Assignment #22: Writing to Relieve Stress

Writing to relieve stress is a method that I rarely use ( I know it is lame) but regardless, is still a effective way to help cope with stress. I have only wrote a few times when stressed, but it definately helps me clear my thoughts and get them down on paper. This works almost as if my thoughts are being plucked from my brain and discarded on a white canvas that I can later revisit. Back in the fall is the last time I became so overwhelmed with stress that I wrote out my feelings. My stress began to overtake me during exam week before winter break back in December, and I could not sit and focus on my work without my mind racing at a hundred miles per hour, focusing on what I had found out a few days before. My mom had dropped the news to me the friday before finals week that she was diagnosed with cancer and they did not know how bad it was.

 The news did not sit well with me at all; I just remember breaking down outside of a party, being taken back to my room, and lashing out at a few friends around me. I eventually talked to a few close friends, who gave me some encouraging words and reassured me that everything would be alright, but I still couldn’t shake it. I kept thinking, “What if it is worse than they think it is, or what if they caught it too late? What am I going to do if my Mom gets really sick and eventually passes away?” I eventually called up my football coach and asked to meet with him, knowing I could talk to him about anything, and maybe he would be able to help me overcome this.  The talk with him helped, but it still was not enough; I was still scared of what could happen. I don’t remember exactly when, but I think it was the sunday before exams, I just opened up Microsoft Word and started typing. I still have what I wrote saved on my desktop. I have found out over the past few years, that the less people know about what is going on in your life, the better but I don’t mind sharing what I wrote because everyhitng has worked itself out.

My mom was diagnosed with Melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer, but treatable and rarely results in death. She has undergone 4 surgeries and has started chemo injections that should kill the cancer; she is doing much better now. I hope that she continues to recover and eventually all of the cancer is gone. What I wrote expresses whow I was feeling, I tended to outlash at people because I was supressing my feelings, I was beginning to take my anger out on others and during weightlifting. When I look back on what I wrote, I laugh a little at what I had written that day because it is a kinda deep. This is what I wrote:

“Is it wrong to channel pain into anger, lashing out at those around me, or should I consider the opposite; allow pain to overcome me, force me to my knees and allow it to render me helpless? Maybe I should put up a false bravado, while I repress the anger until it boils into inner rage and torment, or maybe I should ignore the pain until it slips into sadness. What if I take this point in time and use it to my advantage. I can use the pain and anger to fuel my mind and body to accomplish my goals, use this as an inner drive. I can get up and stop feeling sorry for myself and the situation that has been placed in front of me. I will make the best of my time; finally accomplish what I set out to do two years ago, but not for myself anymore. I will do this for my family, for her. But what is fueling these feelings, holding me back, and destroying my mind as you read this? Is it Fear? Maybe it is the fear of the unknown? Can I move forward after I come to terms with this demon that is staring me in the face?

The feeling that hits you like a train steaming full speed through a cardboard box, and you are the box. It is the pit in your stomach that cripples you, making it impossible to do what you set out to. You feel the pressure crush your lungs, as you gasp for air. The feeling is Fear. Adrenalin and cortisol is released into the blood stream, resulting in: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, tightening of muscles, sharpened senses, dilatation of pupils, and increased sweating. Fear is necessary for survival, but too much fear in the wrong situation can be detrimental, it can cripple you, and be the source of your downfall. Or you can use Fear as a way to push yourself. I may Fear the unknown and what may happen in the future, but I fear failing and letting those around me down more, so I will use this as motivation, as inspiration to push myself, to turn this situation into a positive. I won’t let this slow my momentum, but rather fuel it.”

I am doing  a lotbetter today than the past me that wrote what you read above, and all the built up anger actually did fuel me over the past few months to do a lot of good things: I had the best grades in the fall that I have ever had in school and I got significantly stronger in the weightroom. I had a lot help and support from my friends and coach, which helped significantly. There is a cool video about Fear that I want to share, it is different than what I was talking about, but it can easily be related. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVZ9zSRf39U

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Don’t worry Wilson, I’ll do all the paddling. You just hang on.

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Ever been stuck on a desert island, by yourself, after your plane fell out of the sky? No? Well, It sucks. Sitting on the beach under the sun is supposed to be relaxing, not when there are chunks of airplane around you! Also, you are all wet because you just landed in the ocean, and now you have no towel. A package washes up on shore a few days after your plane crash, it is a volleyball. Really? A volleyball…out of everything that could have washed up from the wreckage, you get a volleyball, that is exactly what you need to save your life. Well, if you are resourceful, and happen to cut your hand trying to start a fire, super high-five the volleyball with your bloody hand, carefully carve a face into the ball and then come up with a clever name for him. “Wilson!” you jump up and shout. Well guess what, Wilson just became the source of managing your stress and just increased your chances of getting of that island alive. By creating a friend, you have also just created a way to combat stress. You just created a Social Support Network.
Social Support gives you a sense of belonging. Spending time with people helps ward off loneliness. Whether it’s other new moms, dog lovers, fishing buddies or siblings, just knowing you’re not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress. Social Support gives you a increased sense of self-worth; having people who call you a friend reinforces the idea that you’re a good person to be around. Social Support also gives you a feeling of security; your social network gives you access to information, advice, guidance and other types of assistance should you need them. It’s comforting to know that you have people you can turn to in time of need.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/social-support/SR00033

Nightmares

 

You ever have a nightmare and decide to tell someone about it and about half waythrough realize that you are dumb…Is there any way to describe a nightmare to be scary?

“I had a scary dream last night!”

“Ok, tell me about it.”

“So I was running through this pool of marshmellows in my flipflops right, then the manager comes out of nowhere and he starts yelling ‘mrrhhhmhmmmm!!! Mrrrhhhmhmmmmm!!! Mrhrmmm,’ there are only 18 seconds to eject before the bowling alley closes, and…Tom you were there, but you didn’t look like Tom and that was freaking me out!!!”

Alright…so, that joke was taken from Daniel Tosh’s stand up “True Stories I Made Up” but I felt that it conveys what I was trying to express; the feeling you get when you try to make someone understand your dream. After talking to friends about nightmares, there is at least one common nightmare I have found that everyone tends to have, it is the Falling Dream”, where you are falling and then you wake up in a jolt. We were all sitting around telling a few nightmares we had recently had, none of them were scary, most of them are fairly comical, but still stressful to have!

The Stress of Losing (to Your Friends)

nullEver play a board game or videogame with a friend who if you lose to, they go out of their way to make it know that you lost and they won? This is a story about a game that happens to be both a board game and a videogame in one, yeah, Im talking about Mario Party for the N64. Three buddies and I had some free time to kill on Tuesday, and we had been talking about playing a game of Mario Party for the past few weeks. We were about to embark a journey that would ultimately result in one of us gloating until our next match. 

A quick background on the game rules: Each player rolls a dice, moves the appropriate spaces, and the after all 4 players have rolled, we play a Mini-game, which is usually a 4 player free-for-all game. There are other variations of mini games such as 2 vs 2, or 3 vs 1,  or 1 player games, all depending if players had landed on the red, green or Bowser spaces on the board during their turn. Depending on how one does in the mini game, they are rewarded coins, which can be used to purchase Stars. The player with the most stars and coins, in that order, is crowned the winner at the end. Example video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZpaly9wPOo

When we got halfway through the game, 10/20 turns, an updated leaderboard was announced. I was winning with 3 stars and a fair amount of coins, Andrew was in second with 2 stars and a heafty amount of coins, Blake was in third with 1 star, and good ole’ Joeseph Haddon III, otherwise known as Trey, was in dead last with more coins than he knew what do do with but no stars. The game made a prediction that Trey would be the winner, and of course we all brushed this off. There was no chance that this kid was going to come back and beat us. Everything that could have gone wrong for Trey did in the first half of the game.null

However Trey, with his new-found inspiration decided that maybe it was time to start playing. Things slowly started looking up for Trey as he stole his first Star from me, then a few turn later purchased one of his own, putting him in second place with 2 stars. This is where his momentum starts to build, like a pheonix bursting from the ashes, Trey took over. He started winning almost every mini-game, collecting enough coins to steal another star. As the Final turn was approaching, both Trey (2 stars and 53 coins) and Andrew (3 Stars and 28 coins) were in position to get the final star and be claimed the winner. Well, of course with Trey’s new found luck, Andrew gets about all of his coins stolen, meaning that he cannot buy another star and put the game away. Trey needed a 4 to move forward enough spaces to buy a star and beat andrew, he rolls an 8. Trey pulls out a come behind victory which seemed impossible half way through the game. I finished in last by the way. Thank you Trey for stealing all my stuff.

Now, you are probably wondering what this stupid game (sorry, i’m bitter that I lost to him) has to do with stress. Well, I have came to the conclusion because Trey got on his hot streak, it put the pressure (stress) on me to keep the lead. He had nothing to lose, was playing lights out Mario Party. I felt the stress of having the game slip through my hands without being able to do anything about it, and then of course sitting in last place knowing there was no chance of coming back. We, and by we I mean myself, did not want to lose to Trey because we all know what type of a winner he is… he Slams the controller down and starts dancing in our faces, screaming in our faces that we suck and he is awesome as he throws his hands in the air and walks around the room in his funny bouce walk that he does.  Remember earlier when I was talking about that friend who will go out of his way to make sure you know you lost to him, that ladies and gentlemen is Trey Haddon when it comes to videogames. The text Trey sent me when I told him that I was writing about our Mario party game says, “make sure you include the stress you felt when you were in last place, the stress you felt having the game slip through your hands, the stress you felt as I made my final push for Victory!”

Repeated Stress causing Injury

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Whether we play sports or sit at a computer all day typing, stress puts us at risk of injury. One type of injury, known as a Repetative Stress Injury or RSI, is actually a result of the stress that we put on our bodies. Athletes who run track and people who work in a office can both get these injuries, eventhough the daily activities that they participate in are completely different. Repetitive stress injuries are injuries that occur when too much stress is placed on a particular part of the body, which results in pain and swelling, muscle strain, or tissue damage. This stress generally occurs from repeating the same movements over and over again, such as spending a lot of time using a keyboard, playing instruments, or repetative motions (Tennis swings or running with shoes that have bad support). Shin splints, stress fractures, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome are prime examples of RSI’s. There are many simple ways to avoid these injuries. I have posted a link that has more information about RSI’s if you are interested.

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/sports/rsi.html#

Weightlifting: More than building muscle.

 Everyone deals with stress from a day to day basis, driving us to the edge sometimes. We are constantly searching for a way to put our stressors behind us, to be set free from what feels like chains holding us down. Many people use working out for more than a method to just get in shape, they use it as a stress reliever. Experts have agreed that one of the best ways to reduce stress is by raising endorphin levels in the brain, stimulating the pleasure centers through “rigorous exercise.” The way your mind and muscles feel after you an intense workout creates a “natural high.” Weightlifting also allows you to blow off steam and relieve tension that you have built up, while improving your self-image; which can help your fight mental and physical stress. These benefits from weightlifting can go a long way for improving one’s overall health and well-being. Weightlifting also releases two chemicals in the brain (dopamine and serotonin) which are neurotransmitters that are mainly related to depression, and act as anti-depressants. So if you are searching for a new method to try that can relieve stress, give weightlifting a try. The feeling you get after a great workout may be enough to hook you and slingshot you into a healthier lifestyle. I can personally say that weightlifting is a great stress reliever, and I would recommend working out at least 3-5 times a week, allowing a full days rest for muscle groups to recover between workouts. This means alternating leg, arm, and full body workouts to prevent  a muscle injury and the overtraining of one specific group of muscles. For example, my workout schedule is:  Full body on Monday. Tuesday Running. Arms on Wednesday. Thursday Running. Legs on Friday, allowing them to recover over the weekend.


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