7 Steps to Feeling Less Stressed-Out and Hopeless Today

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 9 years old.

It's been a pretty rough week. Beyond the usual emotional dissonance caused by poverty, ongoing wars, gang violence and heart disease, this has been a week of dramatic pain. It's hard to escape. Right now every single radio station and TV station, every single Facebook page and website, is devoted to covering the manhunt going on for a 19-year-old in Boston. I'm not going to link to it. You don't need another link.

Also: a fertilizer plant blew up in Texas killing a LOT of people and we aren't even talking about that one yet.

So, if you're like me, you didn't sleep that well last night and you are stressed-out and you feel sad and a bit hopeless about the whole state of everything. Friends, the skull on my desk has some ideas about what you can do to make yourself feel a bit better. Please join him below. Please note, the skull isn't meant to be ghoulish or make light of death. Instead, it's a reminder of our impermanence:


 This is Step 1. Do it first. Now do it again.



Step 2. Eat some breakfast. Try to find something with protein in it. Avoid donuts.


Step 3. Turn it off. Meditate. Close your eyes and stop listening to the news for a few minutes. Seriously. They are playing the same interview with the aunt over and over, saying the same 3 facts about the boys. They aren't going to solve it all if you step away for a bit.


Step 4. Remember that everything is temporary. This all seems dramatic and serious right now but today is one day out of the many days you will be alive, hopefully. And then you are doing to die. Everyone is going to die! The sun is going to explode! But that isn't sad, instead it's happy. Instead use it to experience every moment.


Step 5. Get your blood flowing. I know you are at work but stand up. Do some lunges. Get a friend and walk around the block. Exercise is better than Xanax. It gives your brain good chemicals and it gives you time to think. Also: it gives you time away from the madness. Plus, if you live in the Bay, it's a beautiful day. Enjoy it! You don't get infinity nice days.


Step 6. Remember that everyone else is going through the same thing you are. Smile at them! There isn't much that will make you feel as good as making other people feel better.


Step 7. Remember you're going to be okay. Seriously. I mean, yeah, you will die some day but today, most likely, you are going to be fine.

The skull is a sculpture used with permission from its creator, Pete Hickok.