Stress? Find your own life soundtrack

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, September 11, 2016

I’ve been running an experiment that unveils my lofty level of coolness.

For those of you who don’t know me well enough: Yes, that is sarcasm. I’ve long since given up any illusions about my level of cool.

But I digress. I recently found myself knee-deep in a new stress-relief experiment: When walking around town to cover various events and things — City Council, school board, county board and courts — I’ve found myself wearing my earbuds and trying to find music that sounds like a movie soundtrack.

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Yes, part of this makes me feel a bit childish at times — walking up the stairs of the Mower County Jail and Justice Center to read court complaints listening to “Devil’s Haircut” by Beck and walking from the Herald to Austin High School blasting Talking Heads.

While this may sound relatively simple, the simple imaginative addition of looking for soundtrack music offers a great little mental breather from the day.

Before you dismiss this as proactive daydreaming — which it totally is — take a second to hear me out. I’ve noticed stress churns throughout the day. If we let it churn into negativity and crankiness, it can spiral out of control quickly and take over.

While this revelation will likely cause a good deal of my faithful readers — for they are many — to scoff at me, I’ve found this soundtrack syndrome, as I’ve started calling it, is an easy way to fend off stressful days from becoming too much.

It’s an easy way to keep things light when they may be getting stressful.

Some people just let the stress and crankiness consume them. Come on, admit you have someone in your life who thrives off and almost enjoys being crabby and groaning about anything.

But by letting stress spin into something else, no matter how goofy or silly, it spirals into something that makes the day a bit more enjoyable. It can spiral into something a bit more productive, even if it is a tad juvenile.

My recent go-to soundtrack syndrome music has been rapper Rapper Childish Gambino, who most probably know as the actor and writer Donald Glover (“30 Rock,” “The Martian” and “Community”).

A few weeks ago, a stressful day was closing in with an army of unnecessary negativity. Then a friend recommended I listen to Childish Gambino’s album “Because the Internet.” Just as I was about to give in and let the stress win, I threw on the album as I worked. Glover’s subtle humor on the album cracked me up and saved my mood from spinning off the rails. In short, it successfully averted a good deal of stress.

Since, Childish Gambino’s music has served as great imaginative fodder for my soundtrack syndrome game.

To me, it was just a reminder that we don’t need extensive ways to reduce and cope with the stresses of day-to-day life. We just have to embrace a few of our more silly ideas and dare to be a bit goofy if necessary.