Stress Busters

Life's a beach and then you fry.

Ever have one of those days? Of course you have.

Ever had one of those nights? You know, the night when you can't get to sleep because your mind is spinning in tight circles. Maybe it's the bills that you have to juggle or the deadline you have to make. Maybe you just had a fight with a friend, family member, or the guy next door that pushes all your buttons.

So, what do you do to unravel the mental knots and get a much needed good night's sleep? There isn't any point in worrying. Five will get you ten, you can't solve your problems in the middle of the night unless it involves a significant other who's in bed with you. What do you do when you really can't do anything?

My kids help. Even if they are tucked up and asleep, I know they love me. If it isn't the middle of the night, and I'm on the edge of the precipice of despair or exhaustion earlier in the evening, they give me hugs and fetch me tea. Sometimes they're the cause of the stress, yet they can still be the cure.

Chocolate helps.

Chocolate boosts our endorphin levels. Chocolate is happy food. I always try to keep a stash for emergencies.

Pets are wonderful. Dogs especially are great sources of unconditional love and acceptance. Cats are so cool under pressure they can't help be a good example. Companion animals are taken into hospitals and nursing homes because of their therapeutic effect. It's been proven that petting a dog or cat can reduce your blood pressure.

Unfortunately, I'm allergic to cats and dogs. I can't have my own faithful four-legged friend so I have to visit my friends' pets.

Pictured on the right is Finnigan, my cousin's dog. How could you be miserable looking at that happy face? He's dripping with joi de vive laced with dog slobber.

Bodies of water have a calming effect on me. So when life's a "beach", I go to one.  If I was into meditation, I would probably visualize a tropical beach with curling waves gently drumming the shore while ohm-med my way to inner peace. Instead, I picture a tropical beach with a cute cabana boy bringing me drinks bought by a tall, dark and rich stranger who wants to get to know me better.

Distraction is good, but if all else fails (and getting back to the beach theme), there is one more thing. Philosophy.

Most of our troubles are like sandcastles. We can build them up or knock them down, but ultimately, they will disappear with the next incoming tide.