Anxiety Experiment #24: Tell Yourself a Pump-Up Story (with Soundtrack)

rockydown.jpg

When I truly need mojo...I put on the Rocky 4 soundtrack. According to a highly unscientific poll I conducted (with friends and acquaintances born in the 70s), this Cold War Rocky made a strong impression on many people who continue even to the present day to dip into "Hearts on Fire" or "Burning Heart" as needed.

 Rocky 4 was not high on subtlety.

Rocky 4 was not high on subtlety.

Listening to Eye of the Tiger -- which was originally released in Rocky 3 and then "recycled" in Rocky 4, Wikipedia notes -- doesn't only make fans like me recall a heated Man vs Machine showdown, or an unparalleled training montage (and yes, you should watch all 7 minutes of this video):

It also harkens back to the story of a young and poor Sylvester Stallone trying to sell his script. A born underdog with a paralyzed face, Stallone managed to sell the script and himself to the studio.

(The backstory is up for debate. This 1979 New York Times profile tells one story. Snopes suggests there's another.)

I use the young Stallone chutzpah as a lever to help myself out of rejections and failures. I slap an abbreviated Rocky 4 onto Spotify -- there really are only 5 songs worth listening to -- and imagine myself running through the snows of Siberia. Yeah, I can face the job search again. If Rocky can chop massive firewood with a beard, I can do this.

Feel free to use Rocky as needed, or think back to a story that pushes you back into mojo. Preferably it includes music too. Then watch your fortunes turn around.

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Anxiety Experiment #22: Change Your Body Temperature

 Henri Matisse, Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922.

Henri Matisse, Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922.

I've found that when I'm stuck in cyclical thinking, or just feeling stuck changing my body temperature actually makes a difference. A hot bath is one way to go, but lately I've been finding a cool breeze is often what I need most.

Try removing a layer of clothing or opening a window when you're stuck in your thoughts. It’s simple, but it actually helps bring you back into the moment. The goal is getting grounded. Changing your body temperature helps.

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Anxiety Experiment #21: Don't Compare

comparing yourself to others

Since you're a human being and you're alive in 2017, I'm guessing you're aware of the "comparing yourself" problem. You know, the situation where a person wastes time worrying that their neighbor/friend/coworker has a better life / things more figured out / a better job than they do?

It's a cancerous thought problem, and this experiment is meant to tackle it head-on.

You're hearing this from the frontlines: it's possible to dent the "comparing" problem.

Change the habit.

I've lessened the amount that I compare myself to others in the past three years by building on my mental habit. At first it took brute force. Over time it has gotten easier and more natural. Here's how it works: If I feel my mind start to bend toward comparison, I literally say the following two words to myself,

DON'T COMPARE.

 I then think about how I couldn’t live like others even if I wanted to.

Keep it simple, build the muscle.

It can be very hard to put theoreticals into action. That's why this experiment really is just about saying these words aloud to yourself:

“Don’t compare.” “Don’t compare.”

I hope this experiment works for you! Sending you good, non-comparison thoughts.

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Anxiety Experiment #14: Create a Bullet Journal

bullet journal stress relief

I learned about bullet journals from the good people of the Beautiful Voyager Slack channel. I am looking forward to trying this experiment out myself, and can see why the people who have written about this are so obsessed. The best description of how bullet journals work is definitely this in-depth, fully-illustrated Buzzfeed post

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