Stress is a part of life. None of us can avoid it. We know it. Most of the time, we manage it well. Once in a long while, a serious stress or a bunch of lesser ones suppressed or combined make our blood boil.
Frustration is another terrible feeling to which I rarely surrender. Still once every couple of years or so, it befalls me, too.
Just the other day, a prospective customer wasted my whole day with irrelevant questions which lead to nowhere. We all have schedules and obligations and I cannot afford to waste an entire day entertaining someone’s curiosity.
Suffice to say, at the end of the many exchanges with a person who wasn’t, isn’t and will never become my customer, I was totally off balance.
Can you relate?
Frustration doesn’t dissipate just because the person who caused it is out of the picture. Stress doesn’t evaporate just because a stressful situation is behind us. The aggravation lingers. It can be difficult to shake off.
My Mom, knowing my temperament, taught me to never act spontaneously in upsetting situations, but to take 24 hours to cool off before reacting in a calmer manner. It was a sage advice and I followed it for most of my life. However regularly suppressing emotions caused me to develop health problems. That is until I found a compromise that accommodates both: my need to calm down and a faster, yet still measured response.
Here are a few tips on how to manage stress and frustration:
• An interaction with a pet or even just a video of puppies or kittens helps
• Really dumb jokes (laughter) seem to reverse the negative effects of stress and frustration
• The music you like can help restore inner harmony
• Finally and this is the ultimate tip: take a few steps (a minimum of 20) barefoot on the soil, sand or on grass. No, I’m not kidding.
Research shows that a direct physical contact between the natural surface of the Earth and the human body facilitates exchange of natural electric charge between the two. That’s what research shows. Personally, I experience a rapid discharge of stress and frustration. (In the interest of full disclosure, my circumstances don’t afford me the opportunity of walking barefoot on the ground. Instead, I just stand on the grass and count to 30. Works just as well.) There is even a term for this, it’s called “earthing”.
By the way, the regulation of stress levels is only one of many health benefits of “earthing”. Funny thing isn’t it? We are so proud of having achieved disassociation from Nature, many of you might find the “earthing” suggestion laughable. It isn’t.
We are a part of the eco-system but estranged from it. Our lives became too sterile. Anti-bacterial soaps don’t protect us from disease; they make us more susceptible to it. Indoor climate control provides comfort but also contributes to allergies. We need nutritional supplements to compensate for the lack of nutrients in today’s food. Many other modern conveniences from microwave ovens to the blue screens we’re all addicted to don’t enhance our well-being, either.
Our marvelous progress not only alienated us from natural environment but progressively destroys it. Somewhere along the way we lost our connection to Nature and for a long time, we were actually proud of it. But we are not synthetic and we don’t thrive in a man-made world.
The man-made world deprived us of the benefits of community, took us away from Nature and gave us neuroses; made us lonely, angry and sick.
We are no longer capable of surviving in a “wilderness” so the much idealized “return to Nature” is no longer an option. We are used to — and spoiled by — modern conveniences. With that said, resilience, good physical and mental health can only by achieved by restoring a balance between the natural and the synthetic.
Technology makes our lives more convenient, but there is a reason that Nature is called Mother Nature. While technology makes our lives more convenient it is Nature that’s life-sustaining.
Direct contact with the soil, direct contact with animals and direct contact with people make us feel alive and give us a sense of inner harmony. They feed multiple senses simultaneously, technology doesn’t provide an equally multi-sensory substitute for a direct contact with another… life.
So, don’t be squeamish: go barefoot! Can’t go barefoot? No problem! Here is the second best tip: sprinkle some finely-ground pink Himalayan salt in your shoes or slippers. You’ll experience a similar (perhaps not quite as dramatic as “earthing”) sense of “grounding”. It is a good feeling, an experience of relief and restored ability to see things in a healthy perspective. (It’s strange really that salt in footwear lowers stress; especially, since salt supposedly increases anxiety!)
Everyday stress and frustration — in a larger scheme of things — are just annoyances, not life-changing events.
Frustrating people and stressful situations happen. Don’t let them knock you off your game. Try the steps I mentioned, feel better and move on.
Looking for more meaning, success and happiness? I’m a life coach: reach out!
Originally published at medium.com