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STRESS: IT MIGHT KILL YOU

“Crush, kill, destroy stress…

Pain stress / My brain can’t even rest / It’s hard to maintain the pressure on my chest ”-Organized KonfusionI wake up with the idea that somebody is trying to kill me frequently enough to worry me. In fact, the notion in itself is a coarse, raw form of tension that grinds away at soul. Truthfully, nobody is really out to kill me. But circumstances of the day constitute that some force is conspiring against me – stress.On my day off, I had mapped out a perfectly good day of rest, relaxation. This basically means no work. I don’t know what happened between my dusk and dawn, but I was struck with a terrible headache, which had to be just shy of a migraine. I writhed all night, popping over-the-counter pain killers and relocating to the cooler downstairs of my residence. By 8:00 am, a girl I was dating came over knocking on the door violently telling me where she wanted to go today. The day was shot before it began and I could feel some unseen force welling inside me. I just had to lay back down.Stress kills more often than it is killed (sorry Organized Konfusion). For this reason, and after much research, I offer a prescription for Generation Hip-Hop to relieve stress. We are the builders of a new nation and the ushers of innovation unseen in the history of humankind. And, while our ancestors had far more dire conditions, we grapple with a different sort of stress. BREATHThe term breath has appeared in rap songs from celebrities from Q-Tip to Fabolous, but as far as good health is concerned, breathing is essential. Specifically, deep breaths, that actually slow down the heart rate and cause your body to relax. According to a recent study, stress and depression are the chief causes of disability and leave in the workplace. I can’t even consider a leave or I can consider myself professionally expired. The same applies to most of us in this era, where were are on a short lease by wireless technology, held to longer work hours, more demanding positions, chained to a computer or even working a double shift on fries. BREATHE. Take time to breath. If you feel like me – like there is an environmental conspiracy to take your life – find a way to get a quiet moment to breathe in, breath out. Breathe deep the same way philosopher KRS-One thinks – very deeply. Breathing calms you down and lengthens the life of your heart muscle. AGEI’ll never forget meeting a certain rapper from the nineties. I met him at a convention and was hype. Being the novice that I was, I asked him his age. According to his word, he was merely 26. In hindsight, he could have been lying, but he also could have just had a very stressful life coming out of East New York. Stress prematurely ages you if you let it. There are times when I look into the mirror the wrong way and I’m like, “Damn, I look tired and old.” It is a medical fact that stress not only wears down the immune system, but breaks down the “covers” of your chromosomes. Properly stressed over a period of time, you can look nearly 20 years older than you really are. That rapper clocked in at least 13 years older than he claimed. (Ironically, he looks about the same as he did during that period. Guess, what? His rap career has expired too. Less stress!) SLEEP, FOOL!This is probably the worst for me and likely the worst for many of you: lack of sustained sleep. As you know from my use of the typo in the rumors, I’m up at insane hours of the night, all in the name of some stupid rumors. Lack of sleep augments preexisting stress and fosters a myriad of other ailments as well. This includes chemical imbalances, fatigue and increased heart disease. When that girl came to my spot at 8:30 am? The shock caused me to feel as if I was under cardiac arrest for a moment and ultimately I only got about three hours sleep that day.EXERCISEWhen stress strikes hard, I typically tend to sleep. Wrong response! Studies show that our best bet is to get up and work out. So, as long as I am well rested, I try to get in at least 30 minutes of good cardio per day. I’ve also learned to vary my workouts from jumping rope, treadmill, basketball, and other events that relax the mind and charge the body. Furthermore, exercise strengthens and protects the heart, which we know weakens as stress takes over.EAT YOUR VEGGIESIt might not be gangsta, but what you eat will influence how you react to tension. Eat your veggies, kiddies, and you also eat valuable antioxidants that ward off toxic, inflammatory chemicals released when we are stressed out. I know Hip-Hop likes beef, but lets embrace the leafy, green and garden variety of food. Chea!THIS IS MY FAVORITEMake a career out of something you love doing. If you are a rapper, you probably have a high level of stress with sales being down. The good thing, you are (hopefully) doing something you love to do, even though you are likely wack. In their day-to-day jobs, people are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning, studies show. So, if you are a nice guy collecting money from cash-strapped citizens, you might have a very high level of stress since that is a ruthless field. I worked in corporate America for a number of years and after the thrill of a good salary wore off and the fake smiles became scowls, I just quit. Now, I write, which is a passion. (There was more money in corporate America, by the way.) If I get stressed out, I deal with it better, because I love what I do.STRESS CANNOT BE KILLEDSorry again Organized Konfusion, but it is literally impossible to crush, kill or destroy stress. According to a number of studies, the act of waking up is a naturally stressful activity and a high percentage of heart attacks and strokes occur before the so-called “real stress” of work even starts, according to Harvard Medical School. Stress is going to walk with you like Jesus walks with Kanye,  from your body’s natural response to waking up to your boss paging you on a Saturday. I personally have hopes to domesticate stress until it keeps me on my toes without breaking me down like it has done in the past. So, take a break, piss your boss off and turn off the wireless device, read a book like Talib, go on vacation like Jay-Z and Beyonce, get a massage by somebody that looks like Gloria Velez or think outside of the box like Andy Warhol. Don’t stay in, get out. Don’t pig out, work out. Don’t isolate yourself, hang out with close friends or you could do like I did.. I ended my relationship with that girl on that day too…right after I woke up. Trust me that was a dramatic reduction in stress and inspired me to do something I love. Pen this article.

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