You know how people say that hindsight is 20/20? This is the reverse. I’m so on board with Maxie’s mantra here. I personally use it frequently!
One Question That REALLY Helps When You’re Stressed Out
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
There’s not a human on this earth that doesn’t get completely frazzled, overwhelmed, or stressed out at some point. It seems like some months you can coast and feel totally relaxed and then wham: you’re anxious about basically everything. Maybe it’s friend issues, or school problems, or worrying about the future. Whatever it is, it happens. To all of us.
My freshman year of college was a rough experience. There were a lot of reasons, but mainly it was a super tough combination of being far away from home, a volleyball program that was struggling, a relationship that wasn’t working in the slightest (the list goes on and on and on). And while this isn’t a unique experience, it took a long time to get better. It was like the world’s most prolonged funk, and everything seemed like a big deal. Everythingggg was stressful.
And you know what? These periods of life are pretty normal; we just don’t talk about them enough. Something a mentor told me during this rough patch has stuck with me for every hardship I’ve ever had after. She said, “Your big, huge monumental worries right now will eventually be just another star in the sky of our lives. They’ll be just a dim speck in the night.”
And it’s true, soooo true. Because while that year seemed like the worst, I can look back on it a decade later and see nothing but beautiful lessons learned, friendships made, and an experience (while hard) that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Not for a second. In fact, I just got back from a trip to New Zealand with three of the best friends that went through that year with me (and had just as hard of an experience). All we can do is tell stories and laugh until we cry at the ridiculousness of what went on that year, pain and all.
So now, I’ve taken that little anecdote about the stars in the sky and turned it into a mental exercise that helps me evaluate: is this thing I’m all worked up about just a speck in the sky? Or more. And should I even be worrying about it this much? Because, when you’re in it, it can be hard to get that perspective but this question always helps me:
Will this matter to me in 5 years?
The reason I love asking myself this is because it forces you to think about the bigger picture. Are you freaking out over the tone some emailed you with or that love interest not texting you back and ruining an entire day because of any of this? It makes you think about if the energy you’re giving a problem is worth it. And hey! Some situations ARE worth it. But in reality, most times we’re all making mountains out of molehills – and this question puts a spotlight on that realization.
If the answer is NO (as it is most times), then take a few really big breaths, and see if you can either find a way to quickly resolve the stress OR get your mind to let it go gently. So often, all we have to do is redirect our energy by calling a friend, doing something to get our mind off it, or tell ourselves to let it go to feel some relief from the stress.
So, the next time you’re all worked up, try asking yourself this question and see what happens. Because life is too wonderful and too short to spend time worrying about things that just do NOT matter.