There is always a certain level of stress following you around as a post-collegiate pole vaulter, I would say as an athlete, but I’m not sure how it works in every discipline. Obviously you don’t have to be an athlete to have this same dark cloud following you around either. This stress usually spawns from financial problems, social pressures, and family needs. To get deeper into the details of each is not my goal right now, you can use your imagination to drum up plenty of scenarios to support all three. I am more interested in the discussion of dealing with the stress on hand and creating a healthier emotional atmosphere around ones self.
It comes to us all and it comes in many forms, how each of us deal with it and press on makes us unique and strong. For me that comment has a literal meaning lately. Everything I have been doing to block out the negative has been physical. So much to the point that I have had too mold my training around it this past week. When some people have a hard day, week, month etc., they like to go home, eat food, have a drink or a smoke or both, and turn on the television until they melt into a zombie state, forget there problems and fall asleep. This seems to be, I would say the ‘natural order of things’, but a more defining term would be the ‘unnatural order of things’. It’s a routine that has been created since the dawn of the television and has been passed through a handful of generations. On an even further tangent, everyone blames fast food chains for the obesity problem, I bet if you had the data and could go back far enough the correlation between obesity and television is much stronger.
But I digress. The point I was trying to make is that this terrible anti-stress routine that has become the norm in modern society actually has a negative effect on me. I realize that it is like throwing a newspaper over the dog shit in the kitchen, rather than cleaning it up, and while I’m sitting there I feel a growing sickness of guilt for wasting precious years of my life with mind numbing activity when my precious gift of time on this earth could be used for such greater purposes. That thought alone provokes another tangent that is an ongoing conflict in my mind about seeing time as having much greater value than currency, but I will save that for another day.
Back to the TV: The BLS American Time Use Survey says that the average American watches 5.11 hours of television daily. That is insane, do you understand how those numbers pan out over time? These are rough numbers mind you, but still.
= 35.77 hrs/ week : You’ve already lost a day of your life awake (1.5 days actually)
=155.85 hrs/ month: Now you’ve lost 6.5 days in just a month, almost lost a week.
=1865.15 hrs/ year : Now you’ve lost 77.71 days, which is over two and half months.
How long does it take, to lose one year off your life spent awake and in from of the television? Every 4.7 years, you lose a year of your life to the television.
Think about it.
So, I have a hard time sitting there even when I have completed a great deal of tasks throughout the day. That is the situation I have been attempting to address throughout this incessant ramble. 95% of what helps me relieve stress is physical. Working out works better than anything, not only do you kill time, remove your mind from the outside stressors, create a wave of endorphins, but you gain a lasting confidence of accomplishment that will carry you for hours. But you can’t work out all day, so then what? I’ve been doing a rash of manual labor around the property, things that have needed to be done for years, are finally being taken care of, and each time one task is completed I feel a lasting amount of gratification and boost to my overall confidence. These daunting tasks, that we continue to ignore, hang over our heads and will eventually grow into terrible monsters in the back of our psyche, haunting us on a daily basis. There are other things, indoor things that I need to complete as well, but I save those, for when the sun is down.
So what am I even trying to say today?
Fight stress with exercise.
Complete the tasks you continue to brush aside to experience relief and joy.
And stop watching so much damn television.