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        Volume 10 |Issue 02 | January 14, 2011 |

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It doesn't have to be so Stressfull


One of the most used words of modern lifestyle is 'stress'. It is as if it was born out of the very concept of modernity. Along with stress came all those awful ailments such as clogged arteries, clots in the brain, sizzling ulcers and excruciating aches and pains in places you couldn't imagine as having the capability to feel anything. Apparently stress causes evil toxins to build up all over your body parts, causing them to scream in protest in various ways. Stress has become such a buzzword of these times that you will find even little babies crying for no apparent reason; it's because they are so 'stressed' with the stressful life that their parents are leading. So how do people manage to survive in this thick fog of stress that engulfs us?

An effective stress-reliever that doesn't necessarily involve being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and hence will have no adverse effect on your liver or brain is having a good laugh. Watching or listening to comedy can really take away all the negative little demons gnawing at your brain and leave a relaxed, happy feeling. Scientists say it's all about the feel-good hormones called endorphins that are released and that help to create those few moments of euphoria. It is the same as when people are in love or when old buddies get together and laugh at each other's inane jokes or when guilt-ridden working parents spend quality time with their children. There seems to be endless ways to distract one's stress and just escape for a little while and everyone has their own way of de-stressing.

You may for instance be in a tizzy in the morning because your child or spouse is turning the house upside down not being able to locate a single pair of socks that match. Naturally, if you are the adult female in the family it is expected that you must know exactly where the blue socks with white border are, you know, the pair that was worn about three months ago before one of them disappeared into thin air. Thus the stress levels will shoot up and the familiar aches and pains will accompany to add to the party. The crazy thing however, is that even in such a situation you can actually 'de-stress'. After the offending child or spouse has left sock-less or wearing two different colours (no one has the time to look at your socks, you tell them), take a deep breath and count to four before exhaling. The next thing to do is scrounge around the entire house looking for socks whether they have a mate or not. You may be surprised to find that you have in front of you around twenty single socks of varying shades and colour. Before you start frothing at the mouth just be patient and look into each sock that you have retrieved from various dusty corners of the bedroom. Lo and Behold! Here in the jumble of lonely singles that seem to be fated to bachelordom for the rest of their lives, are the perfect matches. Even the blue sock with white border comes out, a little withered, but more than happy to be with its mate. It is quite remarkable, the calming effect, this matching one sock with the other can be. You finally understand why so many people at the office suddenly become glassy eyed in the middle of a stressful workday and then have peaceful, saintly expressions as they play Solitaire on their computers. True, you may still be left with thirteen singles forlornly lying in a row on the bed. But as you scoop them into the singles bag, you know there is always hope.

Thus an obvious, stressful situation can be turned into one that is quite calming and in fact helps you to escape from all the other stresses in your life. Other instances of how negatives turn into positives: sorting out your cupboard after failing to find the key to the drawer where your passport is kept; counting the number of people who are wearing purple while stuck in an hour of traffic jam; watching an intense documentary on the feeding patterns of hyenas while waiting at the dentist's (it's not pretty but it certainly takes your mind off the impending root canal). There are also those strange ones who find watching gory, disgusting, B grade horror films as a way to 'relax' but let's not talk about it. It's just too stressful.



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