I have a really good friend named Anna. Perhaps you've heard me mention her a couple of times? She's pretty special to me. Anyway, there's something she said to me once. I don't remember the setting in which it was said...it could've been two years ago. It could've been back in college. I don't know. All I remember is that it stuck with me. So what was this pearl of wisdom?
"I just hate being upset. So I'm not gonna be."
Okay, admittedly, I may have just paraphrased her, but the meaning is the same, no matter how she actually said it.
If you know Anna at all, this won't surprise you. She's one of the most laid-back, low-key people I've ever met. In the decade (holy CRAP, dude!) that I've known her, we've gotten into ONE argument. And it was really, really stupid.
She just...manages to find silver linings and spots of sunlight even on the darkest days. It's really amazing, and I always envied her because I was never really able to do that very well. I'm passionate and outspoken and I wear my heart on my sleeve like an accessory from Claire's. Because of these qualities of mine, I tend to live in the moment. Because of my artist's (read: melodramatic) nature, I've found it hard throughout most of my life to see beyond how I am feeling in a particular moment. These aren't necessarily bad qualities...they just keep me from thinking rationally sometimes.
Recently, due to some adjustments in how I try to live my faith as well as just the maturity and learning that comes from growing up (hopefully), I've gotten a lot better at this. When it comes to my faith, I usually just remind myself of Matthew 6:25-34 or James 1:2-4 when I start to worry, stress out (mostly about money...yuck). As for the just "growing up and dealing with things better" aspect, I just sit and try to talk myself back into a reasonable state of mind. I tell myself, "Self, is this really that bad? I mean, really?" (Hint: usually? It's not.)
Overall, my life is much easier because of this. I, much like Anna, do not like feeling stressed out or worried or upset.
But sometimes? You have to let it go.
You have to let yourself go in the bathroom and ugly cry because someone hurt your feelings or because you just had to replace the starter in your car and it cost $500 (ahem...not like I'm being specific or anything). You have to understand that you're only a human and you can only take so much. While I've never SEEN Anna completely break down, I would bet double-or-nothing the paltry amount of money I have in the bank that it's happened. On more than one occasion.
Holding it all in for too long is just as unhealthy. Cry it out. Kick a chair (a soft one). Go for a walk or a run (lately I've been loving running as a stress reliever...scroll down and read a couple of my posts) outside. Go splurge on a few naughty calories and get your favorite frappucino from Starbucks or your favorite fountain drink from Sonic.
One of the hardest things I've learned lately is that while it is unhealthy to only focus on the negative things and the stressors in your life....it is equally unhealthy to ignore the fact that you are a human being and you get stressed out. Guess what? You're not the only one. Tell yourself, "Self, you are stressed out. And that is a-okay. Be stressed, but don't dwell on it. Let it out, then let's go get some FroYo."
Guess what? I just wrote all this to MYSELF. It's been a rough 9 days, and I've been trying so hard to maintain a steady and positive front that I gave myself a tummy-ache. Trying hard not to stress has stressed me out. So tonight? I am going to go home and eat a cupcake (or 3) and watch baseball and let myself be quiet and mopey if I need to. And tomorrow? I'm going to run 2.5–3 miles and get those endorphines pumping right back out.
And at the end of the day? I will be smiling.