Yes, this is the how-to guide to not freaking out–ever. You might be asking yourself how that’s possible. After all, there is a lot to freak out about in this world.
- Your job
- Place of residence
- Your appearance! Seriously! (just kidding, you look great)
- The dark
- The end of the world
These are serious concerns and you need to speak with a specialist…allow me to introduce myself. Before I put the proverbial cart before the horse and tell you how not to freak out, I would like to explain a little about why you should not freak out.
Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, Daniel H. is not a certified counselor. If his advice does not work for you…you’re not doing it right.
Why You Should Not Freak Out
According to the dictionary, freaking out is defined as:
People often connect this phrase with worrying, or excessive anxiety. It is also connected with poor stress management. In other words, these irrational reactions seem to be emotional reactions. Moreover, they are an exaggerated and imbalanced emotional response to your circumstances. And emotional imbalance is the antithesis of a solid human foundation.
I believe some would disagree with me and say that this “venting” of worry and stress is natural, even healthy. I agree with their theory that “venting” is cleansing to the soul, but I disagree that freaking out is venting. Venting is an intentional act of letting your inner teapot blow off some steam; freaking out is letting the teapot explode whenever and wherever the pressure gets too much. Venting can be channeled and constructive (that’s why hitting the gym after a stressful day is SO cathartic). Letting your emotions explode is a destructive act that can have serious repercussions. Emotionally exploding can be truly detrimental in high-risk environments (ask our first responders). Blowing your top during a critical mission can, in the worst case scenario, see you or someone else injured or dead.
Explosions of the inner teapot can negatively effect the people around you too. It is a proven fact that emotions are contagious, the same usually holds true for wildly irrational reactions to emotional stress. If you are part of a team (a family, a work committee, a sports team) your reactions to inner turmoil have the power to derail the team’s entire mission. If you are in a relationship (romantic, professional, or friendly) the way you handle your inner teapot can make the difference between success and failure in that relationship.
Freaking out can, and usually does, effect your health. You’ve heard it said “You are what you think you are.”, I believe that extends to emotional thought as well: “You are what you feel you are”. Think about the teapot analogy. Pressure is constantly building inside and occasionally issues out violently. Even in such a masterfully designed vessels as our bodies these extremes will eventually wear the vessel out. This is not how we were made to be–worn from the inside out.
How To Not Freak Out
There are, in my opinion, four steps to not freaking out. These steps can be used individually or conjunctively. The four steps are as follows:
Seek out solitude
No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, the noise and energy of modern society is only going to add to your own emotional energy. Right now you need focus. Preferably, you should find a quiet place in nature. I find that riverbanks are especially peaceful. While you are at your quiet place try not to think of the issue at hand and just concentrate on nature. Some problems have a way of lessening if you only wait and watch.
Sometimes you might not be able to escape to nature–but you can still find solitude. If the situation allows, close your eyes. Like before, don’t concentrate on the situation but rather concentrate on something firm and unyielding. If you have a personal creed now is the time to say it to yourself.
Seek the counsel of an intimate friend
We all know the solace that sharing with a friend brings and now is the time to find solace. Sharing is good and can be a form of constructive venting, but seeking counsel is definitely constructive. It gives you another perspective on your situation and soothes the soul if you do it peaceably, without frantic emotion.
Be careful, however, in choosing someone. An intimate friend is a necessity in this situation. If you are unmarried, your parents or mentor are the best bet. If you are married your spouse is the obvious choice (this accentuates the importance of choosing a spouse well). Only someone who truly understands you is likely to give good advice.
The wholehearted person does not freak out. Why? Because he does not care about anything that is peripheral to his goal. He is fixated on his journey to a destination and does not let the chaos of the world distract him. Freaking out is unthinkable because it distracts him. He is committed to something to the degree that even failure cannot hold him back. If you are wholehearted, you will not only keep from panicking, you will accomplish your dreams.
Firmly rely on Providence
The above heading is a paraphrase of one of the closing clauses of the United States Declaration of Independence. Imagine the times those men were in; it was a good time to panic! However, laced throughout there letters and documents before and after the Declaration, you see this reliance on Providence to carry them through.
How do you rely on Providence? It is not something that can be seen or felt directly. How is Providence supposed to keep you from panic? Because if you fight for good, you fight for God (knowingly or unknowingly). Good will always triumph over evil and Providence will never forsake mankind.
Now that I’ve outlined four steps which can help you not freak out, I hope you will be better prepared in the future. Also (I say this tongue in cheek), remember that feelings are just feelings. No matter how insurmountable they may seem, they can be conquered. The night is dark and seemingly interminable but dawn always comes. Choose not to freak out.
Peace be with you,