I had an interesting conversation today about the stressfulness of our daily lives and how people handle said stressfulness. (Spell check tells me stressfulness is not a word, but I’m not going to stress about it.) Do they buckle under? Do they ignore it? Do they laugh it off? Are there some people who have no stress at all and float through life like the balloons I saw some kids releasing yesterday? There is no doubt that some people have more stress than others, and some people handle it better than others. However, stress is something that humans can’t escape and probably never have. Often, my dad and his friends talk about “the good old days”. As a historian, I don’t think they ever existed. There are many reasons for that, but one of them is stress. It’s part of our existence.
This is exam week on campus, and stress is everywhere. Students are stressed over taking the tests, and faculty members are stressed over grading them and getting the rest of our end-of-semester chores done. People will be freaking out internally all over the place. However, I bet that each of them has a way of dealing with it. Here are a few of mine.
1. I listen to music. Today’s conversation went into the musical realm when we all agreed that music soothes the savage brain. At the moment, I am listening to Carol Sloane sing “Sweet and Slow”.
2. I blog. I never realized how putting my thoughts on a computer screen could relieve stress, but it’s like storing my ideas in a different place, so I can free my brain-space for more information.
3. I go to the movies. When I am super stressed, nothing brings me off the ledge better than going to a matinée and sitting in the dark. It really doesn’t matter what the movie is. The point is escaping from the world for a couple of hours.
4. I sleep. What better way to get away from the difficulties of life than to enter the dream world for a while? I like the ideas of some Native American tribes that believed the dream world was the real one. Hey, this gives me an idea for another post. Wait, I don’t want to stress about that post, so I will move on with this one.
5. I go for a drive. Another great form of relaxation is getting in the car and hitting the road. Hitting a road where speed can be dramatically increased makes it even better.
6. I pretend like I am a carefree person. Actually, this is an ongoing thing and causes stress unto itself. I give the impression to those around me that I let nothing bother me. They probably think, “Man, I wish I could be stressless like him.” (I know. Stressless isn’t a word, either.) In reality, I have stress too.
I reckon stress is relative and a matter of perspective, but all of us have it. Some of us think ours is worse than that of others. Everyone has it, and, hopefully, everyone can deal with it in a healthy way.