by Cliff Mazer, Ph.D.
I’m sure we all agree that too much stress is a major problem in society. The human body is basically like a big pressure cooker and our beating hearts are electrical pumps that keep it all running smoothly. Every time we get mad, anxious, over-excited or frustrated there is an undeniable increase in blood pressure which is not heart healthy over time, particularly if you happen to be a fat slob who never exercises and shovels junk food in your mouth constantly.
Many respected scholars, spiritual leaders and self-help personalities like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Richard Simmons, and Suzanne Somers remind us that we need to keep our stress to a minimum and maintain a positive and cheerful disposition. However, most of these same people have millions of dollars if not millions of twitter followers… not to mention personal assistants with very mellow auras who rub their feet and tell them how wonderful they are. It’s good to be the King or the 14th reincarnation of somebody Holy in Tibet, and its even better if you’ve managed to “manifest” a beachfront house in Maui, like Wayne Dyer. It’s hard to not feel jealousy and envy about that.
The problem for the rest of us is daily frustration and having to constantly repress feelings of murderous rage which is quite normal and human. It’s not good to run around shooting people but its also not healthy holding it all in 24/7 and self-medicating over our natural inclination and savage animal nature. Let’s be honest, anthropology and genetics have shown we are only half a chromosome away from being Travis the 200 lb. maniac chimp who went insane and had a lifelong predilection for cheap box wine, bars of Xanax, and mutilating innocent people carrying birthday cakes and stuffed animals. We read about horrendous mass murders occurring practically every day now, which is very stressful, but rarely think to ourselves, “Hey, that could have been me… if I had a full-body SWAT uniform hanging in my closet and several fully loaded assault rifles in my car trunk”.
We all have bad days but the stress can really pile up. For example, have you ever stood in line at Publix pharmacy or the bank or grocery store and overheard conversations between random people and the dedicated employees who have to serve them? The term “grin and bear it” has to have been invented for all the working people of the world who after listening to someone kvetch, complain, and completely make shit up are bound by their ethics, their sense of professionalism and their “oath of office” (otherwise known as their boss’s boss and their fear of losing their health insurance if they get fired) to keep smiling and say things like, “I’m so sorry we have no record of that” and “Of course, I’ll see what I can do. I’m so terribly sorry for the misunderstanding.” You dont have to be a psychologist or have x-ray eyes to see that these customers are sometimes completely wrong, screwy, missing a lugnut, and/or trying to manipulate the situation to their advantage. How can I be so sure you ask? I’m sure because I am sometimes the manipulative lugnut screwball customer who had a bad day and decided to suddenly feel “outraged” that my blood pressure prescription wasn’t ready or became “indignant and offended” that the waitress forgot to bring a lemon slice like I clearly requested in my (free) glass of water.
Ok, so you get the picture. There is a balance to be achieved here. You may now be thinking I’m going to suggest we all take deep yoga breaths, calm down and treat one another with love and respect. Forget that. That takes alot of work and might even expend calories having to learn certain painful body postures, ancient breathing techniques and mind clearing exercises. Personally, I’m a little afraid to clear my mind completely. It might not come back… sort of like my last HP laptop computer. Some of that was my fault for looking at dirty pictures and videos that clearly were carrying Trojan Horse viruses, Russian malware and virtual STD’s so virulent I actually heard my computer cough and wheeze before it flashed the blue screen of death.
No, instead of calming down and taking a Lamaze classes or shlepping in traffic to introductory Buddhism lectures (again), I propose we have one day a month called,“You’re Full of Shit” Day. On this day, all public servants and company employees across this great nation are allowed to turn on their customers, their clients and bosses and totally let them have it….verbally I mean. After listening quietly to their over demanding half crazy drivel they are allowed to flip out and say things like, “Right, your SO full of crap, Mr. Weinstein! The pharmacy message machine you refer to does NOT give the kind of personal information or prescription specific data you mentioned. You are either lying like a crack whore or you are crazy and need Haldol to go with your Metamucil!! It’s not our fault you cant take a crap and are getting old!” Wow, wouldn’t that feel good? What about being able to tell your BOSS or direct supervisor once a month what a giant asswipe and fool he is and how he is so SO annoying the way he eats with his mouth open and spits little pieces of ham sandwich out when he talks and pontificates!! Talk about stress reduction and emotional catharsis!!! Go ahead, “visualize” it……You’ll feel a little better already.
Dont get me wrong. I’m not saying this would be a good idea or therapeutic exercise every single day. It might lead to complete anarchy, lawlessness and the kind of atavistic “Lord of the Flies” type behavior that occurs daily in the United States Congress and among floor traders at the NYSE and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That’s just a human mosh pit with people wearing suits and waving paper instead of shiny gladiator outfits and carrying trident pitchforks. I’m just saying there should be a day of emotional “amnesty” when you, me, and even our kids are free to tell the “emperor” that he/she wears no clothes and is full of ca-ca. Wait, my kids already do that…. Nevermind that last part. Do I even need to mention AGAIN no guns, no knives and no hand-made nunchucks?