How to Go From :-( to :-) in Two Minutes
Updated: Jul 2, 2018
Stress heads: we're everywhere. We're even people you wouldn't expect. Though, of course, everyone would suspect me. I can't even ring up Dominoes without an abject sense of fear. But, even the most level-headed people can become stress heads, given the right circumstances. Being one myself, let me tell you all the things that have worked for me in my many, many trying times. Lost your car keys? Fretting over a work confrontation? Got an oral presentation tomorrow morning? Sick of your roommate eating your cereal? You need these tips (believe me, I have).
Smile Like the Cheshire Cat
That's right. Do the biggest grin you can do, even if you're bright red, steaming like a bull, or on the verge of a mental breakdown. You're gonna look pretty darn satanic while you do this (so perhaps do it in private so not to risk scaring any friends or family), but it'll be worth it. Smiling can actually help to release certain hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which help to lower stress and upscale your mood. Give it a try for 30 seconds and see how you go. Though, let me be straight-forward, if this advice comes from a passing stranger, then it does not merit an attempt to smile but a deeper and most hideous scowl instead. Smile on your own terms.
Make a List of What You're Worried About
Things are made so much worse by keeping it all in your head or by, perhaps, the advice given by well-meaning friends. If talking it out hasn't worked, make a list of what's got your mind feeling more like a exploding mine field. Writing it down can give you a sense of clarity and order of what needs to be done.
Try to Remember Things Can Go Both Ways
This presentation is going to humiliate me and make me look stupid VS. This presentation is going to be a chance for me to develop my public speaking skills and/or will show how hard I worked.
This day is going to be awful VS. Who knows what could happen?
I'm going to flunk this job interview VS. I'm going to have the chance to broaden my network and/or get my dream job.
Sometimes things work out a lot better if we treat challenges with positivity and hopefulness. If it's a turn for the worst, it'll happen when it happens and be over in two seconds — but we shouldn't fret about these things until they are currently happening. How many times have your negative future predictions been wrong?
Regain Your Control
My favourite thing to say when I'm having a hard time: I QUIT! Though, not out loud, but it's fun to say to my boyfriend when I get home —and then proceed to go on a cockatoo-like rampage. It can apply to anything. Your job, your studies, your gym relationship, your salad. Though you may not necessarily opt for the quitting path, it's good to remind yourself that you literally can just "opt" out. Centrelink/your savings will welcome you with open arms. You can always switch courses. That burger will be waiting for you down the street at Maccas'. Just remember to evaluate your situation and think if what you're struggling through is worth it. Is the outcome better than the loss? If not, drop that sucker like a hot pancake.
Don't run away from your problems, but do actually try running on its own. This is something more to do at the gym, but it can just take one or two minutes, and it absolutely will clear your head. If I'm all up in my head, I'll hop on the treadmill and run at the top speed I can. It works. My legs won't anymore, but it works on your stress.
Talk It Out With Someone You Trust
Not to the friend who's also a stress head like you. Not to the well-meaning parent that will freak you out even more. Not the person you're about to confront. And probably not with your boss (unless you guys are just that tight). If you've got someone in your life that makes things feel less complicated or just knows a bit more about what you're worrying about than you do, then talk it out with them. Things untangle themselves when you have someone to share it with.