Using Absurdity to Reduce Stress

“Always look on the bright side of life…”   — Monty Python, “The Life of Brian”

One of the favorite parts of living in England, even when I was homeless, was meeting the British people.  I tend to get along with them better than Americans.  On the whole, they seem to realize that life is absurd and just go with it.  Americans (or, at least, the ones I meet) tend to take life a tad too seriously.  I know I’m certainly guilty of this on many an occasion, which can lead to unhealthy stress.  One of the best gifts England gave to me was a very effective way to reduce stress through absurdity.


Probably the best way to describe what I mean by using absurdity as a stress reducer is to show you an example that happened to me last night.   I was just beginning a hot bath when my heart started to hammer (painlessly) and I felt faint.  I got out and had to lay down.  At first, I thought, “Am I now too old and decrepit that I can’t even enjoy a hot bath anymore?”

Then, I realized I was clenching my teeth and breathing shallowly.  This is not conducive to calming down.  So, I thought about UFOs, because I happen to be in a writing contest about UFOs over at Helium (which in and of itself can be an absurd thing for a professional writer like me to do).   And you can’t do any research on UFOs without bumping into a lot of conspiracy theories.

Somehow, I concluded that extraterrestrials had read my articles, didn’t want me to win the contest and so struck me down in the bathtub with some sort of laser beam to my chest so I would cease writing about them and spilling their secrets.

This is totally absurd, of course.  However, it made me laugh, which helped me to relax and eventually feel better.

Use of Other’s Absurdity

Sometimes, you just get so tense and stressed out that you can’t make up any of your own absurd conspiracy theories.  It is perfectly alright to indulge in someone else’s absurdity.  For example, you could watch Monty Python or other satirical comedy DVDs.  Authors like Terry Pratchet often have a lot of absurd humor and yet have an ultimately hopeful message.  Or, you could check out one of several make your own conspiracy theory websites.

Hope this helps.

1 comment
  1. I personally wonder precisely why you labeled this particular blog, “Using Absurdity to Reduce Stress
    reasonsnottocommitsuicide”. No matter what I loved the blog!
    I appreciate it-Freddy

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