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Stress and anger are characterizing far too much of my 'cpu time' (read: mental energy, contemplation, private thoughts). I'm an angry machine. Yet when I look at my current circumstances, I realize I don't have as much to be angry about as I sometimes may feel.

I know that I've occasionally caused a person here or there in my life some stress and anger, and sometimes I get some right back. It happens to everyone, and we all have friction with each other, in one venue or other. It's something you come to expect in life.

However I find cause to gripe today: I find presently that I'm racking up too much mental heat, barely past my 36th birthday. When you get older, you're supposed to find some serenity, get wiser, more laid back. You're supposed to know how to deal with it all with grace, and minimum stress.

I suspect that as each generation passes, there are fewer people amongst each that know this secret: serenity and wisdom with age. We live longer and get older but we somehow are missing out on the opportunity to learn from all of our experiences, negative and positive.

I know that many people, including those who live and work in the privileged 'corporate world', feel that they're treading water; they feel devoid of personal or spiritual growth, and they're getting more frustrated or simply angrier with time. Popular culture reflects this: consider the dark music and culture of the '90's, which is all still with us. After the happy-go-lucky '80's it has been quite a contrast, speaking for those who lived through both.

What's making it harder for us to deal with 'everyday stress'? Is life really getting that much harder? Perhaps instead we should ask if we no longer have the tools, or enough of the tools that our predecessors had at hand to combat the stress they experienced in life.

If the latter is the case, it's not for lack of trying. Today we have professional stress management consultants who will go into your company and deliver the relevant seminars to the workers as well as provide very stress relief in the form of neck and back massages and even exposure to musical- and aromatherapy. Many bookstores and one of the newer retail industries, the New Age and occultic store provide these things in self-help form.

In fact, some people go to great lengths to avail themselves of these benefits, and some of those purveyors of these stress-relief 'systems' go to great lengths to provide it, as a matter of industry and income if nothing else. Take this example:

I once worked at a small company upstate that builds custom PC's and networks. With only a handful of people in the company, one would think that stress would be at a minimum. However, the folks in the company are all of the 'new age' mentality, the owner/operator especially. They are all great people, but on most weekends they all take off together to 'The Land', which is owned communally by them and where their 'leader' lives. She and her husband live there full-time, and they minister to the spiritual and health needs of no one but the people in this company and a few people who have passed through but are still associated.

My best friend tells me that this is something that often happens when a company brings in 'stress management professionals': people in this industry are looking for a way to collect their income from one place consistently, rather than shuffle around from contract to contract, massaging strangers' backs and giving them the New Age spiel, over and over again. They want to take it easy and put down roots - and get a regular income... and in a manner of speaking, a 'parsonage'. (I refer to the practice of a religious community providing free digs to its pastor.) That's what happened with my former employer: someone walked in, massaged a few backs, burned some incense, recited the right cosmic wisdom for that crowd and BAM! they were in like Flynn, for life.

It was an instant cult.

However, they seem like some of the least-stressed people I've ever encountered, and the boss was very tolerant and fair. Not only that, but he lent me his credit card to rent a truck to go see Sabbath in a serious pinch. Is that mellow or what?

I sometimes make the mistake of trying to handle stress with caffeine. Fortunately I've always made a policy of avoiding alchohol when dealing with depression or anger, but will certainly put on a buzz when I'm dealing with simple stress. It can definitely help (beer and wine only, for me), in moderation.

In my honest opinion, the love of a pet or another human being - that of living creatures - is the best possible relief for stress. Since being involved with someone after a long period of singleness, I must tell you that I now know for certain why married men live longer. A woman's touch goes a long way to relieving me of some serious negative energy, and my lady says likewise of my gentle ministrations to her.

It surely beats joining a cult!

The Alienist

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The following comments are for "We're All Going Stir Crazy: Life and Stress"
by The Alienist


Interesting piece here. I like it. Have to agree finding someone to connect with does help with stress (and certainly is much better then joining a cult). Anyways, was just leaving a comment to say - nice job.


( Posted by: Drastine [Member] On: October 21, 2002 )

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