Posted in Writing Prompts

Fandango’s Provocative Question #154

What do you do to reduce or relieve stress in your life?

There are two philosophical angles in this question.
To reduce stress and relieve stress require different approaches.
Reducing stress is a preemptive avoidance tactic.
Relieving stress is a treatment process once stress has infected you.
IMO…The first is accomplished primarily by paying the majority of your attention to things you have an ability to fix. The frustration that builds when I feel ‘powerless’ is a terrible weight. If I can’t come up with a plan and method to correct the dilemma, I do my best to ‘let it go’. I’m human, of course, so that doesn’t always sink in. But I try.
For stress relief? I clean my environment as well as pay extra attention to offering charity, support, and comfort to others. I know many people who clean to relieve stress. I suspect that they do it because they also need a busy, quick result driven, task. In essence, we turn to things we CAN do when we need to escape those ‘out of our hands’. Besides cleaning, I write letters, bake or create surprise gifts, or call a friend who is ‘in need’.
I’m no saint by a long shot even though my approach to life sounds ‘self-importantly sweet’. I think what I do (my list was true) comes from my inborn personal nature. I’m terribly difficult to anger or insult but quick to laugh. I thank my genes for that.
Besides, as you have already noticed, I’m pragmatic and logic driven too. Yet, it may seem a contradiction that I procrastinate the tedious in favor of ‘fun’. Fun motivates most things I do.
Punching a pillow, or running a marathon, for stress relief works for some, but seems a waste of productive, creative, ‘fun’ time to me. 😉
[If you could see my cluttered corners, you’d also know that stress doesn’t impose itself on me often enough! LOL]


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

9 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #154

  1. Not to be picayune, but you can’t reduce something that you don’t already have. “Reduce” means to make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size. So stress must already exist if your aim is to reduce it. “Relieve” is an action you can take to mitigate something unpleasant, like stress. For example, I may take Advil to relieve my pain and doing so might also reduce my fever.

    That said, I agree that the ability to take action to fix something you can actually fix can help reduce stress, whereas a feeling of helplessness tends to increase stress. And I also agree that focusing outside of yourself by helping others is also a good stress reliever.

    Anyway, thanks for responding.

    1. Quite right. Reducing something can be (and most often is) something reduced in intensity that you already have. But, we also wish to reduce risk and opportunity for things we dread in advance. Knowing that we don’t want stress might make us prone to reduce the opportunities for it, as well as relieve it. (Like moving away from an annoying neighbor.) By your measure of the meanings, your question is redundant, or at least, overlapping. If you meant it to be, you might have better said “and” instead of “or”.
      Thanks. I had fun!

      1. True. An “and” would have been better. Or, to have chosen to use “reduce” or “relieve,” but not both. Live and learn. 😏

      2. When they day is done, we all bring our diverse individual understanding to everything. That’s what’s cool. Rarely are we ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (except in math). We are just different. ❤

  2. I think with your personality type, you’re very lucky. Not getting caught up in the stress cycle very often is indeed a blessing. You’ve great ways to handle the stress you do feel.

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