Everyone needs to relax, right? We’re all going to die of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, polio, yellow fever, a city bus…you name it, and stress will cause it. (A few others I thought of are arthritis, depression, constipation, pernicious anemia, and black death.) There are a lot of methods out there to help you relax. But here are the problems you can possibly expect if you try them.
Problems: Sometimes when we close our eyes, all we see is scary stuff like famine, shoeless street children, and locked public restrooms. Be sure you have decent control over your mind before you try to close your eyes and take a nice imaginary walk in the woods. If a bear eats your torso on that hike, it’s likely to cause you more stress when you open your eyes. “Imagine a flowing river” doesn’t mean that river can’t be made of blood and contain floating skulls with swirly-eyed robots wielding rusty kitchen knives.
Problems: Increased body odor, changes in personality, loss of friends, wrist soreness, insatiable desires to talk about yoga, sudden increases in wearing “breezy pants”, stretching in public. Basically it comes down to this: Would you like to be tense and cool, or relaxed and annoying? No judgment here, just information.
Method: Deep Breathing
Problems: Hyperventilation, light headedness, hypotension, collapsed lung, halitosis. Also, you look like a FREAK when you do it. Everyone around you will think you’re staving off a homicidal rage. It might relax you, but it makes anyone near you tense as hell.
Problems: I don’t know about you guys, but meditation can be lonely! I do NOT always enjoy being alone with my thoughts. Every time I close my eyes, I see myself at 14 in the back of a cop car after shoplifting…kinda kidding. The more time I spend sitting cross-legged thinking about that, the less relaxed I am. That’s for sure. When meditating, you’re supposed to let errant thoughts flow through you without judging them. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, PEOPLE! It’s hard to focus on the positive stuff when the negative stuff is constantly giving you ice cream, lottery tickets, pain meds, and other cool things to make sure you continue to take their calls while you meditate.
Problems: Injuries, fatigue, other exercisers, blisters. I could go on about the perils of exercise. It’s the only relaxation technique that can kill you. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Like, “Well, I was jogging to relieve stress, and I had a heart attack.” WHAT? It’s really hard to get over the idea that something that makes you feel so terrible while you’re doing it can make you feel decent afterwards. I always wonder if maybe I feel better after I exercise because it’s such a sudden change from the awful sensations I have while doing it. Let’s say, for example, that you hit your knee really hard with a drywall hammer. You feel relieved after the pain goes away. What if you just don’t hit your knee with that drywall hammer? I think you’d probably feel consistently decent. If you want to be on that roller coaster, be my guest.
Method: Pills and Booze
Problems: None, really. This works pretty well, except that you’ll be abandoned by everyone who loves you and die at 58.
Good luck out there to all my relaxers our there!
(In all seriousness, I am on a quest to find things to relax me. One that I already am aware of is motorcycle rides! Max and I are heading to Oregon this morning for a new adventure! Ahhh…there’s nothing like cruising down an open road… with dozens of bugs flying into your teeth…)