When stress starts to build up, it’s hard not to be crushed by the wave and have it pull you out to sea. When I’m pushed past my stress point I feel like I’m flailing in a big ocean in my mind, the undertow always at my ankle. Luckily, having been diagnosed with mental illness since I was in GRADE SIX, I’ve picked up a few de-stressing tips. Some work, some make you look like you live on the street, and one in particular will cure all your problems.
A lot of de-stressing tactics are preventative, a preemptive strive, if you will. This means eating healthy and getting some exercise and knowing your emotions. You have to be able to know your own body signs so you can step back before your head blows up. This category also includes the “skill” Thought Stopping which is basically snapping yourself with an elastic band or shouting STOP in your head when you start on that disaster path thinking. Then the therapists teach you to quickly distract yourself with a stone in your pocket. “You just spend some time feeling its bumps and crevices.” They say pinecones work for this too, but after snapping myself with a rubber band and nearly fainting from screaming in my head, pinecones in my pockets are right out.
I meditate. It takes the same amount of patience as teaching a yappy Shih Tzu (or what my sweetie, Julia, calls “squiggle-shitters”) to say… well, anything. But, you’ll find your stress levels are always a few notches lower than they were. And no, you don’t have to chant or sit like a human pretzel.
BUT, sometimes none of this works. That’s life. If you believe in God, maybe you can relate when all I have to say to him isn’t “Why are we here?” but “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?”
For these flailing times, flying around your house knocking things over, sitting in front of the computer ready to Falcon Punch it through the roof, at work ready to pull a customer’s spine out through their neck, or in bed hiding from your To Do list and ready to burst – if not into tears then definitely into fire – I have the secret for you.
If you’re like Julia and I, swearing comes naturally at this point. If you don’t swear out loud, you’re thinking it. SO, we discovered that you can easily go from F U to LOL in a matter of seconds with a simple switcheroo. Here are the steps:
- Catch yourself stressing out.
- Zero in on a bad word you’re repeating (ex. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!)
- Simply switch that word with the miracle word: Phlegm.
- You should now be saying something like: PHLEGM! PHLEGM! PHLEGM!
- You will be laughing.
Phlegm is one of the best words of all time simply because it most resembles what it describes. The letters, the H, L and the E and G, M, all of it looks gloopy like phlegm itself. It’s also funny sounding. It takes me right back to being a kid on the school ground, laughing at a dirty word, like “poop,” so hard I lose consciousness and fall backwards off the slide. I want to personally thank the word wizards who came up with Phlegm because recently (through my cancer thing and Julia’s end-of-school-year pile up) it’s turned our moods around. It’s the ultimate Care Bear Stare.
So, just try it next time. You may feel crazy but laughter is guaranteed. And if you think I’m lying, well PHLEGM YOU.
LOL, works every time.