by Victoria Nguyen
Now that school is in full swing, I’m sure you — like me — are feeling the impact of all the stresses that accumulate with the workload. I find myself stressing out left and right for a multitude of different reasons on frequent occasions. I know sometimes it is hard to deal with the stresses and sometimes we just want to hide ourselves from the world, but dig deep down inside of you and find that little pocket of endurance that I know you have in you to push through. If I can do it, the Queen of Terrible Emotional Decisions, I know for a fact that all of you out there can do it.
My point behind all of this was revealed to me in church tonight. I’m not going to push my beliefs down your throats, but the liturgy discussed at mass today revolved around the theme of pro life. The topic of suicide was a majority of the sermon today and that really got to me. I know sometimes people just use the topic to just depress the living daylight out of everyone, but I thought I should use this opportunity to reach out and offer some suggestions to help prevent anyone from hurting themselves.
Stress often times is hard to deal with and I for one can attest to that. I’ve had my battles with what I can only assume is depression. I know people are probably going to say that if you don’t know if you were depressed then you probably weren’t, and that might very well be true, but I know deep inside that something was emotionally off and I have to work hard each and every day to make sure I don’t slip back into those thoughts. I know how it feels to be so wrapped up in chaos of everyday life, that it feels like there is no escape, but if you take a second to breathe, the world seems to stop even for just a moment.
Take a breath and relax your mind and body. Let the stresses go and release the tension held inside. Take that moment to think about anything that brings you to a better place, a happy place, a peaceful place. Find the things that make you feel at one and hold on to those things. Whenever you feel the stress and chaos start to build back up, take out those peaceful memories and let them swallow you up. Take the time to let go of the negatives that will come up and focus on all the positives in your life. If nothing positive comes to mind, take the time to really look around you to find some, because everyone has something special about them that truly is special.
Reflection helps me, but I also have to find things that can help me relieve the stresses of the day. I have to constantly be doing something to keep my mind busy to keep it from drifting back into the dark place I just don’t want it to go. The other day I found myself in the library to print some work out for a class. I decided I was going to dedicate this weekend to just being lazy, which actually turned out to be just the opposite but that’s beside the point. I went to the third floor of Alkek and decided to check out a few movies. After making my extremely random selections, I noticed that the rows and rows of books directly across the way, were all children’s literature. I wandered over and just started to browse.
As I started to read and flip through the brightly colored pages of these timeless classics I found myself back in kindergarten. Vivid pictures of story time and simpler days danced in my head. I could feel myself reminiscing as the words of If you Give a Mouse a Cookie escaped my mouth into the silence of the library. I felt comforted and amazingly safe wrapped up in the imaginative novels that were all around me. Maybe you too would feel the same way, and if that’s the case, I can only suggest that you put yourself where I was.
There are so many things you can do that can relieve stress and there is no possible way for me to tell you what you could do to make yourself feel at peace, because to be perfectly honest the only way to be at peace is to find something that you really love to do. I love to work out. Something about physical activity just helps me shake the anxiety away and allows me to release my pent-up frustration in a healthy way. If working out is only going to add more stress to your life, don’t go and run because I said so. Go out and do the things that will make you happy, not because anyone said you should, but because you want to.
I just want to leave you with this image. After all my workouts, and at least once a day, I try to find a sunny spot outside and just sit there for at least an hour just enjoying the sun. I sit there in complete silence, staring out into the beautiful scenery that San Marcos has to offer and just think. Sometimes I don’t even think, I just take in the way the trees line the hills, how the birds soar through the sky, how the warmth of the sun just melts the bad thoughts, or how the breeze just lets me know that those looking down on me are doing just that. I use that time to bring myself to a peaceful state of mind. I let go of all the negative things and take in all the beauty around me. I’m not saying that every day goes as smoothly as this, because they don’t. Some days I just want to stay in bed all day and sleep so that I don’t have to face reality. Sometimes I just feel the sensation to cry all day because I can’t deal with it anymore. I just find the strength to pick up the pieces and continue forward.
When the times get rough, and they will get rough, practice what I’ve hopefully taught you. If you really can’t shake the bad feelings, find someone to talk to: a friend, a family member, a trusted pet, anyone that will listen. Sometimes just talking helps to leave your troubles behind you. Let October be the month that is full of happy thoughts and silly moments, not the one that leads to tears and suffering. Find your sunny hillside or your bustling gym or your quiet oasis filled with books. Find your happy place and remember this: Peace of mind is not a goal I need to achieve. It’s a place inside I never want to leave. Close my eyes, I still my thoughts and then I say I will choose to live in peace today.– Robert Alan
[Editor’s note: If you’re feeling depressed or would like help coping with stress, visit the Counseling Center, which provides all currently enrolled Texas State students with free and confidential services by professional counselors while classes are in session. Make an appointment at http://www.counseling.txstate.edu]