asked myself just how stressed I was, to want my anxiety levels reduced so drastically. I mean 65% is drastic, right? The answer supplied by my left brain was: that much stress reduction will leave you with no brain. My right brain then interjected: In fact, you need that much of stress reduction. If 65% of big worries are removed, what remains are trifling worries, like if you`ve left the stove on, used the hand sanitiser only 28 times today, if you are running out of hand cream.
This meant I had to, or alternatively, didn’t have to do The Song routine. And I so badly wanted to do The Song routine. So I ignored both halves of my brain and went right ahead with The Song project.
The Song started, and I listened intently. For all of two minutes. Then I fell to wondering if I was an epic fail because I didn`t attend any lockdown webinars. If I`d be able to meet my tax accountant anytime at all this year. If the loudly, viciously squabbling couple next door would seek a marriage counsellor the moment lockdown was lifted, and give us all some peace. If I`d fall sleep before 4.30 am. In short, I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
Watch the accompanying video to The Song, the same kith and kin then told me, it`s such a soporific one. So, the very next night, I did. It showed fireflies -like creatures arriving by night via a spacecraft, then fluttering above a lake in all sorts of formations for the whole duration of The Song. I watched them flit hither and thither and soon enough, was worrying hard. Was that calm, still lake Pangong Tso, which India shares with China? Were they virus-carrying vectors? Should I alert the ICMR? Long story short, I fretted long and hard about the Critters of The Song. All night long.
Now, I pad around the dark hushed house, worrying about the possibility of strange fireflies who gracefully weave about us, then pass on dreaded contagions to the sound of hypnotically deadening music. I`m also offering myself to the selfsame neurologists, as someone whose anxiety levels spiked up during The Song. In all probability, my anxiety increased by 65%. So much for The Song.