17 Ways To Lighten the Fuck Up, Calm the Fuck Down, And Remember That Sometimes Life’s Fuckery Only Looks So Big Because It’s Full of Secrets

“If you can't laugh at yourself, life's gonna seem a whole lot longer than you like.”
- Sam, Garden State

This is something I wish I could have given myself this time last year.
  1. Floss your teeth but move around your mouth in the opposite direction you usually do. If you don’t normally floss, try brushing your teeth with the wrong hand, a la Lifehacker. If you don’t normally brush your teeth, you should start. In any case (unless you are ambidextrous), enjoy laughing at yourself for being completely uncoordinated.

  2. Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and deliver one (or all) of these choice pickup lines with CONVICTION: Did it hurt (when you fell from heaven)? Your eyes are like the stars; can I buy you a drink? Are you tired? ‘Cause you’ve been running through my mind all day. My love for you is like diarrhea. (I just can't hold it in.) I’d like to Slytherin to your Chamber of Secrets.

  3. Either thank someone or tell someone you love that you love them, in complete earnest. Expect nothing back.

  4. Giant blanket fort + a children’s book + tater tots. Alter recipe as desired. (My personal favorite? Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. Shinyshinyshiny!)

  5. Think about Obama pooping. The Pope, pooping. Lady Gaga. Pooping. Beyonce, Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Gala Darling, and babies. Pooping. Like, maybe after eating Indian food. Aughhh gross gross gross. (Unless you have a scat fetish. Then I’m not sure this will help you lighten up. At least it will distract you.)

  6. Get some perspective. Look at the stars. Or the ocean. Or a forest of redwoods. Or a picture of the Earth. Or of the Milky Way. Revel in your insignificance. Know that your existence is a miracle of probability, and recognize how small you are in the bigger scheme of things. Nothing you do matters outside of our tiny portion of the Universe. (I actually find that anything astronomy-related will make me feel insignificant enough to realize how pointless most of my worries are.)

  7. I haven't been able to deduce the original source for this Carl Sagan image-quote, and I'm sure you've seen this before, but it always bears repeating. This is all we have and are. Calm the fuck down.

  8. Play with a dog or a baby.

  9. Get rejected, or fail really hard. Right now. Go do it. Ask someone on the street to marry you. Fashion a three-dimensional self-portrait out of mashed potatoes and butter. Sit in on a large class you’re not taking and attempt to take an exam you are woefully unprepared for. Walk to the convenience store in full costume and makeup as a fruit or vegetable. Fail so goddamn hard that your next failure cannot possibly be this embarrassing or this bad.

  10. Sing a song out loud. Now raise the key and sing it again. Repeat until you sound ridiculous enough to laugh at yourself. (Note: If you are Darren Criss, don’t bother with this one because you will never manage to sound more ridiculous than sexy.)

  11. Attempt to tweeze all your leg hairs. (Or your arm hairs. Or upper lips hairs. Or armpit hairs. You have to have hair in at least one of those places, right?) This works because a) it hurts (and is therefore really distracting), and b) it’s productive. (Although if you really want distracting, try your fingers or toes. Or around your ankles. Oh my God the pain. Don’t do this if you have an addictive personality, though. Tweezing might be less publicized than cutting, but taken to an extreme, it can be a form of self-mutilation too. Don't laugh at this, and don't get addicted to this.)

  12. Do crunches. Do crunches until it hurts, and then do some more until you can’t think about anything except how much your abs ache. Then stop. (Or squats. Or jumproping. Whatever gets you so physically exhausted that your brain turns off, do it.) Alternatively, engage in physical labor. My personal favorite is hand-washing all my laundry, but whatever works for you.

  13. Be unapologetically, gloriously, butt-fucking naked. (Preferably where it’s legal and not distracting to anyone.)

  14. Learn a really embarrassing or elaborate dance routine. (K-Pop routines* are best, but this should also do it.)

  15. Consider your Plan Z. Now consider it again, seriously. Now write down the steps you can take to make Plan Z a reality, and acknowledge that your Plan Z doesn't sound that bad.

  16. Go feed the hungry. No, really. Go call up your nearest soup kitchen and ask when the soonest you can volunteer is. Or do anything, really, that will put you in a situation that surrounds you with people less fortunate than you. Let your tender heart (tend to) start to bleed, and remember that you don’t have it that bad. This isn’t an exercise in sucking it up – being economically and socially privileged comes with its own world of pains – but I find that it’s a really good way to ground yourself. On that note, watch this Neil Pasricha TED talk.

  17. Eat something really sour or really bitter (or otherwise scrunchy-face-inducing). Lemons, bittermelon, durian, and salted licorice (oh my God Ajay why did I have to be introduced to this) all work well for me.

  18. Go to the cemetery. (Preferably one where you can honor your dead and not someone else’s, but anything that isn’t life-threatening that manages to remind you of your mortality should also remind you not to get so caught up in things that don’t or won’t matter.)
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