1. Understand It As Worthy
Pursue it with the same ambition, care, and obsession you’d otherwise put into emotions and ambitions that make you feel worse.
2. Do What You Want.
Not what you should or what you think you want, but what your body tells you. Get anxious or procrastinate from some optional but worthy goal? Skip it. Find one you actually like. Or, at least, recalibrate to the original happy soul of the thing. If it’s self improvement, let it be for love and enjoyment, not to meet an arbitrary goal.
Trust your internal guidance.
3. Find Where Good, Easy And Enjoyable Overlap
This golden zen center is when something is enjoyable, good for you, and easy. It has no drawbacks; just joy and advantages.
For me, a golden zen center is making a breakfast sandwich with a runny fried egg, kale, hot sauce, and an onion bun. It’s so tasty! So easy! So cheap! So decently good for me! So quick!
Some things require trade-offs. Being in shape, for example, or keeping to a budget. But some things are just so simple and good that you’ll be better for including them in your life.
Having enough sweaters, making my own breakfast sandwiches, and sleeping more instead of browsing nonsense online are three incredibly easy things that work for me. They’re so simple it’s borderline embarrassing to list them out. But that’s part of the point!
Some of the best stuff in life is easy and obvious. Take a moment of mindfulness and effort to rope them in. Okay? For real.
4. Find Some Zen
I don’t have it, and I don’t know where to get it, but it exists.
That thrills and scares me.
There are calm, fulfilled people in the world. Seriously. There are people without your (or our) angst, and, if nothing else, they’re people. Just like you.
The moment you understand that there’s peace and calm out in the world, the sooner zen becomes an actual concept worth pursuing and less a shorthand word for what you lack.
When peace and calm are actual concepts, you can try to find them and integrate them.
5. Other People
There are so many other people in the world! Statistically, some of them are going to make you feel better.
Shuffle and reshuffle your world to find them.
Oh, and here’s a bonus: anxious? Socially awkward? So are millions! There’s a world there!
In life and online, there are enough communities and spaces and people that if you don’t fit in where you are, change your surroundings, either IRL or URL.
If your soul and core don’t fit where you are, it’s location, not self at fault.
6. You Are Not Uniquely Bad
Often, angst is narcissistic.
Why aren’t you as famous and successful and fit and charming and cool and well-paid and well-dressed and capable as you always wanted to be? Yes, okay, you might concede that everyone has those concerns in the abstract, but you’re you: the protagonist of reality!
Only you can feel what you feel, so at its worst it can feel isolating and unique. You can spiral down and obsess.
Look, man. If I told you what I felt and went through you’d be confused and mildly, “uh…” about my anxieties. Right now- right fucking now- I am worried that this sweater is uneven at the sleeves, and why don’t I know how to dress myself, and where’s my money and…
Maybe you’d give a little smile and go, “dude, calm down.” And you’d be right!
Shouldn’t you let that apply to you?
You aren’t uniquely bad. The great and terrible thing of life is the universality of real challenge and joy. Love, death, fear, ambition, stress, terror and joy are all integral parts of the human experience.
Think of how understanding you would be to a well-meaning stranger, how kind and supportive you’d be about their flaws while privately going “uh, calm down.”
Take your own advice and generosity.
7. Animals and Babies Love You
How bad could you possibly be?
Do they care about your success and failures? Or do they live in an immediate, truer emotional state and inspire the same simple joy and kindness in you?
Try to get there yourself. Again, pursue happiness as a worthy ambition. Peace and calm is a concept worth striving for and acknowledging
You’re going to be fine.
8. Practice, Practice, and Remember.
Do not forget this.
Do not let this slide out of your life unused.
Happiness and calm are worthy. And like anything worthy they require some effort. Some patience. Some self-forgiveness, and, above all, practice.
We forget epiphanies. It’s so very human. What felt immediate passes. But don’t let it. Hold on to this if it helped. Apply it and remember.
You can move mountains. You will, almost inevitably: you’ll improve even by accident. Time does that.
But mindfully continuing and pursuing happiness will help it happen faster.
Reread this if it helped, even a quick browse. Loop back to the good.
It can be hard, but it’ll be good. Keep at it.