King's eye land: Heed copious stress-coping code

Recently, during an ill-advised moment of paying attention in class, I learned a few things about stress. I didn't mean to. It just happened.

Normally when I pay attention, I learn things that are not applicable to my life, so I spend most of the time thinking about food, beer and long words. This time was shockingly different.

I learned I would drop dead (or at least be grumpy) if I don't make some changes in how I deal with stress. Generally, I deal with stress by punching doors, throwing things and yelling a lot.

While these methods can be blissfully cathartic, they're also senseless. That is, unless you are a chimpanzee. Then it makes perfect sense. After all, other chimpanzees should know better than to sit on your rock.

If you're human - don't expect a joke, you are - there's no reason to punch a door (unless that door insulted you). There's no reason to throw anything (dwarf-tossing notwithstanding). There may be plenty of reasons to yell, but stress isn't the right prompt (family gatherings, bad drivers and poor umpiring are fine motivators instead).

Recognizing these are unhealthy methods of coping (and fresh out of inanimate objects to punch and throw), I decided to help others. Deep down, I am a nice, thoughtful, sweet and caring guy who just wants to help. I'm also very good looking.

So, I've bridged a personal gap by combining research and stuff I made up (don't get used to this) in an effort to improve how we all deal with stress.

Consider what stresses you. Are you doing things like procrastinating, putting too much pressure on yourself or spending too much time reading newspapers? Perhaps homework and/or your job stress you. Do you spend excessive time devoted to partisan bickering? Do you work in a food court? What's that smell?

Once you have admitted to yourself and others that stress is eating your soul, it's time to start planning your way out. First, get organized. Buy a day planner, put it down somewhere in your home and completely forget about it. Then buy $200 worth of office supplies you don't need, including a calendar, Quicken(tm), file folders and nice pens. Essentially, spend a day or two in an office supply store and blow a paycheck. You'll walk out feeling liberated.

Another helpful element is time management. I find that by setting all my clocks differently, I have gobs of free time. The only problem I have discovered is that I don't know when that free time is exactly. However, just knowing I have free time relaxes me and I take naps whenever I like.

To further combat stress, one must learn relaxation techniques. Among these are breathing, which I find particularly important. Without breathing, photosynthesis would cease and all plant life would die. This is not to mention the animal life that would die out shortly thereafter. So, breathe and help save both the plant and animal kingdoms today. I'm not joking. You see how stressed you get when there's no more oxygen.

One must also find social support. Make friends, you loser. Delegate, don't try to deal with your own problems. I would also recommend exercising, but that makes me tired. Instead, try sleeping. Also, improve your diet by not drinking beer from a can and working at least one vegetable into your weekly diet. Eat corn a lot.

Overcoming stress is a difficult process. For more information, visit your local library or counseling center when you have time, motivation and enough oxygen to do so.

Right now, I'm going to bed.

Write to John at


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