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3 simple tips to not sweat the small stuff

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It’s that time of year again: holiday spirits are starting to fill the atmosphere, high school seniors are filling out college applications and workload for Stanford students is revving up as winter quarter will soon be arriving.

Amid the stress, mental roadblocks and overwhelming situations, it is important to remember one crucial piece of advice: don’t sweat the small stuff!

Over the past year, I’ve been reading one page a day from a pocketbook titled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Dr. Richard Carlson; this Sunday, I finished the book. Within the pages are simple tips that help alleviate life’s stressors. Allow me to share a few of these simple but transformative gems of advice with you:

Ask yourself, “Will what I’m worrying about matter a year from now?”

If you are stressing out over something, think about whether or not worrying about it will benefit you a year from now. For instance, I’m having an (unfixable) bad hair day today; I look like a sleep-deprived rooster. A couple of years from now, however, how my hair looks today will be forgotten –– it will not mean anything. Nada. Zilch. Therefore, I should stop worrying.

Don’t overthink. 

Have you ever struggled to remember someone’s name (or anything really) and then taken a nap or a long walk, only to stumble upon the answer along the way? I know I have. By giving your brain a break, you allow your mind to effortlessly pull out the answers from its subconscious division. Don’t believe me? Look at Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison; they used the same method when struggling with a mental roadblock. Don’t overthink it!

Treat yourself!

Life is stressful. I get it. Even though life is fast-paced for most of us, remember to give yourself a break, whether it is for five minutes, one hour or a full day. Oftentimes, what may seem as dogmatic stoicism (ex: pulling an all-nighter, like I did last week) is, in fact, counterproductive and a means to reach burnout.

That being said, take a break, treat yourself a little and then go about your life the way you normally would. Adopt healthy challenges. And if all else fails, remember that you know you best. Trust yourself!

Contact Matthew Mettias at mmettias ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Matthew ("Matt") Mettias '23 writes for the Grind. He is from Aiea, Hawaii. His hobbies include taking care of his Chihuahua puppy; playing pickup basketball; and listening to Jawaiian, rap/hip-hop and 1960s music. Contact him at mmettias 'at' stanford.edu.