Stress: stress is stressful. That’s a given. However, have you ever thought about the converse, a life with limited stress or even no stress? The absence of stress sounds great, but is it really what it is jazzed up to be?

It seems unfathomable that the absence of stress could actually create stress. The only problem with saying that is that saying so would be contradictory.  You can’t have stress in a stress-free world. Having stress in a stress-free world is like a presidential candidate having sense, respect or a strong moral foundation. I’ve devised a system that helps clarify what seems to be a convoluted mumbo jumbo thus far.

Let’s say that there is this world. Let’s say that there is someone living in this world who has minimal stress. They have obligations that are due in a few weeks time. They could finish these obligations if they wanted to, but they decide to do something else. But there is nothing else to do. This person thinks of what they can do besides their obligations. The indecision coupled with the abundance of choices brings on the stress. How does this happen?

The absence, or rather the limitation, of stress is not what causes stress in most cases. Not having stress means that you have more options, more opportunities. If you have an assignment due tomorrow, at some point you have to finish that assignment. If you don’t have a homework assignment due tomorrow, you have some choices to make. Should I go to the park? Should I watch “Mulan”? Should I play Scrabble? Should I play Scrabble while watching “Mulan” in a park? You see what’s happening? Look at all the choices that you have.

One might say: “I’m stressed because I don’t have anything stressing me out.” This is clearly wrong. You’re not stressed because of the absence of stress. You’re stressed because of all the possibilities that are usually trivial and unproductive. Following this logic, one might insinuate that the more “possibilities” you have, the more stress you have. This is a fallacy. The more meaningless possibilities you have, the more stress you may have. This is true for most people, I would say. Now, what can be said for those who have a lot of stress?

This is quite an obvious one, so I won’t dwell too much on this point. This differs with the previous point I made. If someone with limited stress is actually stressed not from the amount of stress, but rather for the lack of productive opportunities, that means that someone who is very stressed is stressed because of their lack of unproductive opportunities. It’s interesting how someone who is stressed yearns for opportunities to be unproductive while those who are not-stressed wish to be productive.

Now, you may be asking yourself at this point, “What is going on?”, “What is so funny about this?”, “Why do I feel stressed out all of a sudden?”, “Why is he asking me all of these personal questions?” and “How does he know what I’m thinking?”

I’ve been talking about how stressful both stress and limited stress can be. It may seem impossible to find any humor associated with this topic. Allow me to humor you with some examples where stress can, in fact, be funny.

Look at your classes for example. Forgetting homework, missing your class because you had to take a test which you know you failed, failing a test without a curve and having three projects and three tests in one week are all examples of stress that are hilarious.

Another example could be your social life. Not talking to people for days on end because you have three tests and three projects in a week, eating Cup Noodles by yourself while watching Netflix and banging your head against the wall because you just realized that the only reason you didn’t get the “Webwork Green” was a simple arithmetic error are other examples where stress is worth at least a chuckle.

Is there any way to just forget about all the stress, or at least achieve a happy medium? I would say that it is possibly impossible; or, in other words, it’s impossibly possible. We can’t know for sure. Even if we don’t know, why would you stress over it?

Chiodo is a member of the class of 2017.

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