April 5th, 2012

Stress-reduction Techniques

This is a random lost post–apparently I wrote it over a year ago, when I was moving, and never put it up. I was just rummaging through my drafts folder and found it. I guess the stress at the time just overwhelmed me. So the contextual references won’t make too much sense now, but I think the post itself is still good. Blast from the not-too-distant past!!

My stressball symptoms from the move (convinced that everything is filthy yet am too tired to clean, walking into walls, inability to carry on a conversation not somehow related to moving) abated somewhat last night. This was due to taking a 90 minute train-ride in order to have my parents feed me, listen to my problems, and let me play with their kitten. I haven’t been in my filthy, box-strewn apartment in close to 24-hours now, and the improvement is obvious. The only cloud on the horizon is that I will eventually have to go back there, and figure out how to dismantle the stereo. But first–Swiss Chalet!

For times when it is not convenient to return the the parental home, here are a few other stress-reduction techniques I have picked up over the years. I am really not the best person to be getting this advice from–I deal with stress about as well as ice sculptures deal with firebombing. This post is really as much a reminder for me as for anyone else.

–go outside and walk. The hamster wheel of the brain can be jarred out of its cycle by a new environment, brisk movement, and a different temperature. This is especially true in my current scenario, when it is the indoors that is *causing* my troubles, but the technique also works with writing or work-related stress–leaving the computer screen is highly beneficial in those cases, even if the absense is only brief. In those cases, I would recommend strongly leaving all communication devices behind–part of the benefit of walking is walking *away* from your problems–less helpful if you put them in your pocket.

–do a good deed. The altruism thing aside, I find it’s a good boost to my self-esteem when I do something nice for someone else. If someone says thank you for something and really means it, I feel less like a *total* waste of oxygen. Even holding the door open for someone or handing someone something they’ve dropped can work. For more major stress, giving blood really helps if you have time and are able to. You get the thrill of maybe saving someone’s life, plus you’re lightheaded and a little drunk-feeling–and eating a free cookie!

–do something you know you probably won’t fail at. I actually got this tip out of a Sassy magazine in the early 90s, but it still works. Doing something you have a high sucess rate at–cooking a meal you’ve made before, playing a sport or game you know well, writing a blog post–makes you feel better about your powers, and more able to deal with whatever you actually need to do.

–sleep. I’m actually not sure this is good advice, but when I’m really overwhelmed, I like to lose consciousness for a while.

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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