Coping with stress should not be the equivalent of taking coffee five times a day to keep you hinged and alert, or popping painkillers, multivitamins and whatever stress-killing recipe you’ve got ever so often. Coping with stress requires you finding a balance, and i’ve written a few tips to guide you.
When you’re under a lot of stress, be it work, finances, school, bills, kids, family or good old fashioned terrible lagos traffic, you tend to focus on the source of your stress, it stays forefront in your mind, unresolved, pending and increasing your stress levels. The classic advice is to ‘avoid all sources of stress’ but we all know that is often impossible, so the next feasible option is Plan B: Coping, inspite of stress
How to cope:
When under stress, have you noticed you tell yourself you don’t have time for un-seriousness? well dears, news flash , ‘find time’. Read a joke online, hear a ‘Gordons’ comedy audio, call that friend that always makes you laugh- (Ps. don’t call and begin to talk about your problems), keep the conversation light and away from your issues, call a radio station and tell them you don’t know what they’re discussing but you just wanted to hear the sound of your voice then hang up (hey it would crack me up if someone did that).
Take 5 minutes or more of intended laughter three times daily and it can change your whole day for the better.
2. Have a playlist, something perky and upbeat.
This is not the time to listen to a wailing song, or the song ‘sleeping with a broken heart’, or some other sad ‘deep’ song. Listen to something you can tap your feet to, nod your head to and roll your shoulders in a ‘hey look at me, I’m happy’ fashion. Obvious example is Pharrell’s happy song.
Another example of someone who knows this solution by heart (but I don’t subscribe to their taste in music) is the average Lagos bus driver. Quite a number of them take this advice to a tee, blasting ear splitting fuji music and punching the dashboard in sync. On your part, be a little more polished, use your earpiece or headphones and be your own 15 minute DJ.
3. Art and literature:
Write a short story, read a short story, draw (remember those spider-man cartoons you drew in primary school, well you’re older now but you get my point), paint (like a professional or use your blue, red and black Biro-lol), take a picture, look at pictures-10mins of facebook or instagram in the office restroom is proven art therapy. Someone, somewhere is going to post a funny picture that’ll turn your frown upside down.
4. Spoil yourself:
Even if money problems are your stress bunny, you can do something small.
Buy your favourite childhood sweet (eclairs-N10), dont be tush, eat Boli(roasted plantain) for lunch (N100), Boli and fish for a balanced diet (N200) go see a fun movie (N1500), go to your favorite local amala joint that you haven’t been to in a while (N500), eat cake (or biscuit) and ice-cream (fanyogo or coldstone-you decide).
Spoiling yourself with little things can also help you notice the little things that really matter in your life.
5. Compare yourself
I’m not talking about comparing yourself with bill gates or kim khardashian. No! Compare yourself with the blind, wounded or diseased guy begging down your street who has clearly not committed suicide, when by your standards, his situation seems to warrant such, or with the cripple across your office who hobbles on the sand, cannot wear gucci or skinny jeans and likely has no boyfriend/girlfriend, or with that street child that sells oranges or groundnut in traffic everyday and wonders why their genetic lottery got them parents who couldn’t provide their basic needs.
The reason for doing this comparison is not to mock those who are downtrodden or disadvantaged but to give yourself a mental slap on how much you’ve got going for you, so that for a while, you can shut up about everything that’s wrong with your life, count your blessings and find something incredible to be thankful and hopefully happy for.
So I know I didn’t talk medicines and diseases and health in this post, but any psychiatrist or psychologist worth their mettle knows that the mind can be the most diseased of all.
Thanks for reading good people. Don’t forget to share on facebook, google+, twitter and Godknowswhatelse social media out there.