Once upon a time, as I was going into the roots of stress, the biochemical details and the effects, I also delved into some of the solutions. I maintain that the single most effective stress buster there is, is hard exercise. You literally burn the stress away (seriously, during exercise you metabolize the excess stress hormone, cortisol, from your body).
There are other ways (including but not limited to):
- Connection (getting together with friends)
- Disconnection (getting away from the crush of humanity…like taking a walk in the woods)
One terrific way that I haven’t previously discussed is through music. I mean, sure I tossed off a little thing about music affecting (and effecting) your mood, but I never touched on the subject of music and stress. Let’s fix that.
Last night my lovely bride and I went to the symphony. Two hours of beautiful music, uninterrupted by any of the countless calls on our time.
Now, you know that I absolutely adore my little boys, but DAMN they are busy, and their demands on our time are relentless. Then there’s work, and cell phones, and email, and all the other ways that modern life uses to intrude upon our lives.
So what to do?
Disconnect? Sure. Get together with the spouse for some adults only time? Sure. Leave the yard apes with their beloved aunt so we know there will be no problem? Sure. But then let’s add in one more ingredient…music.
Now my musical tastes are eclectic. My iPod has everything from Gregorian Chant to Swedish Death Metal. The only major musical categories missing are Jazz (not a fan), Country (really not a fan) and Hip Hop (umm, yeah, not a fan). And depending on the activity, and my mood, any form of music can be used for stress relief.
But for me? There’s nothing that matches going to a classical music concert.
Sure, at work I can put on my headphones, call up any song I like, and whatever is bothering me fades into the background. This is a solution available to anyone with a phone and a headset, anywhere, any time. But.
But, for me, there is nothing like sitting in a purpose built concert hall, listening to a high quality orchestra performing one of the timeless classics.
Rock concerts? Too loud.
DJ/band at the bar? Also too loud.
But the symphony…ahh, sublime.
This is not to say that you, dear reader, shouldn’t go to the bar, or to a stadium concert, if that’s your thing. It’s simply not my thing. The key is, music is a balm for the soul, so apply it liberally and often.
Or, as I asked at the beginning. Do you want to get rid of your stress? Okay, just tune it out.