As college students, we’re not unfamiliar with things going against the plan.  Maybe you didn’t get into the school of your choice, didn’t get the scholarship you applied for, or you have the roommate from hell.  These interruptions of life, small or large, can be overwhelming and cause a lot of stress.  Stress can clutter your mind during unpleasant situations.  Here are four suggestions to staying calm when things go wrong:

Stop Worrying

Getting frustrated, emotional, and nervous in the middle of a difficult or bad situation wil only make things worse.  Worrying about things that are out of your control only increases your anxiety.  Chances are, the situation is only temporary and will get better.  But if you are a worrier by nature (like me!), continue reading to Step 2 and 3.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Being prepared for the worst case scenario is half the battle.  Always preparing for multiple outcomes (including the worst case scenario) is a great way to calm your mind.  For example, apply for more than one scholarship to increase your odds of getting at least one.  If you are hoping to get into your dream school, apply to other schools that will do if you don’t get in.  Having a plan in place – even for the less-than-perfect scenarios, will settle your nerves and keep you calm.

Be Solution Oriented

Focusing on solutions, rather than how you feel about the difficult situation, will help you figure out the things you can actually change.  Staying calm and collected will enable you to think of creative solutions to your problem rather than stressing over what you cannot change.  Be adaptable and ready to change your expectations.  If at all possible, try to find solutions that can be used again, just in case a similar situation arises in the future.  The key is to erasing the stress when things don’t go perfectly is to make yourself feel in control – able to analyze a situation, evaluate your options, and execute a plan to fix it.

Don’t Give Up

If you try a solution that doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged.  Failure is not the end of the world – treat it as a learning experience.  Hang in there and remind yourself that even the most successful people in history often failed at the first attempt.  Continue with trial and error until you can find an alternative that works.  Perseverance adds character and when you finally reach the dream scenario, it will be even sweeter knowing how hard you worked for it.

What sorts of situations have you faced that didn’t go as expected?  How did you react?  How did you solve the problem to have a positive outcome?

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