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Maybe You Got Stress Relief Wrong

I happened to overhear "experts" talking in TV about the need of yoga and music for stress relief. So they think brain is in fire when you're working. They think listening to music involves no stress. Really? There is stress in engineering, but there's relief and joy too. There's joy in music, but there's stress too; even if you're just listening.

For me, the idea of work causing stress and entertainment providing relief is incorrect. There is stress in any constructive task and its success is the only real relief. If you are a passionate programmer, you'll be troubled by a bug in your program, and there is nothing relieving than being able to find it and fix it. If you are a passionate composer, you'll have to spend stressful hours getting your melody, harmony, ornaments and orchestration right. There's nothing relieving than having it done.

Now the entertainment part. Engineers and other non-artists don't listen to music just for stress relief. Any form of art and entertainment has stressful moments in it (think of a thriller). Some high-class art and literature will leave us with questions and cliffhangers while the pop ones will provide the relief by themselves (think of happy-ending thrillers and roller coaster rides). It's because of this guaranteed relief people resort to pop art, literature and entertainment for relieving from the stress caused by their work. But those who get relief from their work itself might be able to enjoy non-relieving art and even perform stressful processing or analysis of relieving pop art (from figuring out the notes of a melody to finding the layers of meanings in a movie).

All said, getting stress and relief from different sources might be a genuine requirement for some people. Those who are unable to pursue their passion due to external factors like war and pandemic. I feel sorry for them. Each of us should contribute to building a society where people get relief from their own work. I'm not saying we don't need art and entertainment. On the contrary, I'm saying that we should be able to enjoy more dimensions of art and entertainment and it'll be possible only if we get relief from our work itself.


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