Dealing with pressure

By merely typing the word “pressure” on the keyboard, I feel a little bit of it already. In Physics, pressure is defined as the amount of force per unit area. In terms of life in general, I guess all of us have felt it, a certain amount of force strikes us, often unexpectedly. Some of us are good at handling it. Some would feel immensely overwhelmed and would freeze. Some would sadly, do drastic things, either good or bad, when the pressure is on. In my current situation as a medical student, and in my experiences in this ever dynamic life, I am constantly seeking and practicing ways to relieve the pressure and handle it better especially when things don’t go my way. Again, I am not perfect. In fact I just had a mini meltdown last night. I still have a lot to learn but so far here are the tools which worked for me.

1. Humility
Oftentimes the pressure comes from having a certain level of success in the past. To be honest, sometimes I do feel like I have to be excellent because I have the constant need to exceed the level of achievement that I previously had. However, I realized that this mindset is not serving me. Realizing that those past accolades aren’t me took so much weight off my shoulders. When I read Elizabeth Gibert’s book, Big Magic, she wrote about being a vessel and not the source. I felt so much humility and much lighter because it gave me the permission to just do my best knowing that I am not the genius. That girl who wrote that piece of poetry, or who aced her exam, or won an award, wasn’t me. I am just the vessel, and not the source. The genius moves within me and when it decides to leave, I am totally okay with that. I let it go and thank it for moving through me. I cannot do excellent work all the time, but what I can do is work and trust. Please repeat this whenever there’s too much pressure, “I am just a vessel and not the source.These are not me, it comes from something, bigger than the little me.”

2. Hardwork
Laziness is the perfect ingredient for overwhelm. I am saying this because I was really lazy before especially when I was younger. When you know that you can do a certain task for a short time, you tend to procrastinate. You watch movies, spend hours on social media, or do irrelevant tasks instead of facing the problem at hand. Then, the tasks pile up, other responsibilities will pull you from all directions, and suddenly you are the human representation of a walking backlog and you end up not doing the important stuff that is essential to your life’s mission. Then you feel pressured, overwhelmed, and then you start to become so hard on yourself. You know how you can avoid this? Get off the couch and do something. Put your gadgets on focus mode. Work hard and work smart. Align with your body’s energy levels, work productively, and rest when you must. In that way there is less probability of overwhelm. There will be less pressure because you are on top of things. There’s no hack or easier way than working your buns off.

3. Gratitude
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I love writing about gratitude. That is because it works. Maybe you might think I’m just saying this because I haven’t been through a lot and trust me, or do a backread in this blog, and you’ll see that my rock bottom almost made me give up on life. You don’t need to feel better in an instant. I just want you to grab a notebook and write even just one thing that you are grateful for when you wake up. This doesn’t mean that you will be a ray of toxic positivity. You will just state one thing, not ten, not twenty, even just one. You’ll soon see that despite any challenge, there’s still something to be thankful for. It doesn’t have to be grand. It can be as simple as the air you breathe or your morning coffee. This attitude of gratitude builds momentum, and soon enough you’ll be able to reframe your thoughts. It might take days, or years, but just do it consistently and you’ll realize that even if there’s too much pressure, it somehow gets lighter as you acknowledge the good things in life.

4. Prayers
Disclaimer: I am not practicing any religion. But I am a firm believer that there is a bigger Being out there, that is too big to be even imagined by the human brain. I have this faith that God, The Universe, Being, Eternal Loving Presence, or whatever you want to call it is trying to manifest something, and that all of us has a part for this creation to come into fruiton. And so, I have made a conscious effort to pray that whatever I do is in alignment with my purpose. To be honest, I don’t even know clearly what that purpose is, but if you have faith, somehow the universe shows you the way. So pray that God shows you the way. Surrender and be willing to walk through the path that is for you. When you have this belief that, every experience is part of your purpose, it takes the pressure off, because it’s not just you who has to make things happen. You are co-creating with the universe.

5. Look for peace and it will come to you.
If you think about problems all the time, believe me there are a million ways to do that, in fact you just need to scroll on your newsfeed and be sucked into the youtube vortex and you’ll find millions of negative content that can feed your mind. These will catch your attention and make you an unproductive and anxious human being. But what if you decide to take the reigns and declare that peace is what you seek? What if you start unfollowing people and pages that make you feel like your efforts are not good enough, that no matter what you do, it won’t make a difference? Believe me, your life will change. Unfollow people or even friends that you tend to compare yourself to, that make you jealous, or afraid that you are missing out. Try focusing on your breath, on the task at hand, on the process. Just try doing things and appreciate them whether it’s good or bad. There is more peace within you and outside of you. Just don’t be lazy in looking for it. Make finding and generating peace a lifelong commitment and you’ll soon notice that when you are overwhelmed, you can always go back to that sacred place within you that hugs and tells you that everything is going to be okay.

You’ll be okay, love.

10 things to do when you’re freaking out

There are days when we feel like we’re on cloud 9. We approach the day headstrong and just believe that anything is possible. Those are what we call the oh-so-good days, the awesome, conquer the universe days. Well, just imagine if everything goes the way it should be, the world will indeed be our oyster. But, let’s talk real.

That is a dream. Those days definitely happen, but, not all the time. It comes to a point sometimes that you feel like your world is crumbling, as if wherever you go, there’s mess. You feel so out of control. You freak out. What do you do then?

My dear, anxiety is normal. Freaking out for things that’s out of your control can cause you a meltdown. However, no need to worry because everyone has it, even that girl with thousands of likes on social media. Nobody’s life is perfect. Some people can handle it better, some just shove it in, while others collapse under too much pressure.

For me, these are the techniques that work when shit happens

  1. BREATHE

Focus on your breathing first. Inhale and exhale slowly. You’re alright, you’re still breathing. That’s what matters first, you are still breathing.

2. RELAX YOUR BODY.

Is your teeth clenched? Relax it. Pay attention to your facial muscles, are they tense? Relax them. Notice your shoulders and relax. To have a clear head, our body needs to be in a relaxed state. Yes, things  are chaotic, but, calming yourself first will help your brain think logically.

3. SAY THESE WORDS: EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE OKAY.

This may sound too cliché for you but eventually, there will be a way for any situation to work out. Even if you cannot see that now, believing that it will be okay will give you the sanity that you need to handle any situation. Whenever you start thinking that you’re gonna be doomed, push that thought away and replace it with one sentence: “Everything’s going to be okay.” Our actions change when we reprogram how we think. You have to believe that it’ll work out if you really want it to work out.

4. PLAN

Now that you have a calm mind and body, and a proper mindset, you can now start thinking of the solution. You can list the problem on a paper, and just brainstorm the possible solutions you can come up with. After a while, evaluate which solution is the best.

5. EXECUTE

Do the necessary actions for the solution to be executed. My favorite blogger gives this perfect advice for her followers  who ask her how to handle anxiety, (http://ladykaymd.tumblr.com/ ) “Action always fights anxiety.”

6. IF IT IS TOTALLY OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, LET GO.

There are battles that we fight and battles that we choose not to. It takes maturity and a lot of wisdom to choose the best thing to do in a situation. Sometimes, no matter how much we want things to end up well, it’s just out of our power. We all have limitations. If you really cannot do anything, or the situation will just get worse if you meddle, have the courage to accept the circumstance, no matter how crappy it is, and let go.  Acceptance is not cowardice. It is a brave act of trust.

7. FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS

Despite people saying, “Bottle your feelings and move on,” just feel what you are feeling. If crying makes you more okay, then cry. If you are sad, be sad. Honor what you feel. People who hide everything will certainly crack at some point. But, if you acknowledge your emotions, it will help. Numbing will take the anxiety for a while but nothing beats being true to yourself.

8. EXERCISE

I know, this is the last thing that you want to do. However, this is scientifically proven. When you’re having a bad day, all those frustrations are replaced by the  feeling of triumph when you complete a workout. Physically releasing negative vibes helps. If you want to help yourself, get out of that bed and MOVE.

9. DRINK A HOT BEVERAGE (or your favorite beverage)

This works so much for me. When I start overthinking and negative thoughts ramble in my brain, lemon or lime infused water does the trick. Maybe it’s the quiet time of drinking that helps.  Sometimes, when my friend is upset or when I am anxious or mad about something, drinking milk tea and talking just calms us.

10. CALL A FRIEND

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that your biggest enemy is that voice inside your head. If you start noticing that the voice is not helping because it’s saying too much negative stuff, go and call your closest friend. It’s amazing how a different perspective can change the way that we approach a situation, plus, girlfriends are the best.

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You are human. You are not supposed to be perfect. There will be bad days but there are good days too. Being flawed, failing, and making mistakes is part of your journey. Feeling anxious is okay, but, you don’t have to feed your anxiety. You have to feel it, and use those nerves for something good. Channel it somewhere. It can be through a hobby, or whatever creative activity that you love.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Soren Kierkegaard