3 Things To Do If You Feel Totally Stressed Out

So You've Got A Bad Day? Again?

By Hilary Keyes
September 23, 2020
Health & Beauty, Lifestyle

You've got rid of everything (everyone) that gets you down, but still don’t quite feel right…

It’s nearly the end of 2020 (or at least, we wish), you’ve been watching Marie Kondo and your home is now spotless. You’ve gotten rid of the old makeup, friends, and exes that you should, but you still feel stressed out… You might need to take a step back and do some mental oosoji (massive clean-up, and by which we mean massive clean-up).

Here are three tips that can help you refresh and reset your mind—and hopefully help you make 2021 a better year for yourself.

1. Understand the roots of your negativity and take action  

What is it exactly that makes you feel negative? Whether it’s external or internal, there is always something you can do to improve your circumstances.

A friend of mine struggles with weight loss. She wouldn’t call herself overweight, but she wants to shift a few pounds. However, she exercises only about once a month and indulges in sweets whenever she’s had a bad day. She has a lot of bad days. Then she feels unhappy with her body, and that makes her day even worse. Her bad days? There wasn’t a seat available on the train, she couldn’t get tickets to her favorite band’s concert, or there was a typhoon—things that she can’t control, but she lets them control her.

Take back control of your narrative

Finding out what triggers your negativity or anxiety is the first step to destressing. When you’re in a good mindset, things like not getting a seat on the train mean nothing. A question you need to ask yourself is did you have a bad day, or did you let one bad thing ruin your day? If you can answer that honestly, and keep reminding yourself that one event doesn’t determine the course of your entire day (or life for that matter), then you can begin to take control of your own negativity, and eventually turn it around.

So, having finally realized where her crankiness was coming from, my friend decided to do something about her weight loss approach. She’s now set clear targets for how much walking she should do each week, making sure she reports the results to her friends—a way of staying on track and remaining motivated. She’s been certainly less cranky recently.

It’s time to change things for good

Personally speaking, I’m never happy with my art. It feels like something is missing and that hits my buttons. So this year, I finally decided to change this and take part in five workshops to learn (or get the basics of) different types of traditional arts. Hopefully, this will not only broaden my horizons, but it’ll also give me new avenues of art to explore in my own work too.

Finding out what triggers your negativity or anxiety is the first step to destressing.

Another friend set himself a goal to pass the N1 of the JLPT as a way to get rid of his constant complex of not being able to express himself in Japan. He’s at a good N3 level at the moment. Aware of the steep learning curve ahead, he signed up for Japanese language lessons, and has changed the settings in his smartphone to Japanese as well. Even little steps like this, which help reinforce things he’s learning, have already made him feel more confident in his language skills, and that confidence is carrying over into other parts of his life too. Actually, he just successfully navigated his way through his first gōkon (group date) last weekend, which he would never have done in the past.

So if you realize that the core reason for your constant dissatisfaction lies in your lack of confidence in a field you want to be confident in, take action, and do something about it. If you’re looking to find different activities, want to build on your own talents, or simply find new things to do check out this article on Japanese culture classes in Tokyo that may help you take the first step.

2. Find satisfaction in your job—or find a new one

If you know that it’s not your personal life that’s getting you down, then it might be your job. Work-related stress can be physically and mentally exhausting and can make your life feel like a train wreck—especially during these troubled times.

If you find yourself going straight home from work every day, plopping down in front of your computer or binge-watching TV shows so that you don’t have to think about your day—examine that. Think about what realistically you can do to improve your situation.

If it’s a coworker issue, try talking to your boss or HR about it (and if it’s your boss, work up the ladder or deal with HR directly.) If it’s you who may the cause of the problems, try a different approach toward people; try doing the opposite of what you have been doing so far. If you’re working in a toxic environment, consider changing companies. Easier said than done sometimes, but finding a new job is a lot less stressful than allowing a black kigyo (ブラック企業, company renowned for their exploitative sweatshop-type employment system) to potentially kill you with work.

Start by polishing your resume—this action alone will boost your confidence, let you realize how far you’ve come and what you could possibly do next. Then simply start contacting recruiters and create your profile on job search sites. New vision, new opportunities will immediately start brightening your day because you’ll know that you are moving forward.

3. Get hold of your emotions by focusing on the present

Properly focusing on the moment you are in can be accomplished in many different ways. There’s meditation, breathing techniques, focusing on sights, sounds, or other sensations. Whatever works best for you is what will help you to get out of your head. Pull back from what’s bothering you, and focus your mind on the present.

My mindfulness trick is relatively simple—I can concentrate better when things smell good, so whenever I start to feel like things are getting out of control, I stop and put some lotion on. It’s good for my skin and the scent and action itself brings me back to what I’m doing at the present.

Meditation is a common way to address mindfulness as well. You can visit a temple for a quick yoga session with complete strangers or travel to Akita for a Buddhist meditation weekend retreat. Of course, you can also practice it on your own at home. The point is to change your environment for a moment and give it a genuine, honest try—in this way you’ll give yourself reasons to look at things from a better angle.

Getting a makeover is another popular way to change our views, get inspired, and give yourself a pat on the shoulder. It couldn’t be any simpler—when we look great, we feel great. Get a completely new look or simply visit your local hairdresser for a minor change. While you’re there, you’ll temporarily stop thinking about things that bother you and you’ll feel more confident to do whatever you have to do next.

Ready to move on? Keep in mind that to destress and regain your confidence you first need to declutter—and that involves every part of your life. Just keep going!

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