Trying to relieve stress with logic is like trying to put out a fire by explaining water to it. Yet here I am, thinking my way into happiness. When my siblings and I were teenagers my dad banned the word “stress” in the house insisting that there was no such thing. Especially if you’re a teenager. Now, as an adult, whenever I feel that certain pressure in the brain that we call stress I immediately feel embarrassed and stop it at once. He’s right though, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I spend a lot of time thinking about a lot of things. What I want to do is come up with a Unified Field Theory of Pointless Moodiness. In a similar way Einstein tried to bring Physics and Quantum Mechanics together in his Unified Field Theory. And, like him, I suspect I will ultimately fail.
The problem is my thoughts on the subject are a series of valid points that openly contradict each other (I won’t go into them all here, it will only become tedious.) My other problem is I’m not a particularly emotional person. Also, my inability to worry has led to a certain amount of hinderous (that’s a new word I just invented. Write it down and phone the OED for me) complacency. For many people when an overdue bill arrives in the post it is the worry of the consequences of not paying it that sets forth a plan of action. It sits in the mind and niggles at you and you won’t be able to relax until you have the burden of debt removed from your shoulders. I can’t remember the last time I worried about such things. If I have money I pay the bills. If I don’t have money I don’t pay the bills. The solution to a bill is to pay it, if the solution has to wait until payday then so be it. When payday comes around I will have almost certainly forgotten about the bill entirely and will go and spend the money in the pub instead. Where I have a thoroughly good time. You see, I have avoided worrying and also enjoyed a pint. When I remember about the bill again I make the same plan. It’s a marvellous thing.
UFTPM (Unified Field Theory of Pointless Moodiness)
Statement 1 –
Stress is the result of an unresolved problem.
Statement 2 –
A problem is only a problem if it can be solved.
Statement 3 –
If there is not a solution then what you are dealing with is not in-fact a problem (and therefore not stress – see statement 1.)
(It is either outside of your control, and therefor can’t be fixed with worry – not that anything can -, or the thing that is causing you stress cannot be fixed because it is a hardship or a tragedy. In that case you are only feeling stressed by accident and need to reassign a different emotion. I would recommend sadness.)
Statement 4 –
Nobody else cares. You should join them.
Statement 5 –
I fancy a pint. (And here my theory falls apart. Alas, Einstein, you and I are cursed by the same troubles.)
Time will pass, you are infinitely small and unimportant. Think of an elderly person. Can you see him? Walking down the road, or sitting in front of the telly. Do you think he remembers that Tuesday afternoon 40 years ago when he had a backlog of paperwork. Or that time he was on hold for like an hour and then the person who answered the phone had to re-divert him and then the line went dead and he had to call again when all he wanted to do is get his goddamn internet reconnected! No. Don’t be silly. He didn’t have the internet. Actually, if I’m honest I don’t know him very well, this imaginary old man of ours. Of course he doesn’t remember. Many years from now you too will be old and you will not remember the insignificant thing that is worrying you right now. Especially if it is work related.
Why am I banging on about stress? For the past week I was convinced that I was stressed. I was having a tough week at work (there has been a hostile takeover and everything has turned to shit) and I forgot how fleeting this moment is. I forgot that time would pass. Stress is an indulgent emotion. If it were a worthwhile feeling then it wouldn’t disappear so fast. As soon as you blurt out the thing that is annoying you to a friend, or an imaginary friend (even lunatics need to vent), all the stress falls away and you feel silly. Do you know why? Because there is no such thing. There is only the moment between the problem and the solution. Once you realise that, you will see, it is pointless getting down about it. It isn’t stress you’re feeling anyway. You probably just have a headache because you’ve had too much coffee.
If you are now feeling stressed, having just read about it (These things happen. Subliminal suggestion and all that. You’re probably thinking about that unpaid bill right now aren’t you? Or that parking fine maybe? Sorry about that.) I’ll tell you a joke to make you feel better.
Why did the baker have brown hands?
Because he kneaded a poo.
Wait, I’m not done yet. I have another joke for you.
What is the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
You can roast beef but you can’t pea soup.
Alright, last one now.
What do you call a fish with no eyes?
Ok, one more.
A horse walks into a bar. The barman says, “Why the long face?”
And the horse says, “My mum just died.”
Ok, that one might have got you down again. Here, this one will cheer you back up, and then I promise I’m done.
“Your local MP.”
“Are you there? I said it’s your local MP. I’m out meeting my constabulary.”
“I’m not answering the door!”
Ok, I made the last two up. What was this post about? I’ve forgotten. Oh yes, Stress. Or something. Hold on. I’m trying to think of another joke. Ok, here we go.
“Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains.”
“I’m not a doctor. The real doctor is dead. Now take off your trousers.”
Ha! That’s ridiculous. Ok, I’m going now.