Give stress the middle finger

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Traffic jams. Co-workers who love the sound of their own voice. People who cut in line…..

I can sense the rage building, but wait.

Instead of grinding your teeth or thinking up satisfying executions for unforgivable acts, let’s consider another approach.

It may take time and practice, but you’ll live longer.

And probably even become a better person.

So let’s give a hearty middle finger to Old Man Stress and rejoice in your new approach.

Here are some simple strategies for on the spot stress relief.


We’ve all been there, some more than most. Waiting in line at the supermarket self-serve register while some time-waster dithers about with their money. Or worse yet, lets their kids attempt to scan items. How adorable!

All the while you could be relaxing on the sofa, cooking dinner, delousing your pet – anything really other than this.


Simple. Chances are you have your phone with you. You need to quickly escape the register nightmare so use your phone to access some fun recent photos with your family or pals. Go to your favorite social media site. Check news, sports or entertainment updates.

Done! It’s your turn at the register. And remember not to dither.


A driver sent straight from Satan has the audacity to:

A: Suddenly pull out in front of you. B: Commence to drive at a speed slightly slower than a walking mule. C: Suddenly stops and turns without signaling.

Your natural reaction is to scream foul abuse while sending jolts of pain into your heart and ruining your goodwill for the next hour.


You can’t use your phone or look at a treasured photo here. It’s mantra time. Before you scoff, try repeating these to yourselves while maintaining constant, steady breathing.

“I have control over how I feel and I choose to feel peace”

This speaks for itself – you can choose to lose it – or not.

“With every breath, I feel myself relaxing”

Focus on the physical, concentrate on your breathing and all road sins are soon forgotten. Move on.


You’re trying to get something done at work. Maybe an important email to a customer, maybe a delicate brain surgery.

A colleague feels compelled to show you a photo of their pet while they tell you all about their aunt’s ingrown toenail.

All without being asked.


You have a few options here, depending on your workplace. An excellent way sayonara stress is vigorous exercise. The sooner the better for your colleague’s sake.

Excuse yourself then find some stairs. Run or walk up them as hard as you can. Try for 3 times.

Find some private space and do some squats and push ups.

Who cares if someone sees you? They’ll be impressed and will most likely join you or certainly avoid you.

The exercise will distract you, release endorphins and you’ll feel good.

If there’s nowhere to go you need a Plan B: sensory overload!

Take a small bottle of your favorite scent – it could be anything. Lavender, eucalyptus oil, strong coffee, whatever does it for you.

Take a whiff and go to that happy place.

Taste buds can be your buds here. A quick chomp on whatever snack does it for you – a handful of jelly beans perhaps. Or let the endorphin army come marching in with a chocolate fix.

Ah, that’s better.


You’ve politely asked your child / teen to do something only to met with an indifferent shrug or grunt.

You ask again, less politely this time, hoping the beloved one will catch on to the change in tone.

This time a sigh with a withering look in your direction. YOU! Who clothes and feeds this person.

Before you hurl their phone under a passing truck, consider your options.


You have a little more freedom here so simply remove yourself from the stress zone.

Go outside and take a walk. It can be a quiet stroll, distracting yourself with what’s happening around you.

You can opt for a brisk pace, simply walking hard and fast, letting the exertion take over.

Taking your earphones is another rock – solid option, combining some exercise and a different environment with some tunes or a podcast, allowing you to escape completely.

The key to getting on top of stress is to recognize potential signs and triggers and then utilizing your growing arsenal of stress beaters.

Dealing with stress effectively then becomes ingrained, like a good habit. It’s second nature.

Stress? What’s all the fuss about?

Photo by Jeffrey Erhunse on Unsplash

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