Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Cure For Stress: Play

My cat Mulliner and Spongebob Squarepants have taught me some simple philosophies about dealing with stress. I can always tell when I'm getting too wrapped up in my duties:

1) I feel that, no matter where I am, I should really be someplace else.

2) I am convinced that no matter how much I work, I will not be finished by bedtime.

3) I snap at people (not an attractive trait, stress or not).

At these times I have to take a step back and look at me through someone else's eyes. Or, alternatively, I try to use someone else's way of dealing with it all. In the case of Mulliner, a Kleenex can provide distraction and delight for endless periods of time (I tend to make them utilitarian devices, but to him they are wonder toys).

Spongebob does the same with a simple piece of paper. It can become anything one's imagination wants it to be.

On a recent work retreat, we were encouraged to color patterns--things like stained glass window shapes or patterned circles. Apparently this is a wonderful stress therapy because a person must sit, be silent, and concentrate on nothing more than making a pretty visual. I enjoyed it a great deal.

So my new stress reducer involves making myself play, even if I am only playing with a piece of paper or doing Spongebob's perennial favorite--blowing bubbles. It's amazing how rekindling the childhood imagination can bring respite to the tortured adult soul. :)

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