Maybe it’s because the holiday season is just around the corner or maybe it’s because of my job, but lately I’ve been feeling stressed out and have really been on edge.
The other day I got into an argument in a buffet line because the guy in front of me took the last two baked potatoes. It was a silly argument and I’m glad I’m over it. But how could the guy take two potatoes? Doesn’t the moron have any common courtesy?! What the heck’s the matter with that potato-hoarding idiot!!
Okay, maybe I still need a little help in reducing my stress. Therefore, I tried a variety of different methods.
I read this one book that said you should look for your “inner guide.” This guide could be someone from your past who you respected, perhaps a mentor or a deceased relative. This imaginary guide will take you on a journey to help you find answers. I concentrated and tried to think of an old mentor. Unfortunately, my inner guide appeared in the form of my late Aunt Gussie. Aunt Gussie was known in my family for stealing silverware from restaurants and constantly singing Broadway show tunes.
At any rate I gave it a try and asked, “How can I reduce my stress?” Aunt Gussie stared at me for a minute and said, “Stop whining.” She then hit me over the head with a stolen soup spoon and started singing “I feel pretty.”
I decided to try something else.
Someone told me about visualization. When you’re under stress, think of something very pleasant and peaceful. I visualized rowing into the middle of a lake. I was surrounded by nature, and it was very serene, not a ripple. Suddenly, an alligator jumped out of the water and bit my head off. Okay, that didn’t work.
I then tried the worst-case scenario technique. You exaggerate what could happen to you to show that you’re worrying over nothing. For example, I’m worried that as I’m getting older my job is in jeopardy. So I imagined the worst that could happen to me if I talked to my boss about this. Unfortunately, in my fantasy my boss says I’m right, I am old, and I’m fired. He then spits on me and hits me over the head with my computer. For some reason I am then naked, walking out of the office building with 500 people laughing at me. The only thing I have to cover myself with is my briefcase. And unfortunately, it’s a very small briefcase. Needless to say, this technique didn’t help me.
I then decided to try acupuncture. Supposedly, if the needles are put in just the right
Place, your stress completely disappears. However, I saw the needles, stressed out, and left. I then tried yoga but two people had to help me get out of the lotus position. Embarrassed, I left the class.
After these failed attempts I thought I’d try using a technique that centered on my diet. One source said to chew dried foods, cereals and whole grain breads. The chewing itself will reduce stress. And carbohydrates trigger the brain’s production of serotonin, which soothes you. It worked at first, but I started chewing so much cereal that I gained six pounds and began stressing out about my extra weight.
Luckily after all these failures I’ve developed my own technique that seems to work for me. I go back to the same buffet line, wait until there are only two baked potatoes left and then quickly grab both of them, leaving the guy behind me angry and potato-less. In other words, my way of reducing stress is to pass it on to someone else.