Stay Chill

Stress is something grownups get
When kids are loud
Or pants are wet.
Stress is something grownups do.
They think too much.
They fret and stew.
Stress is something grownups use
to make their foreheads crinkle.
Stress is something grownups eat
That makes their bellies wrinkle.
Stress has other names I've heard
Like 'credit cards' and 'taxes'.
It makes a person's eye twitch
And it fills them up with gasses.
Stress can block the arteries.
Stress can melt the brain.
It makes you lose your temper
If you don't contain the strain.
So before you check my bedroom's clean,
Stress can kill.
Please do your health a favor, Dad.
Let's keep it nice and chill.

-B.C. Byron
Before you go in there. Take a deep breath and stay chill, Dad.

Stress can make us do funny things and can really beat up our bodies. Stress makes our pits pour salty water, makes our stomachs tight, our feet cold, lips go numb, eyes twitch, and more oddball stuff. I’ve even broken out in itchy, red blotches all over my body the night before a job interview.

It’s strange that our brains get so worked up about a math test or speaking in front of people – things that couldn’t kill or even injure us. Why do we react this way to such trivial (not-so-important) things? Our ancestors would probably have a good belly laugh if they could see us fretting over solving a math problem in front of a class of kids. They had to face real dangers, like starvation or being eaten by bears. It’s important to keep the right perspective about the things that get us worried.

It’s also important to develop our own ways to handle stress when it comes, and believe me it will. We may nit be able stay cool as a watermelon in every situation, but we can certainly keep that panicky feeling under reasonable control. On that note, I’d like to share an anti-stress trick that has worked for me personally. I call it “embracing the pain”. When your heart is racing and you feel the butterflies in your stomach, don’t fight it. In fact, I’ve found that I can calm down by focusing in on the symptoms of stress. Try observing yourself in detail (in your mind of course) and noting wgat’s happening. “I’m sweaty and I feel embarrassed”, “I’m afraid I’ll mess up right now”, “my cheeks are probably red”, “I think I may screw up some test answers and that’s okay”. Oddly, by not fighting against and accepting the stress feelings, I can manage them so much better. It’s natural to feel stress, so just let it be and go on anyway. Sweaty and nervous on the outside, chill on the inside. It can be done with a little practice.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is available on Amazon,, and Google Books. I post new poems and illustrations every week.

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