Living in an age of instant gratification, it may seem easy to stress. Larger demands on time with less emphasis on the well-being of numero uno help create a great deal of anxiety today. Recently, however, I’ve noticed a movement to help relieve these over-worked stress bunnies.
Companies are implementing massage therapy in the workplace to give employees a moment of peace. Universities are offering weekly meditation classes. My part-time job has one “mental health” day built in each semester.
With so many attempts at relaxation, it’s astounding that any real work gets done. We need stress to keep us on our toes, always thinking of something else we could be accomplishing at every instant. So, I have compiled a basic list of ways to bring stress back into your life. There’s no need to thank me. Knowing the service I’m bestowing on you is enough.
1. Wear a Watch
People who wear watches are more likely to check the time every five seconds simply because it’s something to do. Combine this with meetings, appointments, or anything else that requires being somewhere else at a specific time and you will be unable to concentrate because you are so stressed about leaving on time. It is important that what you check is a watch or a nearby clock. Cell phones have alarm capabilities that free their owners from keeping tabs on time so they can continue to occupy themselves until the appointed hour. Amateurs – when will they learn?
2. Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Take a Break
Hold your bladder until it tries to explode, eat lunch at your desk, do whatever it takes to continue working. Relaxed students find that stepping away from their desk, fifteen minutes for every hour they study, helps them process information they’ve reviewed and clears new space in their brain for the next hour. But that is fifteen minutes of study time they’ll never get back. And he who spends the most time behind the desk wins, right? Working through the night adds the nice touch of sleep deprivation for optimum stress level.
3. No Exercising
Exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy, which makes you less stressed. Sweating out your troubles has obvious health benefits, too, so you have one less thing to stress about. You have my permission to gasp in horror. So, in order to keep that stress mentality going, you must sacrifice the exercise for "stress eating."
This may sound counterproductive, because you are going to the comfort food to stop the stress. But the truth of the matter is that gorging on cake can only help your stress. It may provide a small satisfaction at first, but if you aren’t finished with whatever you are stressed about, you’ll only go back for more cake. Then you’ll feel angry for giving in and guilty for enjoying it. At the peak of your mountain of stress, you will become anxious about fitting into that new dress you bought, thus completing the cycle of stress.
4. Never Say No
After a stressful week of school and/or work, it may be tempting to take a quiet evening to yourself. Reading a book on the couch, taking a bubble bath, ordering from your favorite take-out place, or simply going to bed early are all ways those silly relaxed people recharge. What they don’t tell you is that they are skipping out on life.
These people tell their poor Aunt Sally they are too busy to attend her weekly quilting circle. They say “no” to charity functions, monster fraternity parties, and anyone else who dares to come between them and their “me time.” And they don’t even feel guilty about it!
The best way to stress is to allow zero free time. If you sit still for an instant you may try to relax and, honey, you don’t have the time for that! After work, you are meeting potential investors for a drink. Then you’ll change and rush out the door to your boyfriend’s house party. Stumble home at 4 a.m., wake up at 6 a.m. to help cure cancer by participating in a marathon (you walk, because you’ve given up exercise), have lunch with your mother, go to a friend’s baby shower, then dinner and dancing with the girls. And that’s only through Saturday. You can relax when you’re dead – carpe diem!
Ah, the mother lode; this is possibly the genius of all stress magnets. It can be used in every aspect of life. It succeeds every time. Whether you have to shower and eat breakfast or write a fifteen-page paper on Napoleon, waiting until the last possible time to start without missing the deadline guarantees a migraine. Because you are already stressed about having no free time, you rebel by taking time from somewhere else (i.e. homework time or sleeping time). If you make it to this step of the program, pat yourself on the back. You, my friend, know how to stress!
You know you need to finish your calculus by tomorrow but Gossip Girl is on and you haven’t seen that show in, like, for-ev-er! Besides, all you really have to do are the even problems because those are the ones he checks. And you can stay up an extra hour to do those. Screw that, sleep is precious. You’ll skip Physics tomorrow to finish. Your professor reads from the textbook anyway.
What will end up happening is you won’t give yourself enough time to really think about the problems, so you’re stressing out while trying to beat the clock. You also just skipped review day in Physics so say goodbye to your life the night before the next test. It’s all rright, school is meant to have a few all-nighters, right?
The act of stressing out is not hard to accomplish, but being stressed is a lifelong commitment that you must exercise constantly to maintain a certain skill level. Use your resources, and do not be swayed by “helpful” friends and family. Keep all relaxed folk at arm’s length. It’s just unnatural. You have been shown the light. Go and preach the good word.