The One about Calming your Nerves and Reducing Stress with LEGO

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For years, many people have asked me of what coping mechanisms I use to stay calm, reduce stress and deal with frustration.

From having a communications business, running multiple websites to working in various high-stress jobs, I have tried to find things that would calm my nerves.

Many people have watched films, played video games, read books or try to find ways to divert stress and to calm down and I’ve tried each of these and while they do work to a point, I think that if there was one that has really helped me, it was actually LEGO building.

Other well known people have discovered LEGO to help calm down and reduce stress as well. From professional soccer player and model, David Beckham; Top Gear’s Richard Hammond; actor Brad Pitt, to name a few.

I found it the most effective because not only is it enjoyable, constructive but often it can require attentiveness and organization that it can be more involving than other forms of entertainment.  Sometimes those other forms can lead you back to being stressed, especially if there is some sort of scene that triggers a negative thought or video games, which ended up making me want to play more and lose sleep.

With LEGO’s, for myself, I found no negative trigger (unless you are highly disorganized and lose pieces or can’t follow instructions), as for me, I found it it to calms my nerves, reduce stress and take your mind off frustrations and helps eases you to a state of calm, especially if you do it right before bed.

And I think by me writing about this, it may shock some people who know me and think this is some sort of secret passion that I have.  It’s not a secret passion, it’s just something that doesn’t come up in a regular conversation especially compared to sports, news, politics, technology, entertainment, fashion, etc.

But if it does come up, then I’m gladly willing to talk about it.

As some look at LEGO’s as a child’s toy, it’s really not.  LEGO makes many types of sets for people of all ages.  Especially advance sets which are a bit more expensive and take quite a bit of time to put together.

But really, I purchase things that catch my eye and if your gut instinct is that you enjoy what you see, then more than likely you will enjoy building it.  And personally, I found building LEGO sets to be therapeutic and really, a fantastic stress reliever.

Here is my advice which I hope helps someone out there, who have been curious to purchasing LEGO’s as a stress reliever:

  • Have good adequate lighting
  • Buy a few small bins for pieces, especially for extra pieces as they will come up handy.  Especially if you are finished for the day and want to put away the pieces, get a bin, don’t throw things in the box where you can lose pieces.  Also, after I build something, more than likely, there is no room for me to store it.  I keep LEGO minifgures in a figures bin and if I disassemble things, I do it by color.  I buy small bins with drawers to separate pieces by color and the more you get into it building LEGO sets, these extra pieces can come handy.  And later on, you’ll have an elaborate system in place for organization.
  • Know that if you miss any piece or are missing multiple pieces, LEGO will send you missing pieces for free.
  • Organize pieces: I first separate pieces by color and by size before I start working.  Otherwise, you may get frustrated of finding a piece among hundreds of other pieces.  Alleviate the frustration by becoming organized.
  • I purchase white boards at places like Michael’s, so the LEGO pieces don’t get lost on carpet or my dark table. I organize the pieces on a white board.
  • Take your time:  Take your time building things and don’t force yourself if you are tired or if your eyes are tired.
  • Try to build LEGO sets in an area where pieces can’t fly or go under (ie. under a fridge, under cabinets, etc.).
  • Always look for LEGO sales online, may it be the LEGO Shop store, Target cartwheel, clearances, etc.
  • Be realistic about your work schedule and time.  If you have time to work on something complicated, then go for it.  If you don’t, start with smaller sets.
  • Try to avoid making the kitchen table as your work area, if other people are going to eat and place things on the table and move your sets around.
  • Know that unlike other toys that lose value, LEGO sets have a great resale value. So, if you are looking to get rid of them, there are more than enough buyers who are willing to buy your set.  But if you plan to do this, at least keep the original box, instructions and making sure no pieces are missing.
  • If you want something more advanced, look for LEGO Creator sets.  These are not sold at your local department stores and while they are expensive, these never go down in price.  By purchasing on LEGO shop, you get points by becoming a VIP member (which is free) and it helps bring down the price when you utilize the points.  And also be aware that LEGO offers 2X Points on certain days, so subscribe to the mailing list.
  • If you are into architecture, check out the LEGO architecture sets.  They are smaller pieces but may be worth your time.  Also, support LEGO Ideas sets, which are sets created by people and submitted to LEGO.  People have voted for them to be released as sets and LEGO went ahead and made their own versions of those sets.
  • Last, there are other interconnecting blocks that are not LEGO, do yourself a favor and stay with LEGO products.  LEGO is great with customer support, their sets feature better instructions and their products are of better quality.

And last and not least, think about LEGO as for enjoyment and not some investment.  Sure, there are many news reports of people who purchased expensive sets (like the older “Star Wars: Death Star” or “Star Wars: Millennium Falcon” or hard-to-find convention exclusives) and have made thousands and while many are jumping on the bandwagon of trying to make a profit, if you are in it for calming your nerves and alleviating stress, look at building LEGO as a way to get away from reality for an hour or more and to become creative and focused on something else for the time being.

LEGO is a great escape but when you start thinking of it as a business, then it becomes work or a business.

So, alleviate that stress, calm your nerves by giving a LEGO a chance and you may find it to be rewarding.


 

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Dennis A. Amith