There are two kinds of stress in life.
There is the kind that makes you stronger… like lifting heavy weights or conquering tough problems; The ‘good stress’ that seeds growth and development; The necessary stress that builds character and fortitude.
Just as a tree cannot grow strong roots and limbs without resisting the passing wind; without the ‘good stress’, you would be left a spineless jellyfish.
But then there is the other kind… the ‘bad stress’, that grinds you down and chips away at your mind, body or spirit without building you up on the back-end; The wicked stress that makes you tense and anxious; The harmful stress that zaps your energy, health and motivation.
Men get these two types of stress confused a lot. Sometimes out of laziness. Sometimes because they are delusional in thinking that they are somehow ‘tough’ or ‘masculine’ for enduring bad pain and discomfort.
But the self-imposed stress of, say, putting in long hours to work on a fruitful project of your own is not the same as the stress you endure when working overtime on the corporate clock to float your lingering credit debt.
The stress of fasting and operating on an empty stomach is not the same as the stress you put on your guts when you binge on alcohol and junk food.
The stress of getting through a difficult life-experience and learning from your mistakes is different than the stress you get from harboring bad habits, bad people and bad decisions.
One kind of stress build you up; the other wears you out.
Reducing Little Bits Of Stress
Maintaining strong physical health beyond the years of youth is primarily a game of reducing bad stress wherever possible.
Bad physical stress creates inflammation and chronic inflammation is the root of the worst health problems… primarily in your guts, cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Just like a fortune can be made by saving tiny amounts of money compounded over many years, so your health and vigor can be fortified by preventing little bits of daily stress.
If otherwise unchecked, these little bits accumulate to a mountain of crushing proportions in your old age.
We are only given one body to inhabit and if we are aware of it, we get early signals that some part is not functioning properly and taking damage from too much bad stress.
It usually begins as tenderness or ‘funny’ feeling, then graduates to a stiffness and swelling, eventually to a pain and agony if we ignore it.
As any good doctor knows, early prevention is countless times more effective than any method of trying to fix a problem after it has metastasized and the situation is critical.
But I don’t need a doctor to tell me that sitting rigidly in a chair and staring into a blue-light monitor all day is bad for my health.
Using a computer daily for business, writing and music has made computing easily the greatest health hazard in my life.
There was a time when I would get all wrapped up in a project and spin the clock around until I’d spent maybe 8-10 hours sitting that day… most of it in front of a screen.
There are now hundreds of studies showing the negative health effects of sitting for long periods of time. It is really deadly… and my body feels it.
Six months ago, I made drastic changes to my work habits, and never looked back. I am now legalistic about taking intermittent breaks, set with a timer, every hour. These breaks can be annoying when one is in the productivity zone, but on the bright side, regular breaks are refreshing and re-energizing… so leading to better long-term productivity.
Back & Posture
I am a big guy, 6’2 and change, 200lbs with a long torso. No matter how many sit-ups I do to build up my core, sitting at a desk-chair gives me a dull pain and stiffness in my lower back.
It got pretty bad at one point and I had to take a complete hiatus from computer work for several weeks.
The pain is relieved through yoga and physical therapy, but that is of course treating the symptom and not the source.
After a fair amount of research and experimentation, the following solutions seem to be the best. I am very happy with the following products:
This was a game-changer for me and the best thing that I have purchased in the last year. It sits sturdy on the surface of the desk that you are already using.
Standing all day may cause you a new set of problems (stiff legs etc.), so you are probably going to want to spring for the adjustable model so you can sit for part of the day. This model is not cheap, but it is built like a tank and has a very functional design that glides easily with little effort.
If you are going to be standing all day, with or without shoes, you aren’t going to want to do it on a hard floor.
You can stand on a folded yoga mat, thick rug or camping sleep-pad… I DIYed it that way for a while… but a proper compression mat will make the experience of a standing desk far more enjoyable, especially if you are a bigger guy. It’s like standing on a firm marshmallow.
As I said, you probably aren’t going to want to stand all day. The really nice office chairs that are fully adjustable run you upwards of $800. No thanks. I found this one that offers a great deal of firm support. I am very happy with it and for the price, you probably aren’t going to do any better.
I’ve had perfect vision my entire life and though I’ve not consulted with an optometrist, I am convinced that long-term screen staring causes a diminishing of one’s vision. Especially as it pertains to sharpness of colors and far-sightedness in the outside world.
The LED display you are looking at is an intense blue-spectrum light. You may notice that things look a little fuzzy outside after you’ve been staring at it for a while. You may notice your eyes feeling a bit ‘dim’.
An IT coder turned me on to these glasses and they make a huge difference in reducing eye fatigue… especially if you are working at night.
Lastly, you may experience a tightness in your wrists from typing and mouse clicking. This Microsoft keyboard is cheap and awesome. It fits the natural position that your hands reach at a keyboard.
Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome are no joke and are not something that you want to deal with when you are older.
All these things help a lot, but at the end of the day we have to accept that computer fatigue is just something all of us have to deal with. There is no way around it unless you move to the mountains and become a lumberjack.
Our reliance on computer technology and time spent at the computer is only going to increase over time.
There is no better medicine than taking regular breaks, getting outside, walking around, letting our eyes relax on the horizon-line or other far-away things.
And perhaps occasionally giving ourselves a full holiday from computers (and smartphones) for weeks at a time.
Disclaimer: There are various tools and products that I use regularly and enjoy sharing with you, a grand and noble audience. I only recommend products that have made my life better. By clicking links outbound to Amazon and other vendors, I may or may not receive a small commission through an affiliate program… at NO additional cost to you. This money primarily pays for site operation, marketing and upgrade expenses. I sincerely appreciate your readership.