It’s no secret that life can be hard sometimes. Whether it’s dealing with work-related stress, school stress, or just life stress in general, it can be easy for the mounting load of pressure to feel very heavy at times.
Everyone is always fighting a different battle – something that stresses you out might not even cross someone else’s mind, and vis versa. That being said, I’m a person who over-worries and over-stresses consistently, so there are a few tactics I need to use every once in a while to make sure the “bad” doesn’t overshadow the good.
I count the blessings I have
It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and feel depressed, or to look at your current situation and feel depressed. Maybe your new job isn’t panning out the way you’d hoped, or maybe you’ve been overwhelmed with personal events that are happening in your life.
It’s easy to sink into the trap of feeling like “everything is shit,” because I have definitely done that before, and I still do that to this day. These are the times when it’s important to take a step back and count your blessings. Those can be:
- Having a supportive family – because even if you don’t have as many friends as you’d like, you have a huge family who’s always there for you
- Having a supportive friend group – because if you’re not as close with your family, at least you have a reliable friend group
- Having a job – because even if it sucks sometimes, at least you have an income … some people don’t
This list can consist of anything you have in your life that makes it bearable during the bad days. When I feel down, I make sure to acknowledge the things that I have in my life that are invaluable.
I remember that I’m only human
I’m a perfectionist. I beat myself up when I don’t think I’ve done well enough. I feel horrible when I think I’ve disappointed someone – the list goes on. It’s easy to be very hard on ourselves. It’s even easier to put ourselves down. When I find myself in a rut like this, I have to remind myself that I’m only human. I can’t do everything perfectly, and I can’t please everyone either – and neither can you. Find peace in knowing that you’re doing your best, and that’s all any of us can really do.
I stop and take time to breathe
This is probably not something you’ve ever thought of (unless maybe you’re into yoga or something like that), but breathing is super important. If you suffer from panic attacks, and you can tell when one is about to come on, breathing can actually help prevent it from happening.
Here’s what you can do:
- Inhale through your nose, four quick breathes
- Hold for four beats
- Exhale through your nose, four quick breathes
- Hold for four beats, and then start again
This truly helps to bring you from a level of anxiety/stress/sadness into a calmer, more relaxed state. I find that taking the time to do this when I feel overwhelmed helps bring me back to a more positive state of mind. There are also a number of other breathing exercises you can try out as well! Find one that works for you and test it out.
I tell myself “nothing lasts forever”
This is an important tactic that helped me a lot throughout university. Whenever I was in the midst of a super stressful semester that seemed impossible to tackle or overcome, I would remind myself that nothing lasts forever, because it’s true. Any situation you’re in right now is simply a transition to your next chapter. If you’re in a bad place right now, believe that you will be in a better place soon.
I talk it out
I’ve learned this year, more than ever, that you should not bottle what you’re feeling up. Find someone you trust, and let your feelings out! You’re not annoying or a burden, you’re just human, and it’s healthy to share what you are feeling. Maybe it’s with a friend, a trusted colleague or even a therapist, but talking about what you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing no matter how “silly” you think it might be” is essential to helping you feel better.
Talking things out with another person also helps give you perspective, because the person you are sharing with will probably have a different, helpful angle to share with you that you might not have thought of before.
What are some ways that you stay positive?