every semester i tell myself everything is going to be stress free this time


- Where Harry doesn’t talk and falls in love with Y/n.

Masterlist linked in bio

It’s Monday, which means that Harry has to start his week with Physics class.

Harry doesn’t mind the subject itself, he actually has come to the conclusion that it’s the class he’s most interested in—it’s more so the three-hour lab that couldn’t seem to end soon enough. Physics lab means three hours of group research, which requires an abundance of group participation and discussion—all of which makes Harry want to crawl out of his own skin.

And despite Physics holding Harry’s highest grade in university, everyone in that class only hopes to not be paired with him.

Not one student has heard him utter a single word, which ultimately led them to believe that his lack of participation will jeopardize their already mediocre grades. But Harry always finds himself writing all the data information to make up for his lack of discussion, even if he hated it.

So inevitably, Harry lets out an inaudible sigh when he settles into his chair, hair a bit disheveled and eyes still watering from the early hour. And he mentally curses himself for sleeping in a couple extra minutes because now he hasn’t gotten a single ounce of caffeine to help him feel more prepared for the next three hours.

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how i organize
  •  one-subject notebooks. 
    • These saved my life. I know everyone’s always saying to keep your stuff in one place and keep track of it all at once, and the way to do that is (apparently) thick, 5-subject looseleaf notebooks and 3″ binders. These have never worked for me, and here’s why: the larger the notebook, the more it catches and rips and doesn’t close right. 
    • Plus, the larger the notebook, the longer you use it, and the longer it has to survive that wear and tear! (Bonus: without having to worry about the notebook being destroyed, I also don’t have to buy the more expensive and durable brands; now I only pay for quality of paper and pretty colours!)  
    • So, I use one-subject notebooks for each class and go through multiple (I’ve never noticed a significant cost difference). A single one-subject notebook lasts me 4-6 units, or about one quarter/half a semester. When I complete a notebook, I simply begin the next, and carry only the newest one with me places. The previous notebooks are kept in my study space so I can always reference them as though it’s one large book, and I rarely need the previous chapters for in-class work. 
    • I start with one notebook per class plus one notebook purely for scribbles or rip-out looseleaf paper, and keep a supply of empty notebooks at my permanent study space.
  • central grade collection. 
    • I do this because it’s easy to reference back to. Soooo many terrible teachers who simply don’t trust their students. Feels nice to whip out a test to prove you were right (and aced it!). Calculating the grade myself makes me more aware of what’s going on with my academics. My biggest downfall this year was not paying attention to my grades!
    • I used to use an accordion folder for this, but this year I’m going to try combining that with a digital file.
    • Whenever I receive a grade back, the paper copy goes in a physical folder and the percentage/grade itself goes onto a file on my computer.
    • The physical folder is organized by classes. As I receive grades back, the newest goes in the front, so each class is naturally ordered chronologically. I tried organizing it further by putting flags to tell apart tests, quizzes, essays, etc. It worked well but eventually I just didn’t bother.
    • The computer file is actually multiple files (again, one for each class). An excel spreadsheet or a simple word doc works well. I specify the material as much as possible (for example, “Unit 1: Trig. Quiz 1: Identities. Date: 7-4-2015″ using both words and numbers) so I can easily search for it later. Next to it goes the numerical and letter grade. I’m thinking of incorporating a note-taking system as well, listing what went wrong and such.
    • This sounds like a lot of work, but it takes very little time and is well worth it. Logging the grades take about 5 minutes, tops. I often find myself putting off work by organizing grades. Obviously it’s hard to log things instantly, so I keep a stack of “to be graded” on my desk until I get around to it.
    • Oh, and keep the physical folder safe in your room/dorm. Carrying it around for spiteful moments is not worth the risk of losing all your grades!
  • separate days.
    • I don’t know about you, but my school has something similar to a block schedule. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays all have the same classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays have the same classes as well. My method works for real block scheduling, too, for even/odd or on/off days. I once had a chronic problem of bringing in the wrong day’s homework. Not anymore!!
    • Basically, just keep the two workpiles separate.
    • I have two cabinets on my desk: one for MWF classes, one for TTh classes. On my desk at all times are my “daily” tools: laptop, charger, planner, pencil pouch, water bottle, etc.
    • In the morning, I always put my dailies in first so I don’t forget, then I check the calendar. Tuesday? Shove in the TTh stack. It’s as simple as that.
    • When actually doing my homework, obviously, prioritize. There isn’t a hardfast “do your homework the day you get it” rule, especially since studying is a process! But when nothing’s especially urgent and I don’t have a favourite assignment, I literally flip a coin.
  • computer files have to be neat.
    • I have so many subfolders I don’t know what to do with them.
    • Separate everything, again, and again, and again. And label it all to hell and back. You can never have a file title that’s too long.
  • You know how you can make multiple accounts on your computer? Admin vs user? Yeah, do that.
    • Make your admin account your free-time, slacker account.
    • Make your user account your work account.
    • Make all the settings admin-only accessible. Don’t get distracted by downloading random crap while doing your homework. Put restrictions on internet usage, gameplay, etc. To get distracted, you have to make the effort to enter an admin password every time you get off task.
    • Bonus: during presentations, you never have to worry about accidentally opening something embarrassing. Everything embarrassing should be in your personal account!
  • Lastly: don’t stress! 
    • When I stress, everything gets disorganized. My mind gets cluttered and so does the rest of my life. I used to stress so hard about grades.
    • If you don’t think you can make the deadline, don’t. One grade is not worth a night of sleep and mental health.
    • If the grade is super important (not all grades are like this: prioritize!) work on it as hard as you can. Don’t stress; put all that stressful energy into the work. Focus your ass off. If you can’t do that, it’s time to stop.
    • Talk to the teacher the next day. Take responsibility for your mistake. Apologize, and do not give excuses. Show to your teacher that you care more about the learning than the grade; it will pay off in the long run.
    • The day after missing a huge assignment is rough. Don’t let it get to you! Dwelling on this assignment only sets you up for failure on any other assignments you have that day. Focus on those and not on what you did wrong. Have yourself a good break, snack, jog, and get back in there. The world isn’t over!
Law School is crazy hard, insane, and YOU ALL SHOULD STILL GO

Ok, so after my post about why grades matter so much during 1L and law school in general, I saw loads of people suddenly decide that law school wasn’t for them and that’s fine… except that was ONE ASPECT of law school… and also I answered that during finals which is honestly the most stressful time I’ve ever had in my life and I’ve gone through some shit… So someone asked me this question

So look, everything I said about grades is true…BUT there are a million other ways to be successful in law school. 

1. OCI (as someone in a reblog mentioned) is for people that want to go into Big Law which means the big huge law firms in the country. There are tooons of medium sized and smaller law firms and governmental entities and companies that also employ super successful lawyers. 

2. Law school is more than just simply getting a job. Yes. Getting a job is a huge part of it, but being a lawyer means you’ll speak a whole different language. The language of the law, which is ultimately what guides our country and our lives. This is not necessarily political. Let me give you a quick anecdote: 

My dad has been a mechanic for over 20 years. Last year he proudly bought his first ever brand new fresh off the lot car. He took in the car to the dealership to have a recall problem fixed, and not only did they not fix the problem but they broke something else in the car. Then they tried to charge my dad for the problem they had caused. My dad called me and asked me if I could write a complaint letter because the manager had been extremely rude to him. Let me tell you why that happened… because my dad speaks broken English. That’s the only reason they thought they could get way with it even though he has a lifetime of experience. I wrote a letter, called the better business bureau, called the dealership and left a voicemail. BUT THEN I called the car company (not naming brands but still) and I told them I was going to put in a complaint with the agency that deals with recalls. I started talking generally about how if anything happened to my family because they refused to fix a recall a certain governmental agency would be very interested to know why this happened. Agencies I learned about in law school, processes I learned about in LAW SCHOOL. Needless to say, my dad was treated like royalty afterward. Having a law school education makes you an ADVOCATE. 

3. Ok finally. I am not top 10%. I am not getting A’s left and right. I have Some A’s, A-’s, and B’s. My first semester I even got a B- in one class. BUT I still achieved everything I wanted, even if I didn’t get it the way I thought I would. Law school is a whole different beast and you have to remember that ONE way is not the ONLY way. I was extremely proactive and applied to a million things and there are plenty of programs that promote diversity which allow people like me to fulfill their potential by making opportunities more available to them. This summer I will be interning for a federal judge for six weeks because of a special program through the ABA (American bar association) which tries to get more diverse students into federal internships (which are quite prestigious). For my last six weeks of summer, I will be interning in Mexico City with the Mexican government through my law school. Being bilingual and bi-cultural definitely helped me land that job. Finally, during the summer of 2018, I have a summer associate position with a firm that is considered “Big Law” because I applied and received a wonderful scholarship for diversity students that includes a job position. All of these things didn’t happen JUST because of my grades. My grades are good, they’re not the best, but I have other activities that I partake in, other skills that my previous jobs have provided me, and I put myself out there every step of the way. 

So to all of you that were intimidated by my post about grades… One way is not the only way. Do YOUR best. Put yourself out there. Refuse to let ANY opportunity go by without at least TRYING. You can’t be afraid of a few No’s because then you’ll never get to that one YES that you need. 

PS. And yes there are a lot of manipulative people in law school (depending on what school you go to) but I can honestly say that my law school section is full of GOOD people, even though there are a lot A LOT of things we disagree about, I have NEVER asked for help without RECEIVING help, and that goes for my entire law school. In this increasingly polarized society, there will never be a place where everyone thinks like you and agrees with you. You do have to be tough to come into law school, but tough looks a million different ways. Some of they most shy, quietest people I know are the strongest and most successful law students as well. If you stop yourself from dreaming because you are afraid that others might not want you to succeed then you’ll never break free. Believe in You. Ultimately, that’s all you can control anyway. 

anonymous asked:

Hey Jieun, currently my loans for Uni are stacking up and it's giving me the worst anxiety. While my mom is paying for it partially, I know that it's tough on her financially. I just feel like such a failure bc I'm not going after a more lucrative~ career. I'm an English/Writing major rn and while I'm not that passionate about I know that it'd be a lot worst had I taken let's say the medical path. God, I just feel constantly guilty and I feel like I'm constantly a burden to my mom (1/?)

And she’s so frugal with her money and again constantly feel at fault for putting her in a situation like this. I wanted to go to a private school so here I am. Idk it’s just eating me up inside and every time I think about my situation rn I feel miserable. I also have this relentless fear that I’ll never make it up to my mom for all she’s done for me. It terrifies me to no end and I’m just so tired. I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future and I’m just so afraid (2/2)

hi bud, i know exactly how you feel. while i may not have been in the most extreme financial crisis while attending college, believe me, my university fees were ridiculously beyond what i could’ve afforded to pay for myself (even buying plane tickets to and from ny/cali stressed me out i stopped coming home for holidays). my parents never really said anything or made me feel bad about it bc they genuinely believed it was their financial responsibility to pay for my education. but like you, i always had this cloud of guilt looming over my head every time the email for the semester bill came.

i know that you may feel like all you’re doing is wasting your mom’s hard-money, especially bc there hasn’t been any immediate response hinting success let alone promising one, but i just want you to know that any good parent wants to do everything they can for their child. the fact that your mom allowed you to major in english/writing, is supporting your career dreams, and is working rigorously to help pay for your tuition shows more than enough how much she loves you and believes in you.

so think of yourself and what you are doing now in college as a long-term investment. work diligently to be the best english major/writer you can be, absorb as much knowledge as you can from both your peers and professors, and create invaluable experiences beyond the classroom during the rest of your life as a uni student. those four years fly by soooo quickly so take advantage of every opportunity (and free food event!!! haha) while you can.

i think both you and your mom will be just fine. the mere fact that you are not only conscious of situations like this, but actually want to actively do something about it, tells me you’re very ambitious and responsible. you just want to be a good daughter and give your mom everything bc that’s exactly what she’s been doing for you since day one…. but you just don’t know how to or where to start or if you’ll ever be able to. but you can and you will bc you have potential. i know it, your mom knows it, and now you know it 😊😊😊

so you’ve had a bad semester: how to recover and get ready for a fresh start

everyone has bad semesters. everyone. there will come a point in time where you will have a tough professor, or a lot going on at home, or a lot going on with your health, or a lot going on at work. i’m here to tell you that it’s okay. it is so okay to have that bad semester! your gpa will recover. you will recover! right now, you might feel awful and like a failure, but i’m living proof that goofing up is not the end of the world.

in high school, i had a pretty high gpa, was in my school’s ib diploma programme, and did consistently well in school. some semesters were straight As, some were As and Bs, but i never got anything below a B despite struggling with some pretty bad anxiety.

for college i moved two hours away from home to a school full of strangers. this was horrible for my social anxiety and slowly my grades began to slip by. my first semester i made the classic, freshman mistake of thinking, “i can just read the textbook and teach myself” for one of my classes. so i stopped going. i failed that class and got a D in the lab that went along with it.

every semester following that one was a big struggle for me. i got at least a C every semester and i’ve since failed four or five more classes (i try to not think about it too much). over the past year things got incredibly bad–so bad that i had to change my major (accounting) to something ‘less hard and learning-based’ (english lit, which i excel at with minimal effort). this semester i went to counseling services, got diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and have started taking steps to getting both of those things under control.

this semester i got all As and Bs again. i made the dean’s list for the first time.

so, let me get to the meat of this post. here are a few tips and tricks i’ve learned over the years to recuperate after a tough semester.

  1. accept responsibility, but don’t beat yourself up about it. it’s easy to get trapped in hysterically saying ‘i fucked up i fucked up i fucked up’. this cycle is not healthy nor is it effective. to recover and move on from this semester, so you can look towards a brighter future, you have to get your head out of the past. take a few deep breaths. acknowledge that you didn’t do well, but also acknowledge that you have the capacity to do better next semester. one bad grade (or one semester of bad grades) does not make you a bad student.
  2. examine what happened. it’s hard to look back on your failures and relive the horrors of a bad semester- trust me, i know. but it’s important to look at the class(es) you did poorly in and figure out why you had a hard time. did you struggle with going to class? was it an online class and you frequently forgot to turn in assignments? did the professor’s teaching methods not work will with what kind of learner you are? did you study enough? was the class simply hard? try to figure out the factor(s) that contributed to your unsatisfactory grade.
  3. come up with a game plan. after identifying what went wrong last semester, it’s time to figure out how to resolve each issue you’ve discovered. here are some examples:
    - if you are struggling with mental illness, i highly, highly suggest you seek help from your university’s counseling services (which should be free) or your high school counselor. letting mental illness fester because you think it will go away or that you’ll be able to get it under control can really hurt you later on. if you can’t seek professional help, do what research online you can to find coping mechanisms and rituals you can go through to help you.
    - if you had a hard time understanding the professor, arranging a meeting with them or e-mailing back and forth with them can be very helpful if not a little embarrassing at first. your professor will commend you for reaching out to them for advice after doing poorly. if you have to repeat their class, you can even start building a repertoire with them before the new semester begins.
    - if you had a hard time staying focused in class, consider recording your professor if you are in a lecture-heavy class. it’s impossible to write down everything they say- if you try, you’re likely to miss something important. instead, write down what key concepts they stress in class- sometimes professors will even say outright ‘this will be on your next exam’- and go over details later. be sure to get your professor’s permission to record them!!! just a little voice recorder will do.
    - if you had a heavy course load this semester and felt overwhelmed, make an appointment with your academic adviser. discuss what was successful and unsuccessful this semester. let them help you plan out future semesters- advisers frequently have a lot of info on different courses and professors and know which courses are more challenging. build a schedule that has a balance of challenging and not-so-challenging courses. it is okay to drop to 12 credit hours (or even below)! don’t let the graduate-in-four-years formula hurt you. it’s best to take your time and do well than to try to rush and do poorly.
  4. step back. take time to yourself. don’t obsess over school. read that book series you’ve been wanting to read, or go out with friends, or play that video game you’ve been itching to try. get lost in enjoying yourself for a little while. just because you didn’t do well in school this semester doesn’t mean you should punish yourself.
  5. think positively. i admit, this piece of advice is a little hokey, but that doesn’t make it any less important. if you think that you aren’t going to do well this semester, you are likely setting yourself up to do poorly. believing that you can do well this next semester will help you to stay positive and stay on track. when things get tough, you’ll be able to say that you are tougher, and push through.
  6. find a support system. other friends in your major can often give you advice on what professors to take, or how to do well in certain classes. these friends can also be great support systems when you don’t do well. the sense of ‘everyone’s been there’ can be comforting without condoning slacking off.
  7. go into the next semester prepared. this goes along with having a game plan. e-mail your professors ahead of time to ask for the first unit’s powerpoints, or for syllabi, or textbook lists. ask them what they believe will help you get an A or otherwise do as best as possible in their courses. take mental health days off during the break between semesters so you go into the semester will a clear head and a lot of determination.
  8. keep trying. just because you haven’t done well once doesn’t mean you can’t do well the second time around. if the courses you’re taking this semester seem difficult, don’t let that intimidate you into thinking you would fail anyway. keep studying and keep revising until you get the concepts- or until you have felt like you have done all that you can do. giving up is easy. don’t do what’s easy (unless, of course, not doing what’s easy would negatively impact your health. health comes first).

there you have it! my tips for recovering after a less-than-stellar semester. if you need any advice or have more questions about this or college life, please don’t be afraid to shoot me an ask!

- KL

How to Study Biochemistry Pathways: Flashcards & Whiteboards

To start off, I need to say that I’m not recommending flipping through flashcards to study. Certain parts of biochemistry I might be simple enough to use flashcards for that purpose, but once you start things like Glycolysis and Kreb’s Cycle you’ll need to abandon that method for the most part. This is especially important for biochemistry II because pretty much all you do in that class is pathway after pathway after pathway. And you’ll have to remember every single one you learn, even after you’re tested on it. Because on subsequent tests you’ll be asked how you can use an intermediate from one pathway to enter a previous one you learned. You’ll need to know how these pathways overlap, inside and out, backward and forward.

Biochemistry is extremely cumulative. Do NOT take this lightly. So much so that it’s nearly impossible to fully catch up if you get behind. So you will really need to stay on top of everything and keep practicing past pathways if you want to get an A. I’m not kidding. You might be able to squeak by in biochemistry I because pathways are only the tail end of the semester, but that is impossible in biochemistry II. I’m really stressing this because it’s absolutely true and I wish I had someone to tell me this when I was taking it. I don’t want you to have the same struggle I did after getting behind.

For me, the purpose of flashcards was to store information about each specific reaction step in every pathway. Some reactions require more notes than others. There will be some very short exceptions, but for the most part I recommend separating each step. The way I practiced the pathways was, well, by practicing them. There’s really no shortcut to this; you will need to know every intermediate structure (but focus on important ones noted by your professor), and writing them out again and again is honestly the most efficient way to learn them. If there are big whiteboards available to you around campus use them for this purpose. Otherwise you could use a small whiteboard. My flashcards really were just my step-by-step way of checking my work, but by making them you are studying. And, okay, if I have “dead time” like standing in line for something or waiting for class to start I might flip through them, just don’t make that your primary method for studying.

Now onto how I personally organize my reaction flashcards. This “style” of flashcards can apply to other classes as well; I use it for advanced organic chemistry, also.

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A College Student’s Guide to Dealing With Anxiety About Due Dates, Schedules, and Other Things

Ok, so, you’ve got anxiety about that due date? Don’t think you’ll be able to finish the semester? Anxious that something will go wrong this semester? Well, as a college student who thinks too much about the future and has been in school for 10 years, let me tell you how I fight my anxiety. 

1. I do things early. I give myself about 3-4 days extra to budge around when writing papers and studying. It really works. I write my papers in sections for a few days so I have free time and it’s not weighing on my mind. Whenever I think about my paper, a rush of relief comes over me because I have already started it. 

2. I plan my routes. I plan my walking route from building to building. I make sure I double check to make sure I know where that building my class is in is. 

3. Double Check. For example, make sure you double check classroom numbers and building locations on the first day of class. Have it written on your hand. Have it on your cell phone. Double check everything before you turn it in. Triple check that shiz, even. Papers need to be triple checked also. 

4. Back things up. Back up everything. For example, have a hard copy backup of your room numbers and your schedule just in case your phone battery goes out on the way there. 

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Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Take a deep breath and read this.

Today I felt very overwhelmed and anxious with the assignments I have and their due dates. I decided to find a good article to read in order to calm myself down. I felt much better while I was reading it, and then I thought one of you guys could be needing this too. Below is a copy of this article as well as its source. I hope this article helps you feel better too. 

13 Questions To Ask Yourself If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

“ You skipped breakfast, your boss moved your deadline to the end of the day and you forgot to wear deodorant (again!). What do you do when it all feels like too much? Start by taking a deep breath and asking yourself a few of these questions.

1. Why Am I Overwhelmed?
"Overwhelm” is increasingly common as demands on human attention increase exponentially. The human brain just wasn’t designed to handle the environment we inhabit. For the vast majority of world history, human life – both culture and biology – was shaped by scarcity. Food, clothing, shelter, tools and pretty much everything else had to be farmed or fabricated, at a very high cost in time and energy. Knowledge was power, and it was hard to come by; for centuries, books had to be copied by hand and were rare and precious. Even people were scarce: Friends and relatives died young (as late as 1900, life expectancy in the United States was approximately 49 years). This kind of scarcity still rules the world’s poorest regions. But in the developed world, hundreds of millions of us now face the bizarre problem of surfeit. Yet our brains, instincts and socialized behavior are still geared to an environment of lack. The result? Overwhelm – on an unprecedented scale. 
– Martha Beck

2. Am I Really Busy Or Does It Just Feel This Way?
Most of us judge how busy we are by how much we have to do. When there are too many things to do, we think we’re busy, and when there isn’t much to do, it feels like we’re not busy at all. But in fact, we can feel busy when there isn’t that much to do, and we can feel relaxed even when there’s a lot going on. The states of “busy” and “not busy” aren’t defined by how many things there are to do. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as multitasking; the brain can tend to only one thing at a time. Being too busy or not being busy is an interpretation of our activity. Busy-ness is a state of mind, not a fact. No matter how much or how little we’re doing, we’re always just doing what we’re doing, simply living this one moment of our lives.
– Norman Fischer

3. What’s The Priority Here?
Think about it: Humans are the only creatures in nature that resist the pattern of ebb and flow. We want the sun to shine all night, and when it doesn’t, we create cities that never sleep. Seeking a continuous energetic and emotional high, we use everything from exciting parties to illegal chemicals. But natural ebbs – the darkness between days, the emptiness between fill-ups, the fallow time between growing seasons – are the necessary complements of upbeats. They hold a message for us. If you listen at your life’s low points, you’ll hear it, too. It’s just one simple, blessed word: Rest.
– Martha Beck

4. What If I Don’t Have Enough Time?
There are two problems with time. The first one is that after a certain number of hours fatigue inevitably sets in. After that, you make more mistakes, you get into more conflict with co-workers, you’re less creative and you’re less efficient. The second problem with time is that it’s finite, and most of us don’t have any of it left to invest. Our dance cards are full. For example, in an effort to get more done, one of the first things we’re willing to sacrifice is sleep.

But consider this disturbing fact: Sleeping even a single hour less than our bodies require reduces our cognitive capacity dramatically. Much as we try, we can’t fool our bodies. Consider this statistic: Even a single hour less sleep than you need to feel fully rested takes a significant toll on your capacity to think clearly and logically when you’re awake. Sacrificing sleep is self-defeating. So, what’s the solution? It’s not to manage your time better. It’s to manage your energy. 
– Tony Schwartz

5. Am I Surrounded By Energy Suckers?
Energy Suckers (a.k.a Negative Nancies, Debbie Downers and Sad Sids). These are the people who find the cloud around every silver lining. If you can’t cut them out of your life entirely, turn your interactions with them into a game. When my neighbor says, “I hate this horrible weather!” I say, “Isn’t horrible weather great? It means I don’t have to wash my car!" 
– Donna Brazile

6. Do I Have to Do It All By Myself?
Insisting on doing everything yourself burdens you and prevents others from feeling valuable and needed. Delegate more at home and at work, and free your time for things you love and excel at. 
– Julie Morgenstern

7. What Would It Take For Me To Just Say No?
Most people claim they give in to sudden requests because they hate letting others down. I say it’s more about not disappointing ourselves: We’re hooked on feeling needed. If we take a hard look at ourselves, we might see that we unwittingly encourage people to come to us for every little thing. Interruptions can also be a welcome distraction. Faced with an unpleasant task, we’re more than happy to turn our attention elsewhere. Finally, we often don’t say no because of simple disorganization. In a choppy and shapeless day, we handle disruption immediately because we figure, if not now, when? While it’s important to be reasonably accessible to the people you live and work with, you don’t want to spend most of your waking hours in helper mode at the expense of completing your own critical tasks. Even if you’re in crisis management or, for that matter, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you need to prioritize requests. Otherwise you get trapped in a whirlwind of multitasking where you start many things and finish nothing. 
– Julie Morgenstern

8. Is My Stuff Taking Over My Life?
Every single person I have met tells me not only about their own clutter problems but about those of a family member, or those of a friend. Nobody seems immune. The stories are not dissimilar – papers and magazines run amok, garages overflow with unopened boxes, kids’ toys fill rooms, and closets are so stuffed that it looks like the clothing department of a major retailer is having a fire sale. The epidemic of clutter, the seeming inability to get organized, and the sense that "the stuff” is taking over affects us all. We are at the center of an orgy of consumption, and many are now seeing that this need to own so much comes with a heavy price: kids so overstimulated by the sheer volume of stuff in their home that they lose the ability to concentrate and focus. Financial strain caused by misplaced bills or overpurchasing. Constant fighting because neither partner is prepared to let go of their possessions. The embarrassment of living in a house that long ago became more of a storage facility than a home. This clutter doesn’t come just in the form of the physical items that crowd our homes. We are bombarded every day with dire predictions of disaster and face many uncertainties – some real and many manufactured. Think about the perils that we’ve been warned about in the last decade alone – killer bees, Y2K, SARS, anthrax, mad cow disease, avian flu, flesh-eating bacteria… the list goes on and on. We are also faced daily with reports of war, an unstable economy and global terrorism coming very close to home. Surprisingly, this endless barrage (its own kind of clutter) inspires many of the families with whom I work to finally take control of their own clutter. In an unpredictable, dangerous world that is out of their control, they look to their homes for stability – to get some degree of organization back into their closets, their garages, their home offices, their lives. This quest for organization is a deeply personal response to the feeling that the rest of the world is out of control. 
– Peter Walsh

9. But, I Want So Much. Will I Ever Be Enough?
When we are busy focusing on what we don’t have, we don’t pay attention to what we do have. Wanting is different from having. Wanting is in the future. It is based on an idea of what might make you happy in five minutes, tomorrow, next week. But having is here, now. Most of us don’t let ourselves have what’s in front of us, so we’re always wanting more. When you don’t let yourself have what you already have, you are always hungry, always searching, always restless. 
– Geneen Roth

10. Am I Breaking Out Because I’m Stressed Out?
As the mind-skin connection gains credence, beauty companies have seized on the new marketing opportunity, launching serums and balms that they say cater specifically to the effects of stress on the skin. Without any independent clinical trials to back up these product claims, dermatologists are skeptical about how effective they might be. But doctors do advocate paying extra attention to your skin during tumultuous times. “If you already use acne products, increase the frequency of application when you’re entering a stressful period,” says Fried. And because skin’s immunity is impaired when you’re under stress, making you more susceptible to sun damage, he says, it’s even more important to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. A bonus: Taking special care with your daily beauty regimen may help soothe your spirits as well as your skin. Fried conducted a study in which 32 women used an alpha hydroxy acid lotion on their faces for 12 weeks. Their skin felt smoother in the end, but the participants also reported feeling happier in general. “As soon as these women saw an improvement in their skin, it fostered a wider-reaching sense of optimism,” says Richard Fried, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and clinical psychologist. “Their feelings of stress or depression also decreased because they felt more in control – over their skin, their bodies, their world." 
– Jenny Bailly

11. Is All Stress Bad?
Short-term stress triggers the production of protective chemicals and increases activity in immune cells that boost the body’s defenses; think of it as having your own personal repair crew. "A burst of stress quickly mobilizes this ‘crew’ to damaged areas where they are likely to be needed,” explains Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD, director of research at the Stanford University Center on Stress and Health. As a result, your brain and body get a boost. A quick surge of stress can stave off disease: Studies suggest that it strengthens the immune system, makes vaccinations more effective, and may even protect against certain types of cancer. Small amounts of stress hormones can also sharpen your memory. In 2009 University at Buffalo researchers found that when rats were forced to swim – an activity that stresses them out – they remembered their way through mazes far better than rats that chilled out instead. The key, of course, is balance. Too little stress and you’re bored and unmotivated; too much and you become not just cranky but sick. “It’s important to pay attention to your stress thermometer,” and to stay below the boiling point, explains life coach Ruth Klein, author of The De-Stress Diva’s Guide to Life. 
– Melinda Wenner Moyer

12. Is It Better to Fight Anxiety or Is It Okay to Be Nervous?
Accept that you’re having an anxiety moment – trying to squelch or deny it will only make it worse – and just focus on what’s in front of you, says David Barlow, PhD, founder of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. If you’re at an interview, meeting or party, listen intently to what the other person is saying. Make eye contact. When it’s your turn to speak, be conscious of every word you say. If you’re at your desk, respond to overdue e-mails or tackle the pile in your in-box. Whatever you’re doing, take a few deep breaths to help let the anxious thoughts and feelings float on by. 
– Naomi Barr 

13. How Do I Stop Focusing on the Clock?
The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice. Here are three exercises to help you move in this direction:

  • Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life. Become friendly toward the present moment. Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed.
  • Be present as the watcher of your mind – of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.
  • Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence beneath the sounds. Touch something – anything – and feel and acknowledge its Being. Allow the “isness” of all things. Move deeply into the Now.
– Eckhart Tolle"