Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guest Post by: Josh Hanagarne "World's Strongest Librarian"

Stress Is A Teacher. The Student Is In Charge

I have seen myself react to stress in two ways:

1. Say “Well, life is stressful” and just let it be
2. Create a solution and move on…until the next stressful situation shows up

The problem with number one is that if you accept stress as the cost of living, you’ll never be able to release the pressure valve. You’ll quit fighting for calm and peace of mind.

One small stress leads to another. As minor agitations go untreated, the cumulative fatigue and frustration build and lead to…who knows what?

A Few Hard Fast Rules

I avoid speaking in absolutes whenever possible, but there are a couple of things that I believe with 100% certainty.

• If you go through life expecting to be lied to, you will attract liars
• If you expect to be stressed out, you will attract more stress
• If you are in a situation you can’t control, you have to introduce something that you can control

The best way I know to introduce control into my life is to create something. Not something good, necessarily. Just something.

Art As Therapy

I always feel clumsy when I discuss art. I’m much better at knowing why I hate something than why I like it. The tools just aren’t in my critical toolbox because I haven’t spent any time cultivating them.

But I know this: creating anything is a response to a lack of something. Any work of art was a way to release something in the brain of the artist—call it stress, if you like.

Agitation, angst, need, want, torment…anything we create is a temporary relief. Whether it’s “good” or “quality” or “total crap” is less important than the fact that it feels good to make things.

When I write an article, I usually write an article that I would like to read. I’ve heard painters say something similar. “The painting I wanted to see and study didn’t exist yet, so I painted it.”

Some people say they dance or sing or write or sculpt because they must.

This notion gets romanticized as “The Tortured Artist.” I don’t necessarily buy that. People don’t die of not dancing or writing or sculpting.

However, I know that when I write, I have less stress. When I have less stress, I am happier.

And I am happier because for the time being, I have taken steps to fill the holes in myself that cause anxiety.

A Better Way

While I believe that occasional stress is a given, there is a better way than just giving in. Each specific stress can be eliminated by creating an antidote.

Then you can move on to the next difficult, exasperating trial.

The key to genuine peace of mind is experiencing exactly as much stress and pain as you have to…but no more. Not a drop.

The tragedy is not that life can be difficult, but that we make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Now go make something. Do it for you.

Josh Hanagarne
Get Stronger, Get Smarter, Live Better…Every Day

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne writes World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog with advice about coping with Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, kettlebells buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates and Stronger, Smarter, Better Newsletter to stay in touch.

Click on the link at the beginning of this blog post to read Josh's latest blogpost.


kathy casey said...

Thank you, Josh, for writing this. You are such a talent. That's why I read your blog all the time! You have such a positive outlook on life - I hope it continues to rub off on me!

Poetic Artist said...

enjoyed this very much.
Thanks for sharing.

positively present said...

Another great post, Josh! Thanks for featuring Josh's post on here, Kathy... As you said, Josh is very talented and it's always a joy to read what he writes. I'm glad his post pointed me in the direction of your blog too! :)

Greg said...

At one time in my life, I played the trumpet every day, multiple times per day. I'd have to say I lost something when that ended.