Letters to the Editor

Need to walk

/ 12:10 AM April 29, 2017

Reading Michael Tan’s column “Need to talk” (Opinion, 4/7/17) was a welcome respite from all the disconcerting political news I’ve been ingesting these past several months. Indeed, Tan’s advice that intimating to friends one’s hang-ups and personal issues helps a troubled person to release some amount of tension and negative vibes caused by it.

However, there are those who, by nature, are not inclined to open themselves up to others. So what tension-releasing alternatives are there for reticent people? This brings me to sharing something about my good friend, who permitted me to cite him as an example in this letter.


“Without intending to,” he fell deeply in love two years ago with a girl he described as “ideal.” But for some reason, things suddenly went awry last year, which resulted in his decision to not dare pursue her anymore.

Consequently, he felt unsettled as the thought of his non-attempt at love clawed and gnawed at him persistently last year, the “worst year” of his life. At times, he said, his heart even felt some pain—literally. That, plus the accompanying surge of edginess, prompted him to get out of his house one night to just walk to nearby West Avenue and back. He shared that the act of walking, which he has been doing regularly ever since, has a very calming effect on him during his now decreasing bouts of angst, uneasiness and regret.


Then last month at JASMS-QC, just before the school year ended, a usually restless Grade 7 student of mine was, yet again, walking back and forth at the back of the classroom while his classmates remained on their seats, preoccupied with that day’s writing activity. I could have firmly told him to sit down on his chair as I had done several times before. But in that rare instance, I gently asked him if he would like to walk around anywhere outside the room for two to three minutes and then come back. He agreed.

When he returned, the restlessness was gone, and the English period ended with him submitting a well-written essay. This is a tack I can try more consistently on restless students this coming school year.

I am an advocate of walking, which I expressed in my letter “The merits and joys of walking” (Opinion, 6/13/08).  Perhaps, Professor Tan, whose politics-free columns I enjoy reading, could write about this more substantially and from an anthropological viewpoint.

People who are concerned about their emotional well-being and physical fitness should be aware of and not take lightly the very positive effects of walking. It can even be easily integrated into their workout regimen. Here’s hoping that Tan considers this suggestion for a future column.

Allow me to end this by also requesting the Inquirer’s excellent columnists to continue writing articles that deal with the lighter (but still important) side of life. For even in reading the newspaper, one needs a breather from the anxiety that comes with knowing about the very toxic happenings at the political front.


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TAGS: Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, Luca de Castro Despbiladeras, Mental Health, Michael tan, talking
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