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I Forge Iron

How do you deal with stress?

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Pounding hot iron is more helpful than a session with a shrink (psychiatrist). While your forging, the world does not exist (grin), and neither do the days problems. But at some point you have to return to reality.

As the cost of gasoline, groceries, and everything else (except your take home pay) keeps going up in price, and the clients want more for less, and they want it day BEFORE yesterday, how do you deal with the stress (and drama) of todays world?

Caution: This thread contains religious material and references in some of the posts.


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I quit worrying - seriously, I have fought the IRS, had a business fail and went broke, had relatives die suddenly, etc. The piddley day to day stuff doesn't mean much anymore. I enjoy every day and try to laugh or make someone else do the same so I hope people will smile when they see me. Other than worshipping the Lord, my relationship with my wife and children are most important - the rest just pales...

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Over the past few years I've learned a lot about the effects of stress and about myself.
But first, I must explain.

Three years ago,I had a cardiac triple by-pass surgery. Serious stuff! With the year of rehab that followed the surgery,I had plenty of time to read, think, and reevaluate my place in the world. (By the way, my doctors tell me I'm good for several more years).

But the point I'm trying to get to is this.
In my case, the day to day stress of trying to make a living in a depressed farm economy nearly killed me. Stress brought on the high blood pressure,heart attack, and ultimately,....open heart surgery!

Well after all that,my world view had to change. I know this is going to sound strange, but I believe that 'how you look at things affects how they really are.'
This is not 'new age mysticism, but rather 'is the cup half empty or half full?

When I was farming full time and struggling to keep my economic head above water, that was "real".

But when the doctors told me I had a couple years to live if I didn't have the surgery, that was even more"REAL"!

I knew this was gonna be a bear to explain!

So,I learned to relax. I learned to do things you're not supposed to do in a modern capitalistic society........like taking the grandson fishing.....even when there's so-called 'important' work that needs to be done.
Or driving down a street or a country road......just because you've never been there before........on a day when you're supposed to be busy.

Or......hammering on a piece of hot iron....just to see what comes of it....for the FUN! of it!

I know, it sounds a little crazy...........

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Stress relief? Well things can pile up if you let it. Dealing with it head on is the best medicine, suck it up and get it over with. That works for the day to day stuff that crops up which just comes with the scenery. THEN I'll go hammer some iron with a clear conscience, o.k. and maybe a few unnesesary wails at the stock...
Now and then when some bonehead is giving me a hard time, i.e., trying to make his problem my problem, boss etc. I am reminded of my earliest days in the service. In bootcamp at Parris Island my Senior Drill Instructor's name was Staff Sergeant Nucholls (pronounced "Knuckles") He got his point across.
Never did you want to find yourself alone with him. A time or two, I did, and he did. So whenever I find some illustrious sort trying to blow smoke up my backside it just pales in comparison and rolls right off my back.
People have asked me what it is like to be in the service and I never felt I could relate in terms they could understand. Then once years later I met another Marine who told me something that really summed it all up which still probably can't be fully grasped by civilians- " The ONE thing the Marine corps really teaches you is how to eat a river of xxxx and smile".
Another view to put this point across came from the church.
"Turning the other cheek" does NOT mean turning tail.
What is meant by turning the other cheek is when he was confronted by authorities (roman) and publicly slapped in the face, he took it like a man and turned his head, offering the other cheek to like treatment, showing that he could take whatever was dished out. Confronting, not running.
If you confront your stress you will beat it. If you let it go it will beat you.:cool:Dan

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I used to let EVERYTHING get to me , bring it home & be like a Bear with a sore head . Then 1 day my wife had an accident at work , long story cut short 14 back operations later , a brain tumor that surgens are still figgurin' out what to do & a heap of other " related medical problems " don't give me much time to think of " other " stuff .

I worry more then stress . I worry is my wife ok at home all by herself . I worry when she don't sleep . I worry that my son ( 17 ) hasn't had the life he shoulda cos he's been looking after my wife ( before , during & after school ) while i was out tryin' to keep a roof over our heads . I worry am i gonna come home 1 nite & find the pain & depression has been too much & she took all the pill in the tool box we use as a medicine tin .

I used to play golf , tryin' to beat the white cover off the ball helped relieve the stress , but not my game .
Now it's blacksmithing & wood working
I found the best thing of all is to keep your mind busy with things YOU like to do .
Sure i get " stressed " every 1 does from time to time . The thing is how YOU let it effect YOU & those around YOU .

Dale Russell

P.S ... A BEER or 10 helps too ... :)

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Prayer works. This is something personal to me. Those of you that I have met personally may perhaps find this strange to hear from me. Faith works. I still have issues and of course everyone does. Yes I do get wound up. Actually, this place helps somewhat too ( thank you Glenn ). Dale, mate, we have typed for several years and my prayers go out to you and your family as always. Jayco, your way too and as well for all. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all. PS. :) After reading the 2 posts after this I will add a couple of things. I am off until Wednesday. Back when I made money and worked 80 hours at least in the grocery biz I had more stress yes. I also did about an 8 year gig as an EMT ( first responder and also ambulance crew at the local hospital ). Depending on the issue you are right, yes most stress is indeed self imposed. There are times however when life ( yours) will throw things at you. Kinda like a falling knife. Just get your foot out of the way. Our service members overseas have an immense amount of stress as do their families here at home. Some here have ptsd. I am not a combat veteran but I am a VET. My expereinces with ugly stuff was not in a combat environment. I have been to CISD de-breifings and I have seen what I have seen. I have been lectured by young doctors about dealing with stress and the need for time off. I have replied to one that I seem to recall seeing him in the same ER that we were standing in several times this week. Living with a pager ( FIRE/ EMS fill in the blank) is a very rewarding thing to do. This was years ago. As in the first of this post, I have my ways. Sometimes yes, forging is GREAT. Sometimes just facing a few hundred welds and knowing that I have them to do is great. Sometimes Johnny Cash and some grandkids is magic. Stress will indeed wrap you up like a basket handle. Your choice ( normally ) how long to stay in the fire. Nice to have friends.

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STRESS WILL KILL YOU....I agree with Gerald, stress is self-imposed.If I can fix or change a situation for the better I do, If I can't there is no need worrying about it.In my mind, what the future holds is not up to me. The All Mighty will have his way whether it suits me or not. As for what needs to be done, I figure it will be there tomorrow, if tomorrow does not come, then it didn't matter anyway....just my 2 cents worth.

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Glenn, I am glad that you have brought this up because everyone gets stressed at one point or another. Hence my signature that I have had forever and a day! :) I agree that it's not WHAT stress or even how MUCH stress you get, it's how you DEAL with it. And like gerald said, it's mind over matter; " If you don't mind, it don't matter". I, personally, do as HW does. I just stopped caring about the everyday "xxxx" that you are forced to put up with. I live my life one day at a time and go with the flow. What happens will happen beyond your control, so why worry about it? You never know what life will bring you, weather it be good or bad, so why get so excited and start planning ahead and have the chance of failure to disappoint you? Now, I am not saying I don't try and plan or even make dreams that I would love to have because I do believe in the saying that "You can accomplish ANYTHING if you put your mind and effort into it" as well. I am just saying that I learned to live with disappointment and I never let it bother me anymore. Take what life throws at you (good OR bad) and take it like a man and turn it into something spectacular. Make the most of it and be happy with the simple things that we all "NEED", not the stupid things that we all "WANT". That, and the love of your family is all you need. As for Jayco, I am glad to hear you are doing well and that the help of modern medical technologies has kept you around for a million years more. :) And for Dale Russell, I am sorry to hear about your wife, you and your family have my deepest sympathies. I hope all works out for the best for your whole family.

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I can relate to alot of the stories told....I do not want to bother you with the details ... I will say that Blacksmithing, the people who I have met and learned from all have been one of the best experiences I have ever had and am having...the relationships I "forge" in this trade I hope never end...
I will admit as much as a stress reliver the trade is it does create a stress in me about doing it right and getting it done

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I have had my bouts with clinical depression and stress and i still do occasionally.
one thing a pshychiatrist told me and makes a lot of sense was
your stress account only has so much in it and if you keep using it up on a daily basis
you will shorten your life dramatically .
we can control how much stress we spend out of our accounts.
here is one way i learned , don't expect others to act or do like you think they should
because they won't .
One of my main credos is DO NOT PERSONALIZE someone elses behavior .
it is between you and god and thats all , no matter what someone else thinks .
by no means have i conquered stress but i do try to employ some tools i have learned over the years.

here is one that i think of occasionally " thank god for dirty dishes"
figure it out

here is one of the things that stresses me out i can't seem to conquer
by the time i get home from work i am dead tired and the house always needs some sort of paint job or repair or my adult female children always have some drama going on
my wife always has her own set of circumstances which leaves me very little time to
enjoy my hobbies .
like blacksmithing , harley riding , and reading or whatever else i feel like doing .
perhaps it is just a time management equation

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Stress is definately SELF imposed. We take parts of scripture that we like and the parts not quite as easy or we don't quite believe and throw them out and run with the ones we like. "my Yoke is easy and my burden is light". What does that mean? Does he mean it or not? It is true weather we believe it or not. That is why when we are stressed it is SELF imposed. God is there to carry our burdens and stress, He is just waiting for us to believe what he says and give up.

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This seems to be a popular subject.

I doubt if I can tell you anything wise. Some have said that attitude is importand, and you know it is, because two men in nearly the same circumstances will be under way different levels of stress.

I believe that the amount of control that a man tries to excersize on outcomes can be a large factor in stress. Promising to have something done tomorrow is way different than promising to do your part, plus look for every opportunity to further the cause. Be aware of what deals you're making, what's a resonable expectation for you, what's actually expected from you, ect. [[ Man this sounds deep, I better shut up already. ]]

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