When I sat down to write this week’s blog post, I wasn’t exactly sure of the direction I wanted to take. For the last two weeks I’ve discussed the mechanics of building a LinkedIn profile as a student. I even jumped in last Tuesday to discuss productivity and happiness. It’s been awhile since I got real with you all.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with some turmoil in my life. As my final semester in school draws to a close, I’ve found myself busier than ever. I literally cannot think of another time in my life that I’ve had so much going on. My stress levels are threatening to reach new heights. In order to manage, I’ve been meditating more than ever. Seeing as many of you (along with the rest of the American population) don’t meditate—though you absolutely should!—I’ve put together a list of the 10 most important ideas and concepts you must understand to keep a healthy balance in your life.
It’s more important than ever to stay levelheaded and emotionally stable in times of distress. I’ve written before that we may control our thoughts, but I didn’t expand on it much. Much of this control lies in the idea that we can preempt our emotions by preparing for situations before they happen. These 10 ideas and concepts focus on being proactive in your approach to stressful times and situations so that navigating these situations may be the least of your concern as they actually occur.
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 advice. Make peace with this idea. So, 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 them
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 be impressing yourself in no time…well some time. That’s the opposite point I’m trying to make 😉
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 being asked by students, “What single best piece of advice you can give me?” This is nearly impossible to answer. But 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 (God, I miss your acting) character brainwashes Dent so effortlessly. It’s actually a beautiful scene, in my opinion, but the foundation of the brainwashing is that chaos breads 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 causing 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. Kidding, love you mom. But 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.
I’ve covered a lot today. Thanks for sticking with me ’til the end. If you have any thoughts or comments on what has worked with you, be sure to share with below or hit me up in the Twittersphere.