When it comes to medicine, psychiatry and mental health, the Greeks taught us many things. One doesn’t need to look too far to see a vast number of terms and words used to describe medical and mental conditions today, come from the Greek language. Psyche, psychotic, dyslexia, megalomania, hypochondria, hysteria, psychosis, anorexic to name but a few.
Yet one of the potent images of modern-day Greece is the use of worry beads or Komboli – as a stress buster or way to relax – a version of prevention is better than cure? Several large beads or many small ones held on a thread and swung back and forth over one’s hand often making a clicking sound. To be fair, it is used far more by an elder generation than young- but doing something with your hands often helps.
The key thing with stress – preventing your head being overloaded by using manual tasks such as gardening, ironing, ordering photos, and reorganising your desk, collecting rubbish from a beach, emptying and restacking dishwasher, taking rigorous exercise. I asked a leading psychiatrist once how did he cope while listening to so many sad or angry things from patents all day? He smiled and replied: ‘Every day, after leaving here at 5pm I drive to the nearby squash club and play six games. By the time I’ve had a shower, I’m ready to take on the world or have a nice evening.’
Whether you are a squash player or worry beads person…make sure you take some physical course of action!