Stress sucks. A profound insight, I know. But in all seriousness, what's worse than that feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won't leave? You can't put your finger on it, but there's this lurking dread flickering in the back of your head, a piercing voice whining that just won't shut the hell up, something keeping you awake when all you want to do is fall asleep. That's what I call anxiety, and like I said before, it sucks.
Luckily, we live in the ultra-glamorous 2016 and solutions are everywhere. There's this trend recently with adult coloring books. Honestly, definitely not for me, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Taking time out of your day to do something that relaxes you is worthwhile. Clearing your head can make a world of difference, isn't that the whole point behind meditation? If meditation leads to a calm, stable mindset, I'm all in. Sadly, I am not a devout Buddhist, but I do have an understanding of what calms me down: my own "modern meditation," if you will. I may not have cured myself of anxiety, but I've definitely come close to finding my Zen by making these three major changes to my life.
1) Get your shit together.
My inner-peace has become finishing my work for the night in a clean apartment knowing my laundry and dishes are done. Low-key, I'm a control freak. Still, there's a lot of merit to knowing your shit and getting it done. If you're aware of an impending deadline and have confidence in your abilities to do the task well, you probably won't stress over it. So, plan ahead: Know what you have coming up, give yourself enough time to prepare, and, as Nike's marketing team has engrained within us all, just do it. There are always going to be unexpected challenges; it's a stressful fact of life. Do your best, focus on what you can control, and it'll make everything else infinitely more manageable.
2) Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Step back for a second. You're doing fine. You're breathing, you've got people who love you, things that make you happy, dreams you're working toward, and a roof over your head. If not, you can change that whenever you want: it's in your hands. America, am I right? One of the most relaxing things I know is that I have autonomy over where I'm going, who I'm with, and the choices I make. So do you; you've gotten this far, run with it.
3) Find your place.
I have this reclinable couch, and honestly, its comfort level is insane. I put some of my favorite books on the coffee table beside it, some art I like above it, and some low-brightness lighting around it. That's my place. If I've got a lot to do, I sit there, somewhere that's totally mine, and can breathe easy while getting it done. That place reminds me that I'm doing fine and provides me with a stable mindset to do the best work I can do. It's the skeleton to my modern meditation.
I'm an anxious person. I'm also a forgetful person, which makes for an interesting combination. That's the kind of dynamic duo of character traits that leads to freaking out about a biology test, missing it because you forgot what day it was scheduled for, and then freaking out about failing the class. But I've figured out what a planner is, realized that opportunities really are boundless, and designed my personal Feng-Shui. I'm doing a lot better, and hopefully what I've learned along the way can help you too.