An Unselfish Act
Last week I wrote about the stress relief effects of selfishness, and selflessness. Short version, a selfish act such as taking a bit of time to yourself is actually an unselfish act, because it allows you to relieve your stress, which reduces the ripple out effect of your stress on those you love.
Conversely, a truly unselfish act, an act done for someone else, with no thought or expectation of personal gain, is a powerful way to reduce your stress.
Depression and Stress
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve recently been through the depths of a nasty bout of depression. For those of you who don’t suffer depression, bless you. For those who do, you know how hard it can be. The depression robs you of your:
- Focus, and more.
How much more? Well, that depends on the individual, but I weighed myself last weekend, and I doubted the reading on the scale. Yes, I’ve weighed 184 lbs for long enough that, when the scale read 176 I (Andrew the engineer) doubted my tool, rather than accept the reading. I seriously thought the scale had to be off, because I couldn’t have lost 8 lbs in three weeks.
But I did.
Anyway, when you have the responsibilities common to middle aged fathers you have little people depending on you, for everything. The depression threatens to rob you of everything you’ve worked for, and the fear of losing all that creates terrible stress.
The problem here is that the stress then feeds the depression. Depression->Stress->Depression->Stress, ad infinitum.
Laugh in the Face of Stress
I have also made no secret of the fact that I have been blessed; a wonderful wife and three amazing little boys. All my boys are great, and each makes me happy in his own unique way. Germaine to this topic is my third. He’s six years old and there has been hardly a single day in those six years that he hasn’t made me laugh.
Now, I don’t mean a smile, a chuckle, a chortle, a snicker, I mean a deep, loud belly laugh. The kid is just funny. It’s hard to stay down when you’re laughing, and those three weeks were tough, but having my little goofball maniac to cheer me up helped me tremendously to get through it.
If you’re in a bad patch, if you’re having a tough go, if your stressed and down, find something to laugh at. Remember your sense of humour and cater to it.
I love dry British humour. Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, The Blackadder, Johnny English) is my cup of tea. I simply adore Jeeves and Wooster (the series with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry is side splitting). I love the understated humour of Rumpole of the Bailey.
You may never have heard of these. You may simply not like them. You might actually find the “comedy” of Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller to be funny. I don’t know, nor do I care; your terrible taste in comedy isn’t important.
What is important is to remember, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Maybe not for a broken leg or concussion, but it certainly is good for your stress.
So laugh. Laugh often, laugh hard and laugh in the face of stress.