One of my greatest struggles has always been an inability to relax. I genuinely get angry when people say “Just Relax.” It’s never that simple. I bite my lips (in a very non-Fifty Shades kind of way), I pick at my nail beds, I get hives all over my body, I even get sick to my stomach. I never knew what to do about it. Being a self-declared ‘Type A’ for my whole life, I’ve never taken the break I deserved to learn how to relax. So now that I’m twenty-two and not sure how to handle stress, what am I supposed to do?
A teacher this semester mentioned that when we’re in grade school we’re taught to multitask. Once you pass kindergarten, nap-time goes away. We’re never taught how to slow down and deal with stress, only how to create it.
In the past I’ve tried everything from journaling to therapy. Nothing helped! But at that point, how can you stop? Can you really just not turn in an assignment because you’re too tired? Can you really let your organization down by not finishing your task on time?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer is yes. The past year or so has been really formative for me. As I transition away from college and into the real world, I’ve learned that I can’t do everything. The people I know who do are extremely unhappy. I really don’t strive to be unhappy. So, I had to find a way to promise myself a few minutes each day of actively de-stressing. That’s when I found meditation.
Now, I’m not a guru. I barely know anything about meditation. But what I have learned from my Hinduism class is that it’s not always about religion. It’s about taking a step back and finding wisdom within yourself. It’s about remembering that you are just a drop in the vast ocean of the universe. You can recite mantras, if you’d like, to help remind yourself of the little things. For instance, I learned that repeating “Sham” can awaken your intuition.
You can also just sit quietly and reflect. I have never been able to “quiet my thoughts.” But I’ve finally realized that having a moment to listen to what I’m really thinking — not just what I need to get done — can be just as helpful. Ask yourself, “Where are my thoughts taking me?” If they are negative, ask yourself one of the toughest questions: “Is this really a problem, or am I just being a little self-indulgent and complaining?” It’s okay to complain, but you can’t live your whole life whining.
I urge you to try your own style of meditation. Maybe you run to think it out, maybe you just unplug your social media and turn up some tunes. But take a minute to really listen to yourself and I think you’ll find that stress will be much more manageable.
How do you de-stress?