How to Keep the Stress Out
“Stress is a misery of life” is only a half-true statement. In middle school, we’re stressed about homework, in high school about college admission, in college about jobs. Sometimes, we have to deal with people we “don’t like”; we have to deal with obnoxious people. Yet, without any stress, we wouldn’t have done as much to progress in schooling, and to learn how to live amongst people different from you.
How to Balance Stress
In reality, we need some stress — a balanced amount of it.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Since stress is what we have, the key is to identify when stress is being overloaded from optimal performance, and that requires emotional intelligence. EQ can be learned. The most obvious signal is when you feel unmotivated or overwhelmed to do what you scheduled yourself to do. Another possible signal is when you don’t feel like smiling when talking to another person. Observe yourself closely and you’ll notice more.
Have Moderate Control of Yourself
Self-control is the ultimate liberty, as I’d like to say to myself. But I’m a spontaneous person. If you like planning ahead of everything, you might want to loosen up occasionally to indulge on small things, like what to eat for dinner. The key here is to have a sense of control of your future or a sense of pleasure to decrease your perceived level of stress. However, this does not apply to all. If you’re in the optimal performance zone and have no time to indulge yourself, that’s great.
Addiction takes away our sense of control. This not only applies to alcohol and drugs, but also social media. I personally don’t do any of the former unless for socializing, and I’ve blocked social media and YouTube on my Chrome. I still use forms of messaging, but without the notifications on my phone. And very occasionally, I do go on social media to connect with distant friends.
To be clear, doing any of them is okay, but you need to be honest with yourself on whether you are addicted or not. If you’re studying and your hand starts reaching out to your phone, you hear yourself saying “No, I gotta study”, but then you open Instagram and scroll for like 10 minutes. You’re addicted.
Stoicism: The Worst-Case Scenario is OK too.
When the future seems too bleak and we feel no control of it, we need stoicism — the idea that even the worst case scenario will turn out OK. Yes, it’ll suck, but it’ll be okay. In fact, I would argue that there is always a way out if you stay resilient and in the optimal performance zone.
Be in the moment
Guys, when you chase a girl, why do you give her a rose instead of a rock? The rock is more durable. It won’t change for thousands of years. A rose died within 3 days. So why is it that we choose a rose over a rock? It’s because it’s beautiful in the moment.
— My professor introducing why we study Astronomy, said in British accent.