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A Release from Data Expand / Collapse
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:16 AM
Mr or Mrs. 500

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As I'm now somwhat disabled, I can't take part in martial arts, or running (which was a passion).

I get rid of the stress by reading (and writing very bad poetry). And sometimes, when frustrated by some code that looks plausible but doesn't work, by thumping the screen or walking around the building. I can tell when I'm stressed by noticing when my fingers start to drum on the desk.

Amazing how much comes out of you through the pen to paper... Typing it doesn't do it for me, I love the process of physically writing, crossing out, inserting, changing. Once I'm mostly happy, then I'll type it up.

Oh, and watching Doctor Who, via the BBC's excellent iPlayer...
Post #552603
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:25 AM
Valued Member

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I am a walker and I learned recently that in times of great stress I stop exercising. I find it very difficult to get back to the same level I was before. I am still stuck in denial that I am that out of shape. Anyhow, I always loved martial arts. I never actually took classes or tried it. But I have been watching the movies since I was a child. During my non-exercise years I got into Japanese anime which is ,if you squint your eyes, pretty martial artsie, at least the ones I watch. There is something about the control of ones self that I find very appealing.
Post #552608
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:40 AM


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Steve, agree 100%! At almost 39, I enjoy getting out and doing whatever I can to get some stress release. I play pick-up soccer with several buddies as often as we can, more so during summer and winter(indoor). It is amazing how much release you can get by nailing a hard hit ball in the goal from about 30 yards out! Or taking on about 3 guys and beating them, and putting one in! I coach both my boys (5 & 8) also.

I also burn fire wood to heat my home, and enjoy releasing some aggression force on a nice red oak tree for a few hours.

It is amazing how this makes you feel and increases your concentration level!
Post #552619
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:47 AM

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Has martial arts changed as much as it sounds? I thought one of the core tenets of any martial art is using the mind to control the body – at least, this was the case way too many years ago when I was taking Judo classes and our instructor, along with our physical activities, had us study various books and writings about “balance” in one’s life and pursuits – that the mind must be in proper balance or no amount of physical skill and prowess was going to fix anything, let alone ease any stress.

To that end, though I would endorse physical activity, I do not in any way endorse going out at the end of the day and beating the tar out of anything to “relieve stress” – that’s a pipe dream because stress is controlled via the mind NOT the body. Indeed, physical stress, being tired, cramps, or any physical manifestation is in fact, fed by the mind. Control the mind and you control the rest.

Let me offer you an alternative question you might ask yourself: How important is your work? And I mean really think about that. If your job or company fell of the face of the Earth tomorrow, would it be the end of the world for all of us? Are you curing cancer? Are you feeding the world’s hungry people? Are you developing the solution to Global warming? Are you bringing peace to the globe?

…or, are you kidding yourself about your importance to stroke your own ego? Are you fighting with co-workers over how that last SQL query was written because you are ‘certain’ your idea is ‘the right one’ and everyone else is wrong? If so, have you asked that important question; “So what?”

In the early days of my career I took every job I worked way too seriously. Here, nearing the end of my career, I can look back and realize I have worked for three companies that went ‘belly-up’, two that went through large mergers with lots of job cuts (my own included), and two more that were ‘start-ups’ that didn’t survive. What have I learned? Simple – and here it comes – sage wisdom – ready? – It’s just software and data. It’s not the solution to man’s age-old problems, its’ not going to alter the course of the planets and even people who may be working in what seem truly vital industries – remember – someone else is working there too. Lighten up, do your best work because it makes YOU better – not because you perceive some grand over-importance for mankind in the next SQL query you will write.

If you feel you have to break a cinderblock at the end of each day to “relieve stress” – okay, so be it – but trust me; If you don’t have your mental and spiritual house in order, no amount of physical activity is going to budge you forward in dealing with stress. Stress comes from the mind where we think improperly, often over-inflating ourselves, our work, and our place in this world. In the software business this is pure suicide – you are just building ulcers and nice path to a stroke.

And trust me, sure your job is important – after all you’re making money I hope, and thus able to feed yourself – but it’s your family, your children, your friends, and the simple good deeds you do in this world that really matter. Who knows, maybe on your way into work this morning you did some very small kindness to someone that lifted their spirits in a dark time for them. They don’t know your name, but they remember that kindness and how it lifted them. Compare that to any argument over how to structure the best SQL query and tell me which benefitted mankind – even in a small way.

Lighten up – control your mind and spirit – then go karate chop those 2 by 4’s. Because if you don’t have the computer between your ears in order, no amount of any martial art is going to do anything for you in the long run.

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #552625
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:01 AM


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I have to say that physical activity is a great sanity clause in this line work. I've been in and out of dojos myself of varying styles of karate. I recently decided to take leave of it once again because the full-contact portion was jeopardizing my hands.

My instructor favored me, which meant that I was chosen to demonstrate techniques. All too often I found myself inverted or otherwise headed in a downward direction and landing on my fingers or hands. Let's face it; if you damage your hands or eyes in our profession, you're out of work.

Now, I am experiencing the P90X workout. I definitely get the chance to exert myself after a stressful day. Better still, I am plenty tired and can get to bed timely for once.

Great topic!

Post #552636
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:01 AM


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All of that reading must have sunk in for you. Everything you have said makes perfect sense. Destroying something is definitely a stress outlet but i wouldn't call it a reliever. It makes you feel better but then if you return to the stress in lieu of learning to better deal with the stress where does that put you.

One of the things I am constantly working with (in the words of Grant above) She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (I like that!) is the whole concept of world importance and 'What will happen if you don't get that done?' We often place great importance on tiny incocequential details.

I couldn't agree more... focus on the important things in life. Friends, Family, Children if you are so inclined, and helping others to make it through the world. I would think that if you need exertion to relieve stress you would find your stress level drop exponentially if you swung a hammer for Habitat for Humanity. Provide 'the dream' for others.

Love the post blandry.
Post #552637
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:09 AM

UDP Broadcaster

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That's the idea behind martial arts, not just the physical, but to learn to control your emotions and get your mind in order.

When I was younger I enjoyed sparring more than Kata, these days I think I enjoy the Kata more....

Breaking is a small part of martial arts, I've broken cinder blocks, boards, etc. and can say it's really not as much of a release as you'd think.

Post #552646
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:11 AM

Mr or Mrs. 500

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Well, I am all of the above.

I have been studying T'ai Chi for years, and it is a wonderful thing. I also am a singer and play keyboard. The singing especially lets me blow out the stress. After a bad week, I can really wail on the blues.

T'ai Chi relieves the stress whenever I do it. I still haven't completely mastered retaining the calm when I'm not doing T'ai Chi. I have improved in dealing with stress but I have a way to go.

Blandry is right. You have to have your mind and spirit in a good place in order to successfully deal with the day's stresses. If I have a bad moment, it's certainly not due to a lack in my T'ai Chi training. It's due to an unhealthy mental state or a lack of mental preparation.
Post #552648
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:22 AM



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Actually I think martial arts, when done at a high level, is more mental than physical. One of the reasons I got out of it years ago is that I didn't have the mental energy at the end of many days to focus for 2 hours after a long commute.

You're right that we shouldn't take our jobs too seriously, but it's not always a question of being too intense or serious. There are plenty of times someone pushes a button or upsets us over something that we wouldn't care about most days. Physically stressing the body can bleed off the mental stress, sometimes just because it distracts you.

These days I try to go hard every night, and I find that the days when I'm not 100%, I'll actually get into more of a zone and work harder. It's a nice release after typing for hours or trying to focus on writing.

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Post #552658
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:28 AM
Right there with Babe

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I've been in IT for 20 + years and I've been practicing Aikido for about the same amount of time. I fond it not only a good stress reliever but also a great opportunity to actively NOT THINK - just react. I also find Aikido especially a very creative martial art and the partnered practice gives me the opportunity for human contact that sitting in a cubilcle with a computer doesn't.
Post #552660
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