Dr. Brian King, academic psychologist and aspiring comedian, shares his thoughts on how to live a life with less stress. Overdrive selected this one as their Big Read for the spring. I’m going through a fairly stressful season in my own life, and hoped this would have a takeaway or two that I could use.
Y’all. It has been a while since I’ve quit a book so completely fully as I did with this one.
How does a book about reducing stress result in a rage quit? Let’s talk about that.
Dr. King shares that he’s been an easygoing fellow his entire life. Things just don’t upset him. And, really, Dr. King thinks people let themselves get too easily riled.
For example, in a grocery store trip, Dr. King passes (a little too closely) a woman parked in the middle of an aisle. She calls out after him that he nearly hit her! Dr. King’s response is basically “but did you die?” In his view, she’s upset over something that didn’t happen. (My response? We live in a society, Brian.)
A friend vents about someone who cut him off on the highway? Why so stressed; after all, your car is still in one piece. Nothing happened to get worked up about, dude.
Dr. King doesn’t just advocate for not getting upset about the things that don’t happen. He also doesn’t get upset over things that do happen. Like… his car windows getting busted or multiple instances of finding someone sleeping one off in his vehicle. King just pushes the person over and drives to school as though nothing really happened. Which, I guess, is his entire argument: if one hasn’t come to harm, why bother getting worked up?
At this point, I realized, I can’t take advice from this man and gave it up. There’s easygoing and there’s whatever this is. If less stress means that I don’t get worked up over finding someone sleeping in my car, I think I will have to make peace with stress.