Stress Busters !!
Who does not need these ? I’m pretty much sure that almost everyone does – well, almost. There are people who claim to be zen enough not to need any stress busters whatsoever. Well, what can I say, other than the fact that I totally envy such people :-). ‘Tis true that stress or the lack of it is a state of mind, ‘tis all in the head. But then again, my head is pretty much like me. At any given point of time, it probably resembles one of those overfull landfills – filled pretty much with stuff that cannot be used or does not need to be used. Needless to say, things that need to occupy space in my head, important things that I do need to remember to make life easier for myself, are pretty much left out in the cold. They are forever fighting for a space inside the landfill that happens to be my head. Landfill !! Ewwww !! Did you just say that ? Well, optimist that I am, I can only say this. My head sure may resemble a landfill but it does state a point – my head isn’t empty !! Ah Haanhh !!
What I’m trying to say, in my usual drawn out, convoluted manner is that I am the kind of person who needs to have loads of stress busters in my armoury. It has to resemble one of those virtual Kurukshetra fields (remember the one from the TV serial Mahabharat ?) – missiles (of the ancient kind) flying back and forth. The Kauravas send across a missile which spews fire and the Pandavas counter it with a missile gushing water. Get my point ?? I too, need a whole variety of stress busters at my disposal. Maybe my range of stressbusters are not as colourful or as dramatic as the missiles in those TV serials, but they know their job and they do it well. Simply put, they bust stress !!
One stress buster that I’ve always relied upon is sharpening pencils. Remember that post I’d done, wherein I laid bare all my quirks (and there were quite a few, mind you). If you haven’t read that post earlier on, I’ll just put in the link here for you so that you can go right over and read about all my quirks. I am a very kind soul that way, you see.
So, like I was saying before I digressed, one stress buster that I had, I do and I always will rely upon, is sharpening pencils. There is something so innately soothing about sharpening pencils. I know I sound like a loon, but the next time you feel like throwing something at someone, just take a deep breath (or two, if you like), pick up a pencil sharpener and a pencil (of course !) and just … well, sharpen the pencil. The swish, swish, swish of the wood against the sharp blade of the sharpener registers somewhere within the chaotic mind and in its own inimitable way, begins to restore a sense or calm, rather automatically. Not to mention, the twirl of the wood shavings that curl out of the sharpener – it automatically sets the creative mind in motion, making the mind dwell upon the different uses that those wood shavings could have. They could be used as Santa’s beard on some artwork, or on a blank paper to create abstract patterns. In doing this, the mind calms down, unknowingly, automatically. Once that feeling of wanting to kill someone passes, I feel safe enough to put the pencils and the sharpener back, in their rightful place.
Over the past year, full time teaching brought me face to face with yet another extremely resourceful stress buster. It works like magic – every single time. The next time you feel really stressed out over something, anything – pick up a blank template (print anything from the internet), pick up a pack of colour pencils or crayons and get to work. Simply put, just colour a picture. It works and it works like magic.
As those colors begin to seep onto the erstwhile blank and sterile landscape of your paper template, it totally captivates the senses. As you watch the pencil strokes grow, as you watch the colours spread, the feeling is one of exquisite delight. It feels rather fairylike, enchanting, captivating yet there remains a feeling of mysticism as you simply give into the messages flowing from your brain on how to fill in the rest of the landscape a.k.a your blank template.
How exactly this works, I know not. But this I know for sure – it works !!
I’ve relied on this stress buster many a times in the not so distant past. It has worked like a charm – every single time. That is to say, I am definitely not one of those zen people that don’t need any ideas or concepts to quell stress !! Quite the contrary !! I think what quite happens is that those streams of colours actually create some sort of pathways inside that stressed up, landfill like head of mine. It’s more like connecting a 5 point 1 home theatre system. All the wires are colour coded, so you know which wire is meant for which speaker. Something similar, I guess, happens inside my head too.
Those streaks of colours, some muted and quiet, laying the foundation and providing the depth and some colours – bright, flashy and loud – bringing the entire landscape to life, screaming for attention – make the picture complete. Those colours automatically make thoughts flow in a sane fashion inside my head, like smooth flowing traffic on a very busy freeway, rather than letting those thoughts zoom around and just zing and bounce off the walls inside my head, leading to utter pandemonium and anarchy inside my head. To put it simply, the colours quell the turmoil and unruliness and restore a much needed sense of order.
Which is pretty much why, when Macadamia and Pecan are in full form, when they unleash the forces of torment like only kids and pre teens can, when they drive me up the wall as effortlessly as they do nowadays, I will, probably be found, sitting on the ceiling, defying the law of Gravity, with a few blank templates and packs of sharpened, colour pencils in my armoury, letting those broad strokes and thin lines of colour, those dark smudges, those bright splashes restore a sense of much needed calm, peace, tranquillity and composure.
Like Robert Fulghum once said,
"Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air - explode softly - and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth - boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either - not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination."