Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: Overcoming the Downs and Focusing on What Is Important

Do you ever beat yourself up over something, such as decisions you've made, or something you said to someone else? I must admit I am guilty of this, and I tend to rewind some scenarios in my head, wishing I’d done X instead of Y. (Is it just me, or does your brain decide to mess with you, proceeding to recall every single embarrassing thing you have done in your life right as you are about to go to sleep?)

The process of self-evaluation, whether it takes place right before you go to bed or otherwise, is probably a good thing to a certain degree – by thinking back on that good deed you did that deserves a self high five or reflecting on a situation you wish you handled better, I believe you are taking a step towards becoming a better person (cheesy, I know).

However, once you enter what I call the black hole of negative thinking, you go deeper and deeper – what started as "I don’t think I made the right decision by choosing X…" may lead to "I am so dumb for not knowing better", and eventually end with something like "OH MY GOD WHAT AM I EVEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?!" Oh brain, why do you torment us so?

When you get stuck in a rut like this, it is highly likely that you would not be able to focus on your studies, let alone get enough sleep (which, of course, would affect your ability to focus on your studies, again – and we really don’t want to fail that mid-term, do we?).

What you have to remind yourself when this sort of thing happens, though, is that your decision must have felt right at the time. You really couldn’t have known better! I speak from experience when I say that sometimes, plan B beats plan A. What I mean by this is that as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I like to have everything planned ahead of time – even my plan B has a plan B. There have been many occasions, however, when circumstances did not go as my master calendar had planned, and I was pleasantly surprised. At times when I thought I was stuck with the worst, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Didn’t get that dream internship? Or did you enroll in a course that you might not be particularly interested in, and now you are stuck with it for what feels like forever? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter! Dwelling solves nothing; the time spent dwelling is time that could be spent looking for even better internships, classes, or simply being happy. Like renowned psychologist Daniel Kahneman said, "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it." So give yourself a break, and don’t sweat the small stuff – there are better things to be doing than living in the past.

P.S. It will all be okay in the end.

Moeka Komachi

About Moeka Komachi

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

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