DEAR ALEX: How Can I Relieve Pressure About My Future?

Dear Alex: With the pressure there is to go to college, I’m finding it hard to feel confident in my future. What can I do to release that pressure?

– Anxious About Life

Dear Anxious About Life: Let me start off by saying that I totally understand what you’re feeling. With college coming up and wondering what the future will hold it can be a lot to think about.

I know it is hard to feel confident about what is to come because you cannot know for sure. It is our natural “state” to want to know what is happening at this very moment or what is going to happen in the future, but the reality is we can’t.

Don’t worry about the future; you have no control over that. Worry about the present, since it’s what is happening right now.

How can you release that pressure? Some advice I would give is to do something you’ve always wanted to do. For example, I have always wanted to learn how to ice skate and have still yet to learn. Winter is coming up, so I might try. Keyword: might. I get scared I will fall and hurt myself, but that is how you learn. So I am going to try ice skating this year and see how it goes.

Do that thing that you have always wanted to do, and use it as a crutch. It will get your mind off of the pressure you feel the future holds. I know that you cannot just get rid of your worries altogether, but I know you can lessen them. Even if it is just a bit, it will make a world of difference.

Spend time with the people you love. It is fall, so go to an orchard and carve pumpkins. Doing seasonal activities always cheers me up. Whether that’s driving around during winter and looking at lights or picking the perfect pumpkin with my family during autumn.

If you are not a people person and love to be alone, spend time with yourself and get lost in your thoughts. Find and think about the area that is giving you the most stress or pressure and work on it. Think about where you want to be at this second and not where you are right now, whether it is a fictional place or not.

What helps with my anxiety personally is doing the things I love. I love spending time in my room alone with a book to get lost in. It is nice to read about other people’s worries and not think about your own.

Another thing that helps relieve stress is journaling your thoughts every day at a specific time. You can write when you come home from school, after practice, after or before dinner, etc. Try to stick with that time so that you can develop a habit of journaling.

If journaling is not your cup of tea, schedule a time to worry. I know it might sound weird, but it works. You cannot worry all day, or else no work will get done, so push those thoughts to a specific time in the day and that’ll be the time to get your worries out to work on them. Think about the things that are worrying you and try to fix them or replace them.

Make the future what you want it to be. Think of it as this place you can’t wait to get to instead of a place you dread. I’m not saying growing up is easy. You will deal with taxes, bills, having to go to the doctor by yourself, and more. But think of the good things. If you choose to do so, you’re about to go to college. You should major in what makes you happy rather than, for example, what makes the most money.

If you’re doing something you love the money you earn will roll in quickly. Yes, more school to get there, but it gets you on your path to do the things you want to do. Following your passion will relieve more stress than you’d expect. If you think about it, you are already set up. You have to make the first move, and so many people will help you with the rest.

– Alex