How Do You Deal With Stress?

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Soul Monster
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How Do You Deal With Stress?

Post by Soul Monster »

I haven't found a thread that talks about this, and I think it would be interesting to hear how some of you deal with stress.

These days especially, we all need some way to take our minds off the horrors going on the world, so what do you guys do to keep from losing your minds?
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Nospike
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Re: How Do You Deal With Stress?

Post by Nospike »

Music is my top cope. I love listening, singing, playing guitar (amateurishly). I play games sometimes, since I now have a computer capable of running the new stuff that I haven't seen/played yet. Hanging out with my family or friend also works great. I'm always on the lookout for more interesting things to do to take the edge off, though.
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proYorp
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Re: How Do You Deal With Stress?

Post by proYorp »

For real though, playing Keen has for the past several years been a favorite of mine for burning off stress. Especially the really challenging mods because those hold a lot of focus. It's a good distraction. To be fair, other video games can be helpful too as long as it's intense enough to be engaging and simple enough to not break focus.


/ / /


Something else that's helped me a lot with certain types of stress has been taking magnesium regularly. This almost seems a little strange, but I have to share this because it was surprisingly really helpful for me. If I understand this correctly, magnesium is one of several minerals that humans require in their diet for healthy function, and it helps the body by absorbing stress. Specifically, the format of it that has really helped me has been a magnesium citrate drink mix that I take before bed (I don't suppose the brand matters much since it's literally just an atomic element, but the one I use is called Natural Vitality Calm).

To properly give an explanation about what exactly this helps me with, in case anyone else has had anything similar, I think I'll have to give some backstory. A few years ago I had a pretty bad run-in with depression, and while I'm sure there's a lot I could say about how painful it was, specifically I will be talking about this weird hollow ache that came with that.

It was not like "pain" in how you might typically think of it or experience it, but that's really the only word I can use to describe the overwhelming feeling. It's unlike anything else I've experienced. It is very difficult to explain in words... I've thought of it as feeling like I have a "vortex" or "black hole" in my stomach (and I've even seen other people describe that, so we'll go with that). It would only happen at night for some reason, but it was every night and it was intense. Even a few years later when I had pretty much recovered from the depression (at least, I thought I had), that feeling still hung around sometimes (though it wasn't quite as overpowering) and some nights it still made it really hard to go to bed.

One day I was staying overnight at my grandma's house and she offered me this drink mix that's supposed to help with falling asleep. (It's a measure of mineral powder that you dissolve into a bit of hot water and then dilute with cold water. Has a sour taste to it. If you've ever had Emergen-C, it's sort of like that.) I was like "sure why not, it couldn't hurt" though I probably wasn't expecting much since I haven't had much success with sleeping aids or whatever in the past.

What I was definitely not expecting was the fact that during that night, I didn't have that "black hole" feeling at all. It didn't happen. Either that, or it went away pretty quick. (This was a year or two ago so I don't remember which it was, but the result is usually one of those two.) I was completely blown away. It's pretty rare in my experience for something to have such an immediate and noticeable effect. I guess magnesium is something I've been pretty deficient in.

Since then I've been taking the stuff every night. It has helped me a lot with being calm enough to actually try to lay down, though as for the actual "falling asleep" part it hasn't really helped me much that I've noticed. However, quite recently I skipped taking it for a few nights (I guess I've actually improved to the point where I've stopped having those weird pains) and I also had noticeably worse insomnia, so maybe it was helping on some level.

So yeah. Eat your veggies, I guess. :dopekeen I suppose magnesium is known for helping to relieve stress, as seen in other forms such as epsom salts for bathing, or lotion to help with muscle aches.

The one caution for using the magnesium drink mix is to start with a small amount (less than the recommended serving) to test what works for you, because taking too much at once can cause diarrhea. Similarly using too much of the lotion stuff can cause skin irritation where used. I guess there's something about adapting to a larger amount slowly over time as your body gets used to it.

Anyway... this got really long, sorry. I just had to share this in case anyone else has experienced this, because holy cows, that feeling was awful and no one else should have to go through that. I actually have no idea if this works on anyone besides me, so... if anyone tries this, please let me know how it goes, if you can. I'd like to know if I can realistically recommend this.


/ / /


Other than that, I have learned some tricks that are helpful for dealing with anxiety, but I don't have the energy to elaborate on that at the moment. This post has been difficult enough to write as it is and I should stop spending time on it now. I will say that fresh air can be helpful sometimes if there's not too many allergens (apparently allergens can make anxiety worse while they're around).



And finally, yes, music can be helpful, though for me it has to be a very specific kind to be calming. Soft enough to be relaxing and upbeat enough to not also be depressing. I'll share a couple songs that work for me almost every time, which is saying something:

White Valley by DJ Helium [ YouTube ]
Sunshine of the Morning Sun by Dan Nyman AKA Area 51 [ Mod Archive / YouTube ] (I should note that this one has a voice clip at the end, which can be startling if you're not expecting it.)
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Re: How Do You Deal With Stress?

Post by Benvolio »

Stress comes from many sources. Stress can come from within - proYorp has given some vivid detail om this. Some of us are lucky to suffer less stress from within than others. However, regardless, the stress that comes from the life one is leading can be huge. It is multilayered, with the immediate expectations you and others have of you at its core. Surrounding this is all the badness in the world. Where fear of the badness reaching you ends, guilt at others having to suffer the badness begins.

Against this backdrop we need to have our defences. People tend to classify themselves into "extrovert" and "introvert" or some spectrum with these as its poles. One of the key implications of ones place on this scale is how one deals with stress. The "extrovert" will go clubbing 4 times a week and the "introvert" will hide in a dark corner listening to Radiohead. Except of course that most of us need a bit of every part of the spectrum.

For instance in my own case I have always been comfortable with solitude - music, games, TV, films and walking in an urban or rural environment. All of these things relieve stress for me, especially when all of them are available in good measure. The one thing from that mix that I miss out on nowadays is the rural environment. I've been living in Inner London for three years but the truth is it's been half my life since I've had a life rooted in a countryside environment. That isn't necessarily a bad thing - I have had experiences of some of the negatives of a rural life. But that environment is capable of soothing the stress of modern life. Particularly if one can find a rural place where one feels a sense of belonging and a sense of having the place to yourself. This awakens a primordial instinct of belonging to the land which is absent in the built up environment.

The social element of life is the other essential ingredient. We all know about the pandemic and how it's messed around with this aspect of our routines. But things have somewhat improved. A low key visit to the pub for a chat is nice and larger gatherings also reinforce one's sense of wellbeing. Meeting groups of relatives is a hugely rewarding experience and one that has been lacking in my life for years for various reasons or another.

Eating well, and looking after ones self is essential. Eating vegetable matter is not something I'm diligent at. Work canteens serve fare of poor quality and at home in the kitchen, though cooking is fun, I cook too few vegetables really. Stir fry is a good vehicle to make a large helping of veg gratifying with minimal effort. It allows a small amount of meat to go further e.g. one steak cut up and shared between two.

From the above, I conclude that life's stress is alleviated by... living life. Not in any sort of exaggerated way but just making sure all the basic components are present.

A final thought... a little silly thing I like to do is, when walking around a city, to wait at lights when everyone else is crossing when it's red (jaywalking). This is sort of proving to myself that I'm not in a hurry and that I'm free of whatever is driving these people to rush around. Of course, this doesn't apply when I actually am rushing...
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Re: How Do You Deal With Stress?

Post by proYorp »

An excellent analysis, Benvolio. Living truly is the solution to dealing with life... there is a big difference between living and merely surviving.
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Re: How Do You Deal With Stress?

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Just gonna leave this here... it's a breathing exercise thing with a calming voice and soft music. I've only seen a few of these but this one is pretty effective I think. Very immersive.

https://youtu.be/watch?v=inpok4MKVLM
Alt link: https://inv.riverside.rocks/watch?v=inpok4MKVLM
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