Don’t Let Stress Become Your Default State

Credit: American Heart Association
The only thing worse than stress is being used to stress.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you suddenly become cognizant of your stress? It’s like realizing there’s a giant lead weight tied to your head. Too much stress in your life can mess with your brain chemistry, which in turn can lead to unhealthy habits and decisions. Obviously, it’s a lot easier to say “don’t be stressed” than to actually stop being stressed, but if you can make yourself aware of that lead weight tied to your head, then you’re already on the right track.


Trace back your daily habits and train of thought in order to determine where your stress is coming from. Is it your job? Something in your personal life? Your health? Identifying the problem will get you on the path to fixing it, or at the very least managing it. Once you’ve identified the problem ask yourself this question: “is this something I can change under my own power?” If the answer is yes, great, start making a plan to fix that problem. If the answer is no, then there’s only one thing you can do: let it go. The well-known, unfortunate truth of growing up is that there are just some problems we can’t fix. It’s not your fault, and you shouldn’t make yourself angry or depressed over it. Let me reiterate that: it is not your fault.

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Once you’re aware of what you do and don’t have power over in your life, try to rearrange what you can to improve your mood. Set aside time for things that make you happy like hobbies. Keep in touch with friends and family, and if something’s bothering you, tell them. Stay in shape and try to eat right; your mood will likely improve if your body’s at peak efficiency. Perhaps the most important thing you should do is set limits. If an outside commitment is pressuring you too much, you gotta put your foot down and draw the line.

We’re living in some really bizarre times here, which is why, now more than ever, you need to take care of your mental health. Don’t let this dumb situation beat you down; we’ll get through it soon enough.