Contending with stress

Bella Tollestrup-Wimbish

Why you should remember to enjoy the now


During stressful times, I am reminded of a quote by Oprah Winfrey: “Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.”

A report from the American Psychological Association found that a high amount of Americans are stressed about the future, money, and work, but 87 percent of the people surveyed agreed on a desire for people to take a deep breath and calm down.

With the stress that people go through a daily, everyone forgets to take care of themselves and enjoy the now because people are too focused on tomorrow. I have noticed this occurring more often in college students.

The stress students go through can be heard in conversations, seen in their facial expressions or shown in actions when they deny an offer to have fun because it does not fit their plans.

I used to think that I needed to have everything planned for tomorrow, the upcoming week and the month.

I would set unrealistic goals for myself about what I needed to achieve by the end of the month, and when the end of the month came, I would stress about how I didn’t achieve something as silly as reading a certain amount of books, and would feel guilty.

That guilt prevented me from being happy with my day to day life. Because I was not focused on living in the day but on long term things that come in the future, I would end up getting nothing done because of the thoughts of feeling my small effort today did not mean anything.

I have realized that some stress comes from worrying too much about the future. Stressing about something that is not even here yet is pointless. All it does is take away from time enjoying the moment.

In a constantly changing world, with so much going on, people need to remember that they are not going to get everything done that they want to, and that should be okay.

As college students, we’re constantly told that we should have our lives together and that we need to have a plan.

If someone is always planning and living for tomorrow, then they never live for today.

While planning is helpful, it’s okay to not know what you’re doing with the future. When someone always plans the future, they start to live in it and they forget about what they have in the present. What they need to do for them today to achieve where they want to be.

Be content with the small steps it takes you to get to your goals today, rather than thinking about the big steps you have to take in the future. All that causes is anxiety that brings doubt and insecurity.

We even end up making excuses about things we don’t get done, telling ourselves that we don’t need to do that today, we can do it tomorrow. We get stuck in this cycle of not doing something we want or feel the need to do in the present because we think we have tomorrow to achieve it.

But tomorrow is never guaranteed, only today is.

Of course everyone has to prioritize their responsibilities with work and school, but there has to be a balance in life that everyone finds for themselves, because life should not be this miserable cycle of all work no play.

Since every person is different, that can mean a variety of things, but find time to do something you love everyday.

I’m not saying don’t have a plan because plans can work well sometimes. Just don’t let those plans consume the day.

Remember about appreciating the small things like calling your mom, watching a movie, playing a sport, drinking tea and just talking and laughing with friends, because we can never get back a day that has already past.