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What Can I Do To Lead A More (Emotionally) Balanced Life

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Sometimes, I feel like I'm on top of the world, I'm really motivated to take initiatives, to study hard, to hang out with my friends, etc.

And then when ONE bad thing happens (i.e I get into an important argument with someone), it's like I get a cascade of negative thoughts, I feel really pressured and sad. It's hard to describe, but I feel like I'm not doing the right things, not good enough to achieve great things, and that worst of all, everyone hates me! (I know that my thoughts are irrational, people probably don't hate me, if anything, they probably aren't even thinking about me, but I can't help but feel like they do...). I also feel like every single decision I make is wrong and irrational. 

 

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Hey OP,

You sound like you are going through what I used to go through a lot early in my undergrad. I'm not saying that you have what I have, but I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and I went through a similar experience. I know it's unpleasant, but I want to first give you props for talking about it (even if it's online with strangers). I found it super embarrassing to talk about with anyone except my school counsellor.

I've had a few sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and found it pretty helpful. I did a lot of self-reflection as to why I react (cognitively and emotionally) to the bad things in life. When I was able to identify why and how I react to certain negative situations, I was able to develop ways to overcome those waves of negative thought that really affected me.

For instance, when I say something in a group conversation and way after the conversation I think "Did I say something off?" or "Should I not have said that?" or "Did I accidentally hurt someone's feelings" I would usually get almost paranoid and anxious about accidentally coming off as a total a*hole. I'd just feel like the worst human being for the rest of the day/days. But now when I have those thoughts/worries, I don't hesitate in asking the closest person/friend that was also in that group conversation about what I said. If it was a group of strangers then I go to one of my close friends, tell them the background context and tell them what my concerns are. I'm very fortunate to have a tight knit group of friends and they are pretty honest with me. So they will tell me, "yeah... It wasn't the best thing to have said" or "No no, don't worry about it. I think people took it light heartedly". Then this allows me to either take the next steps to either solve the situation or just be at ease.

I almost feel like an AI robot, learning through experiences and interactions knowing what's generally acceptable and not worth getting wrapped up about and what interactions/worries require further investigation. But it's only with conscious effort into this learning process and self-awareness that I think I'm not anxious anymore and have those anxious events less and less often.

While meditation is great, I think having hobbies that you love doing is more ideal. For example, I love cooking. If I get into that anxious state and I can't grab a hold of one of my close friends right away, I'll cook to distract me and put a holt to that negative chain of thoughts. Cooking gives me time to cool down and revisit the situation at a later time. It ends up helping me realize that it's not as bad as I was making it out to be.

So I think demanding, readily available hobbies that require your full attention are a big help!

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First of all, it is important to realize that you are not alone. Also, It is really important to try to minimize negative thoughts, so you wont let it affect your self-esteem or self worth, as well as your relationships with others.  What do you do to try to deal with negative thoughts? I often feel that when I journal my negative thoughts and I become aware of it-- I take measures to try to minimize it. For instance-- whenever I feel that I am inadequate, I remind myself of my past success and achievements.  I also surround myself with people who believe in me and see me as a wonderful person. You also have to start developing your self-confidence and self-wroth, you have to trust in your abilities to make decisions.  Why do you feel your decisions are wrong or irrational? Did you think about the consequences of your decisions before you make decisions? Do you understand the pros and cons of your decisions? Do you take your time before you make a decision? Do you anticipate difficulties and challenges associated with your decisions

 

Additionally, I am a quite spiritual person-- which I think really helps me emotionally and psychologically. My highest priority is to be a loving person to myself and to other people I encounter. I think if you start loving yourself, with all your strength and your weekness-- you will start being less harsh on yourself. 

 

If you feel things do not improve after a while-- try to talk to counsellors in school.

 

Best of Luck :)

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Honestly, meditation could be a long-term solution, or at least improvement. I say long-term because you have to meditate every day for months before you brain starts to significantly rewire itself. Regardless, immediate and short-lasting benefits can be seen. But it's the long-term that you're after.

 

"Meditating" is not easy if it is only an abstract idea in your mind. If you have no experience, I would recommend Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/) and the mobile app you can download. It's basically a series of guided meditation sessions with Andy (https://youtu.be/qzR62JJCMBQ). You do them every day, and they progress slowly towards something slightly more complex. The concept is really nicely thought-out.

 

Let us know if you decide to try it out!

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It's tough, but I would say try to find a balance in life where you can fit in exercise or like others said meditation/yoga, it will really help you mentally. Exercise because I really felt that by doing so, I felt so much better about myself physically and mentally. 

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