A lot of people have commented to me about how cool-headed I seem, considering I am in the midst of planning a wedding a little over thirty days away. I can tell you that though I may not show it, there is in fact a ton of stress there, simmering just under the surface. But even with the persistent stress, I do feel more or less like I am keeping afloat amidst the chaos, and this has to do with two significant aspects: my general approach to stress, and the perspective I hold regarding the wedding itself.
In terms of my stress management, I have worked consciously for over a decade to be able to conduct myself well under pressure – those who knew me in high school will attest that I have not always been so, could have been termed, “flighty” at the best of times, and, “a total spaz” at the worst. This spazziness had a lot to do with the fact that I have ADHD, or “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” In a nutshell, ADHD basically means that my mind is running on all its cylinders all the time – I crave immersion, which can be wonderful, but if left unchecked will leave you spinning off into confusion and distraction. Life was constant stress. Goals were impossible to reach, lingering upon a horizon loaded with things yammering for my attention.
One of the things I am grateful for in overcoming my ADHD is my work. More than anything else in my life, my rigorous design education could not have been better built to occupy and hone my mind into a far more precise, functional machine. Through design, I have learned how to take an idea and bring it to complete execution. I have learned how to pull my immersive mind from other distractions, and concentrate it fully and singularly on the task at hand. And most importantly, I have been able to learn how to take a brain that is easily distracted, and exercise it with multiple projects at once, and have found a wealth of pleasure and fulfillment through doing so.
So, I suppose I can count myself among the lucky, as I am one of those people that thrives under pressure. Therefore, even when the wedding seemed overwhelming and unmanageable, I knew that I could conquer it. However, if you are not this type of person, I offer these encouraging pieces of advice:
No matter how big it seems, It’s not. Goals are notorious for having long shadows. No matter how daunting a project seems, it will undoubtably turn out to be not as big once you are in the midst of it, getting it done.
Break the boogie monster into little gremlins. Remember, there is no such thing as a big project – just a bunch of little projects that all need to get done. Take any task that seems insurmountable and break it into smaller and smaller pieces, until you are left with something that you feel you can actually do. Remember, the smaller the task, the more likely you will get it done.
LISTS. LISTS. LISTS. Yes, I am one of those people that is an obsessive list maker. And you should be, too, because THEY WORK. No matter how daunting a project is, it becomes manageable when you write down what needs to be done. Minds are sieves, not safes – so write that stuff down!
Be Confidant. More than anything, remember that you CAN do this thing. A positive outlook is the best thing you can take with you into any project, and will carry you through those moments when it feels like everything is falling apart. The self knowledge that every stumbling stone may be a springboard in disguise is a vital, crucial part of being successful in life and love, and will give you the perseverance to reach that silver lining.
What are your tips/tricks to handling stress?