For about a year now, I’ve had a little bookmark taped onto my desk with a supposedly helpful list of “101 Ways to Manage Stress.” Why I’ve kept it on my desk for so long is a mystery, because it seems the only time I ever really look at it is when I have time to read it, aka when I’m not stressed. Furthermore, I have some doubts as to its actual utility as a stress-reducer. The following are some suggestions it has been kind enough to share with me:

--Learn to say “no”

--Look at a magazine (apparently, you don’t have to read it—staring is enough).

--Believe in yourself (I enjoy this as an imperative. It seems if you are looking to a 2 x 7 piece of paper for help managing your life, you probably have some difficulty trusting in your own ability to ward off stress.)

--Watch a movie. (Soothing? Yes. But my guess would be that if you don’t have time to actually go to a therapy session and manage your stress, you probably don’t have time for 21 Jump Street.)

--Take a brisk walk. (Brisk, mind you.)

--Put your feet up. (With something underneath them, I assume.)

--Laugh at yourself. (But not too cruelly…)

--Walk away (But how will I read the other stress management tips???)

--Play with kids (dangerously close to the “Get a massage” tip).

--See problems as challenges. (Um… thanks?)

--Be faithful. (I don’t know. If you’re managing two exclusive relationships and still have time to read this list, you’re probably doing fine.)

--Don’t procrastinate. (Says the 101-item list I am reading instead of working.)

--Be flexible. (I’m going to assume they don’t mean this literally)

--Celebrate life (Ambiguous suggestions are usually the most helpful.)

--Plant a garden. (This one may be my favorite. I can just see the poor soul digging up the quad and laying down some fresh gardenias… while their bio homework remains untouched.)

--Get up earlier. (No, no, and no.)

--Punch a pillow. (Finally… something useful.)

--Go out to lunch. (Regardless of what time of day it is).

--Soak in the tub. (Or, if a tub is not available, a puddle.)

--Take off your clothes. (No comment necessary).

--Make someone smile. (By showing them this list.)

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