An Efficient Japanese Way to Deal With Stress

I’m not gonna lie; it’s been a rough couple of weeks.

I like to think I’m not one to complain, but things have been piling up. Sad stuff, busy stuff, annoying stuff. A high workload. Snapping at everyone (my poor husband especially). Then today when my student was an hour late for her lesson, I was almost pushed over the edge.

Returning home and thinking of the several thousand words I still had to write to meet today’s quota, I stopped. I just couldn’t face it, not yet.

So I went to karaoke.

Work could wait. I needed to sing. To let out all my anger and frustrations and just scream and yell to some awesome music.

Thing is, in the west, singing karaoke often involves getting together with friends or waiting for karaoke night at the local pub. Over here, there are small rooms where you can go alone or with friends. Food and drink is available and you can stay for as long as you like.

It’s quite normal to see people going alone, often in the daytime. It’s a good way to pass the time… or get over a bad mood.

Going alone is great because you don’t have to worry about hogging it or choosing songs others won’t like. You can sing as loudly and badly as you want. I went there and belted my heart out for an hour.

And I felt loads better.

If you’re ever stressed in Japan, karaoke is a fantastic way to let out your frustrations! And if you visit in the daytime on a weekday, it’s super cheap, too.

Be sure to give it a try, whether it’s therapeutic or just for fun!

How Reading Can Help With Anxiety

When I was a child, I had anxiety pretty badly. I’m the type of person who worries about absolutely everything, and even as a little girl I always worried about things that could happen, or might happen, and what to do if they happened.

In Year 3, we were shown a video about fire safety. After that, for months (or maybe it was years), I’d wake up in the middle of the night, smelling and seeing imaginary smoke, and had to check the entire house for fire before I could go back to sleep.

Even now, I get night terrors.

top-1145474_1280

I used to get stomach pains, too, and eventually, my mother took me to the hospital to see if there was something wrong physically. Whenever I had a panic attack, sometimes coupled with hallucinations, she and Clarky, her best friend, would say to me in this sing-song way, “dooooooon’t panic.” Anxiety, or whatever it was, was never considered or diagnosed, so I never took any medication for it.

I’ve no idea if I have anxiety now, but I still worry about e v e r y t h i n g.

I also read a lot as a kid. I was extremely shy, so I didn’t go to friends’ houses that much, instead mostly playing video games and watching TV with my brother or reading. I read a lot of books as a kid (though looking back, I wish I’d read more). Now, I try to read as much as I can, purchasing paperbacks and hardbacks rather than ebooks. Now the stress of adult life can get to all of us, and I find the only thing that keeps it at bay is reading.

girl-672267_1280

It takes around an hour to get to work by train, and I often take a book to read during the commute. Getting into a good story helps push the worries of work, money, and health to the background. Video games and movies can’t do this as easily because they don’t require as much concentration, and it’s easy for your mind to wander. But few things make me happier than finding a great story to read on the train.

Even when I arrive at my station and I have to put the book away, I’m still thinking about the story, what’ll happen next, and enjoying the afterglow of reading in general. It makes my own worries feel smaller, reminding me that there’s a world out there beyond my own worry bubble.

If you or someone you know has anxiety, encourage them to read! In a generation of smartphones, Netflix, and social media, it’s not easy to crack open a book. But I can promise that diving into a novel you love will help, even if it’s just a little bit.