Before I start, I’d like to acknowledge a few things.
- I realize that I’m incredibly lucky to live in a first-world nation with a developed economy (Canada).
- Yes, I’m considered middle-class. Which is actually pretty damn awesome…check out how 98% of my fellow humans live and try and say my situation doesn’t ROCK.
- I’m from an incredibly supportive family. Our problems are more Modern Family than Breaking Bad. I’ll never forget how fortunate I am for that.
- As it stands, I’m a young, healthy individual (knock on wood) with the possibility of a bright future ahead of me…like everyone else, I just have to remember to enjoy the ride.
- No, my problems can’t be considered real…especially compared to those faced by anyone living in the third-world AND a ton of people I call my neighbours.
With that out of the way, let’s get started.
The fact is: I stress more often than I’d like to.
A friend that recently overcame lung cancer told me that doctors prioritized de-stressing before and after she underwent treatment. They said that high stress levels directly contribute to poor health, and that every move should be taken to limit the amount of time you spend feeling too much mental pressure.
What scares me is this: my life is (probably) more carefree than most. I’m a financially-stable, well-raised, educated guy with a TON of family support. An added bonus: I’ve NEVER had to hunt down my own food or water.
Things are good.
Obviously, the grass is always greener and ambition can get the best of everyone. You constantly think: “I should be achieving more”, “I should be making more money,” and “I should dedicate MORE time to being the world’s top-ranked Call of Duty player.”
Humans have a tendency to compare themselves to others. Believe it or not, this is an adaptation. Comparing successes with others is arguably THE primary reason humans are earth’s apex predator. It’s why we run show and are on the brink of defeating our greatest nemesis yet: the environment.
Before we finally release enough greenhouse gases to rid ourselves of this awful “gift” we call “existence,” here’s 5 ways I’ve been known to combat stress:
- EXERCISE: Caps-lock intended. Personally, I can’t go a day without doing at least one athletic act. I’m not saying this to brag about how in-shape I am (like everyone else, mirrors aren’t my best friend), I actually have trouble sitting down for longer than one hour….so rainy days suck. From simple acts like going for a walk, running, or hiking to shooting around a basketball or throwing a football—moving around seriously improves your mood.
- Cut down on your screen time: But finish reading this first. I’ve found that too much “sit-down and stare” time can bum me out. Humans aren’t meant to consume such a steady amount of stationary time…and computers, TVs and cellphones encourage it.
- Nutrition: I’m no expert in this area, but I understand that so-called “edible” things like apples and bananas are better for you than frozen pizza. You are what you eat.
- Find a quiet, happy place: This isn’t easy. I live in Vancouver, Canada, so we have TONS of greenery to lose ourselves in. If you don’t read, start. Find a comfortable spot and unplug for a while.
- Weaponize your hobby: I swear this doesn’t involve anyone getting hurt. For me, I like video games. My favourite is the NHL series by EA Sports. I make sure to play no more than 45 minutes to an hour—to three hours—in one sitting. For me, hockey’s a sport that can simplify life. Try and find your equivalent.
The ongoing war against stress is never ending. Try and remember that everyone’s different—no matter how good it seems one person has it, remember that life is a subjective experience and everyone struggles with something.
For me, that’s quitting my job as a stay-at-home-son.
(Insert witty and equally thought provoking sign off here)