Merry Monday – 17 Ways of Handling Stress


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Let’s face it, the world is full of stress. It’s not hard to find a news story where someone has been hurt or killed. Why is it so common? Well, it’s possible that it isn’t and there is just more attention given to those types of stories.

Maybe it has to do with people working long hours and overtime in many jobs. Is it more than before? That may depend on whether you look at the entire working history of the world before unions or take a snapshot that covers the last 10 years. “Before” is subjective to whoever is looking at the issue.

Are there more mental health issues today? No idea on this one. We see it in the news more, but that doesn’t mean it’s happening more, only that it’s actually being talked about and diagnosed now.

Do people not have enough healthy outlets to deal with the pressure they face? Maybe. I can’t remember being taught to handle stress at all, let alone in a healthy way. I was bullied though, so I learned how to escape from bad things at a young age.

It’s possible there are barriers though. For example, there are a lot of green spaces in Ottawa, but if you work a non-traditional shift, the city fines people for being in some parks at odd hours assuming the only reason you might be there is to do something illicit like deal drugs. Pokemon players have run up against this situation here. Even with barriers, there are better options than violence.

Not everyone likes the same things, so suggesting someone read a book might not be remotely helpful. It might even be something that brings stress to them if they have extra challenges like learning disabilities, so it can be hard to help someone else find something that reduces the frustration in them.

I can only offer a list of things that I do to handle stress:

  1. Videos

    I like to watch silly videos online like babies who are happy to see their dads come home from work. The trick with this one is to give yourself a limit and turn off autoplay, or you’ll waste too much time and contribute to your stress instead of helping it.

  2. Writing

    I write stories that let me constructively channel my emotions. That’s rather given as a writer, but tons of non-writers also keep journals just to get the stress from the day out in a place that doesn’t hurt other people.

  3. Fitness

    I practice martial arts or go for a run (this is a cheaper outlet than many other fitness options). I have friends who love the gym because they can watch a movie while they get their cardio in. Do something that gets your body moving, makes you sweat and releases endorphin. For some, this might be just a short walk twice a day or hopping into their garden.

  4. News

    Read about good news stories. There’s tons of the other kind. Seek out stories that help you see the whole world isn’t a cesspool.

  5. Read

    Read whatever you enjoy reading whether it’s a technical manual or a comic book, if it helps you feel less like punching people, it’s a good thing.

  6. Volunteer

    There are tons of places looking for help. Find one that works with your schedule and interests. Getting to know other people can help you learn about different perspectives and it’s hard to get mired in stuff that doesn’t matter when you’re building a house for someone in need. I’m not currently volunteering, but I have in the past and I always come away having broadened my view of the world and other people.

  7. Socialize

    Hang out with your best buds doing whatever it is you love doing together that doesn’t involve hurting others or vandalizing property. Pizza and South Park often works for me.

  8. Movies/TV

    This one can consume a lot of time, but if you are a screenwriter it’s not such a time waster. You can always watch while on a treadmill or stationary bike, so it doesn’t have to be physically bad for you either. You can do some other things while doing it too like knitting or crocheting, which has been known to have meditative effects on stress levels.

  9. Music

    Listen, play, record/produce, dance to it. It’s great for the soul.

  10. Spirituality

    Meditation, bible study, daily Tao, whatever works for you and doesn’t hurt others.

  11. Hobbies

    I love doing jigsaw puzzles and I’m learning to put model cars together. I have a friend who loves geocaching and exploring abandoned buildings. I have another who bird watches.

  12. Social Media

    Reducing time on social media reduces my exposure to the constant shares of bad news and negative comments.

  13. Special Interest Clubs

    Many people find things like Toastmasters or the Shriner’s to be life altering.

  14. Art

    Visit museums, learn to draw/paint, etc.

  15. Education

    Learn something new. Take a cooking class, a dance class, pottery, etc.

  16. Sex

    Nothing quite works for relieving stress like an orgasm. And you don’t need a partner for it unless there’s some religious restriction stopping you from self-pleasure.

  17. Cannabis

    This one may or may not be a legal option for you. Also, depending on what type of cannabis, you could actually make yourself paranoid instead of relaxed. There’s a slight chance you could be allergic to it too, so be careful. For most people, cannabis has no ill effects when used in moderation and in ways that don’t damage the lungs.

There are thousands of things to do in the world that will relieve stress without hurting others and many of them teach skills that may lead to a career change down the road. My list includes mainly the things I’m into, but it’s really a teaspoon of all that’s out there. Exploring things will help you figure out who you are and what’s most important to you. The amount of time we get to live is pretty short, so I like to reduce things that make me feel crappy and increase the good things.

If you haven’t a clue what you’re into, talk to people and find out what is out there. There are clubs for nearly everything. There’s a group in Ottawa who focuses on bonsai. There’s another who does ikebana. Another who does shodo. There are ax-throwing clubs, flag football groups, roller derby, sports fans, geocachers, Steampunks, fit goths, LEGO builders, and so much more.

And if you really want to spend your time punching people, take up a sport like boxing or MMA where the fight is consensual. Just remember that you’ll get hit too.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

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