On the first day I stepped into college, I felt, beyond the façade of lush greenery and well-organised urban structures, an intangible weight that was difficult to put into words. As I listened absent-mindedly to the lecturer’s introduction, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Are these things going to be tested in about 13 weeks or so? How in the world can I learn so many concepts in such a short period of time?”
I am sure that most of us have such soliloquies about our lives. You may be concerned about passing a piano examination that is around the corner; you can be spending a large portion of your day thinking about an important job interview that you have to ace; your brain may be occupied by thoughts of how you can impress that guy or girl, so that you can take this relationship further. Because you perceive these things to be exceedingly integral to your happiness, you pursue them with your best efforts continuously, like a sprinting ostrich that never tires, overcoming miles and miles in the wilderness.
Except that, you DO get tired. And to be honest, feeling anxious over a competition, promotion, or a possible love partner is not necessarily negative; it actually proves how much you value your pursuit. This preoccupation, though, similar to cough medicine obtained from the nearby polyclinic, can be destabilising if you have a teaspoon too much. How then, can we be more relaxed when everything is so tense in our lives?
1. You don’t have to constantly brood over something to achieve positive results
Anxiety is primarily the function of one’s mindset. It is probably true that many who experience anxiety problems misunderstand the relationship between results and time; it is not always true that the level of our achievements are determined by the amount of time we spend doing something. When we devote all our time and effort in something, we deprive ourselves of a crucial element of success – rest.
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking a break definitely helps you go further. Imagine your brain as a factory that churns out shoe after shoe, replete with workers producing your desired products every day. In order to achieve the best results, you need to give your workers time to unwind, because that will recharge their batteries and help them to become productive again. In other words, learning to put your troubles aside gives you a higher chance of encountering inspiration, while working at it inexorably is a seemingly admirable but ultimately futile undertaking.
Remember, you demand solutions of high quality, and not quantity. A major step in performing better in life and yet feel more at ease is to understand the logic behind producing exceptional work.
2. Turn your worries into a positive force
Sometimes, we can’t help but brood over something important all the time because we think that is the best thing we can do. By rationalising that we are too nervous or fatigued to do anything else, we unconsciously reject the better parts of life and choose to procrastinate unhealthily in front of a desktop, awaiting pessimistically for something to happen. But it is precisely during such times that leaving the home is most beneficial.
I am not suggesting that you try something new or engage in a task beyond your comfort zone, but it is key to do something about your life, and not passively await the arrival of D-Day. Any simple, enjoyable activity can do wonders in soothing one’s mind. For example, I usually take my anxieties or apprehensions to the track or the swimming pool. For those who find that too rigourous, window-shopping or the exploration of a new place are perfectly plausible options. As you take in the picturesque scenery and breathe the vibrancy of life surrounding you, I am certain you will be able to manage your feelings better.
3. Confide your thoughts in a loved one
Sometimes, we find ourselves helpless as we nervously ponder what lies ahead for us. The stress may have taken over our lives, and is too much for us to handle. If that happens, instead of bottling your thoughts up and seeking a solution alone, share your anxiety with a trustworthy member of your community, like a parent, sibling or a friend. Do not hesitate to do so, because that is what they are for!
Our family and friends are akin to a sanctuary that shields us from harm and danger. When you are feeling low and unsure about the future, let your loved ones know how vulnerable you are, and seek their advice. You may think your kin have better things to do than that, but trust me, they would want to know what you are up to, and would be more than happy to take time out to be a listening ear for an afternoon.