As my final year in school began, I found myself busier than ever. My stress levels were beating me up, daily.
As I worked toward finding a healthy balance in my life, I put together 10 coping thoughts that helped me. Perhaps they will also enable you to conquer the coming chaos, conflict and change you’ll soon face…
1. Every Once in Awhile, You Will Have a Bad Day
Just accept it. Right now. Seriously, they happen. Everything is going to go wrong, and you’re going to have the world’s shittiest day. This isn’t feel good advice. It’s just real.
Make peace with this idea. Next time you’re having a terrible day, try to be understanding and keep a sense of humor. Things happen. You might as well laugh at it.
2. Stay Focused in the Present
I’m not the first to write about this and I certainly won’t be the last. Train yourself to “be present”. We over-think the things that have happened in the past. We worry about events that may never happen in the future. Over-thinking leads to doubt and unnecessary stress.
Often, the anticipation of what will happen–or the perception of what has happened–is far worse than what actually has happened. Simply reflect on the past. Learn from it. Apply what you’ve learned in the present so that you may prevent it from happening again in the future. Easy does it.
3. Analyze Your Habits and be Willing to Change
It has been said that, “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.” (Sorry if I butchered that). In the world we live in, we’re surrounded by people looking for quick fixes. It’s either the most recent fad diet or get rich quick scheme.
The truth is, if you’re going to improve your life, you have to look inward. Be honest with yourself. Pay attention to your habits. And change the bad ones. Long-term goals are nothing but continual short-term repetition. Make them count.
4. Lower Your Expectations
Falling right in line with #3. Have realistic expectations. I see new people coming to the gym every day trying to impress their friends and the strangers around them. I’ve been there. I know you want to look strong. But you have to be patient. Lower your expectations and be cognizant of your current ability.
No, this doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short. Just be realistic and make reasonable goals and have realistic expectations of your current ability. Continual short-term repetition toward realistic goals and expectations, and you’ll impress yourself in no time.
5. Haters Gonna Hate
Just as a recent status of mine says below, “Sometimes people don’t like you…and that’s okay.” No, it doesn’t actually mean you have haters. Please, let’s not be that arrogant. But the sentiment is the same. You aren’t going to get along with everybody. The sooner you can accept this, the better off you’ll be.
6. Don’t Let Your Own Thoughts Cause Stress
The more students that Undergrad Success reaches, the more I’m asked by students, “What’s the single best piece of advice you can give me?” I usually tell them to stay out of their own heads. Think about all the conversations you have in your head that nobody ever hears. Do these ever go like you thought they would?
No, they don’t. So, stop creating angst and uneasiness. Over-thinking leads to stress. So, cut it out.
7. Learn to Say “No.”
This may not be as important to all of you, but it’s certainly at the top of my life. Sometimes, we just have to say “No.” There are only so many hours in the day and if saying “yes” in order to satisfy someone else’s expectations of you, you’ll eventually be doing yourself a real disservice. Be polite but firm in your decision to decline.
It’ll all be okay. And if it’s not, give #5 another read.
8. Be at Peace with Chaos
From an entertainment perspective, one of my favorite movie scenes is that of The Joker and Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. They’re in the hospital and Heath Ledger’s character brainwashes Dent so effortlessly. It’s actually a beautiful scene, in my opinion, but the foundation of the brainwashing is that chaos breeds fear.
In moments of chaos, try not to be fearful of what comes next. Most often, this chaos may just be miscommunication amongst classmates or friends. Be patient. Understand that we’re all humans and that we make mistakes. Focus on the communication lines that may be the cause of this chaos, and approach it rationally and logically.
9. Stop Worrying
Has this ever made anything better? I’d really like to stop there, but it feels like a cop out. I always tell my mom to stop worrying about me, and I always get the same response, “That’s my job, Samuel. I’m a mom. It’s what we do.” Like they have teams and support groups where they get together and worry.
Seriously, ladies and gents. Worrying gets you nowhere. If you’re truly nervous about something that hasn’t happened yet, worrying won’t make that anxiety go away. But taking action to prevent a situation will. Get started on that instead.
10. Speak Up for What You Want
Remember what Jasmine said back here? “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” And it’s true! The world isn’t filled with psychics, contrary to what all of the gypsies in Manhattan want you to think. Speak up. This doesn’t mean that you insist on getting everything you want and throwing a temper tantrum when you don’t get it. But until you voice your wants, you cannot expect another to look into their glass ball. Don’t be shy.
If you have additional thoughts on what has worked for you when handling chaos or change, please share with us below in the Comments section.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Undergrad Success!
About the Author: Community Director and Co-Founder of Undergrad Success, Samuel Hershberger is a budding serial entrepreneur and male fashionista. He splits his time between nerd activities like reading and writing about education, personal development, social dynamics and masculinity — and awesome activities like street photography, sipping coffee, and discovering new music. Samuel’s column runs each Thursday. For a daily kick in the butt and abundant sarcasm, follow him on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Deviantart.com. Thank you!