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How We Stay Positive

April 3, 2014

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So, let’s start with a warning. This is going to be a very long post. It’s usually just one person writing a blog post at once, but this time, we have all four of us adding our thoughts, all in different sections. Health and Wellbeing are topics that we’re really interested in lately, so we’re really pouring ourselves into this post here today. Hopefully you don’t find it too boring.

Without further ado, here we go!

Martina’s Thoughts:

Martina Shocked

Music can start off your day with positive vibes or feed into a negative emotion. I made several music playlists that include only my favourite positive songs. Whether it be lyrically positive like “Happy” by Pharell or an upbeat song that makes me boogie like “Fantastic Baby” by Big Bang, I try to focus on music that won’t channel any negative vibes. Rock and heavy metal are my go-to music for when I feel upset or angry, and although I use lots of rock music to get upbeat and feel happy, some of my favourite bands have a negative association with certain times in my life. If I listen to that album when I’m having a bad day, I remember those negative feels and it can easily pull me down into a negativity spiral. Oh that sounded so hippy, like….yeah, right? But it’s true: once you’re put into a sour mood, it’s very easy to feed into it and grow it, yet it’s not easy to remind ourselves of all the good things in our lives.

I visualize being negative like having an angry pet bird on your shoulder. It grows very quickly and easily when you feed it. It just sits on your shoulder and whispers angry negative things in your ear until you’re having the worst day of your life. Woke up late and missed the bus? You angry bird is there to whisper in your ear and to remind you that this day is already going to suck. You catch the next bus, but get bumped on the bus by someone, and that bird is there to remind you how much humanity sucks, and to fortify your early anger of missing the bus. That angry little bird will continue to poison your mind; he’ll point out people judging you, remind you that you’re not good at things, direct blame at other people for things you could change yourself. Whatever it is, that bird is there to remind you of all that’s wrong with the world and your life.

So how can we put a muzzle on this grumpy little bird? I find that, once I realize that the day isn’t in itself bad, but that I’m just hearing the squawking, then popping on my pre-made playlist of positive music can really help quiet the bird’s noise. Good positive music is the start for me, even if the music annoys me at the time because I’m not currently in the mood to hear something positive.

The hard part is acknowledging that you’re in a bad mood. Yes, that sounds weird, but you really need to say to yourself, “holy crap! I think I’m being a massive grumpy bear.” When I realize I’m actually in a bad mood, I look back on some of the stuff that’s stressing me out and decide whether or not it’s actually justified anger. For example, being angry and enraged because you’re waiting in a slow line at the grocery store…that is not justified anger. You’re angry because you want to move faster but being angry isn’t going to change anything. It’s not anyone’s fault that they, too, want to purchase groceries. Even if the cashier is slow, it’s still not their fault you’re angry. Your anger is your own issue. You’re just making yourself upset without being able to change anything. And if you can’t change anything, then it’s not worth your energy. So, I take all the things that I’m feeling angry about and I divide them into three categories:

The Three Types of Anger

1. The Angry Bird (i.e.: a slow moving line up, people wearing clothing you don’t approve, getting a bad parking spot)

Things in The Angry Bird category are actually very personal things. You may not find waiting in line to be annoying, but for some people it can send them into a rage. I think of this category as just me taking out my bad mood on other people and on the environment around me. It’s not seriously justifiable anger, it’s just grumpy angry mutterings from that sour bird on my shoulder, reminding me how annoying my day is. I’m just looking for things to be angry about, and feeding into my already sour mood. By putting a muzzle on your personal Angry Bird, you can work on bettering yourself and lowering your stress level. Your need to acknowledging these short fuses and acknowledge that they are not the only reason you are upset. There is an underlying bigger reason, and by listening to your angry bird you are only feeling worse.

2. Annoyances (i.e.: a spilt drink on your crotch, loud talkers in the library, people talking in a movie theatre)

Outside of the things that you personally perceive as annoying, there are also poopy annoying things in life that are not your fault. Sometimes you can change it and sometimes you cannot. For example, you can report the loud talkers in the library and get them kicked out (hahah not that I’ve done that…yes I have). You could also move locations. You can also personally ask them to turn down their talking volume as well. You have options sometimes. Yet not everything is preventable or changeable. A person spilling something on you accidentally is not preventable. Yes, it is annoying, but you have to remind yourself that it wasn’t done maliciously. It sucks, but don’t let it be “just another reason this day is the worst.” I’ve come to the conclusion that many people are just unaware of the world around them so when they blast their music loudly or stop walking at the bottom of a flight of stairs to check their phone it’s NOT because they’re mean spirited jerks, it’s because they just aren’t being considerate of the world around them. I file these annoyances under “unaware humans” and try my hardest to either make a change, or to just move on. Oh and if you’re the person sitting in front of me in a movie theatre gabbing on your phone, you better believe I’m leaning in and telling you to hang up. I’m not paying money to let you ruin my movie.

3. Core Stress (i.e.: work related stress, money related stress, school related stress, health related stress, family related stress)

Core stress is the real reason you’re upset. And it can wreck major chaos on both your mind and body. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset because someone spilt a drink on you, or you can’t be upset because you waited 20 minutes to get a latte. I’m saying that in order to manage a reasonable level of stress that doesn’t lead to despair and a nervous breakdowns, you need to learn to let those other things go. You need to acknowledge what your core stress is so that you don’t go spiralling into despair when something else happens. Like waking up with a pimple. Or missing the bus. Or having a bad customer at your work. That turns into “SCREW THIS DAY, I HATE THE WORLD I’M GOING BACK TO BED!” *Disney princess worthy fling onto the bed and sobs* Yes, I have done that. I have done that recently. Truthfully, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to acknowledge that listening to the Angry Bird and using annoyances to add to my “worst day ever list” is not actually helping me feel any better. It’s just not productive to my health. It keeps me from sleeping, it makes me irritable, and it makes me sad. What we need to do is discover the real core of our stress, and focus on just dealing with that. For me, I’m personally dealing with health related stresses at the moment, while before I was dealing with work and school stresses.

I personally think that stress comes from a feeling of uneasiness that comes with not knowing the future. Will I pass this exam? Will I get that job? How will I pay off my loan? When will I meet someone? When will I stop feeling pain? When we’re stressed out about something it feels like our entire life is purely made up of stress. We view the world through the eyes of stress BUT, and this is a big but, you’re only experiencing a tiny piece of your life. You’re taking that tiny piece and wearing it like poop tinted glasses in which to view the world in its full poopy nature. But you know what? Middle school, high school, university, job hunting, careers…that’s not the whole of life. Those are just more little pieces from your life. Those are just locations, actions, and transactions we go through. Life is happening around and outside those things! I realized this in my 5th year of University while applying to get into Teacher’s College.

I put all my energy into filling out the massive amount of applications forms. It was important, yes, but I was so stressed out regarding if I would get into school or not I had nervous breakdowns on the way to work. I’d burst into tears over a canceled plan with friends. I’d be unable to get out of bed. I was stressed out all day and everyday…but it didn’t actually change anything. Did it make me work harder at a specific task? No. Was it just ruining my entire day? Yes. Once I sent out the forms, I literally could do nothing but wait and see if I was going to get into school. WHY WHY WHY did I waste energy walking around stressed out of my mind? I have to receive that rejection/acceptance paper in the mail first! Why didn’t I take that energy, plan for both scenarios (accepted vs not accepted) and just move on until I found out? But I didn’t.

happymartina

Looking back on it now, I saw the patterns I fell into. Listening to the Angry Bird, allowing small annoyances to turn into huge problems, but I realize now that once I take the time to breath deeply and categorize all my feels, I can see what must be changed in order to keep myself from feeling upset.

Essentially, there are things that are worth being stressed out about, like your immediate core stresses, and then there are things that you can choose to ignore. It’s really really hard to ignore them sometimes, but by doing that you can deal with core stress and have a good day at the same time.

Simon’s Thoughts

Shocked Simon

So, I don’t think I did justice to my perspective in this video. The basic idea of “think of two good things for every one bad thing you experience” and “never take things for granted” kinda gets lost when the examples I give are “my dog didn’t die!” and “my hips ain’t broken anymore!” Let me get into this idea a bit more, if I can.

In a very blunt, cold way, I can put it as this: the things that bother me in the here and now are insignificant in other contexts. I might read a crappy comment on Tumblr, and be upset, but then I can just, you know, close the computer. Walk away. Buy some flowers. Make a home cooked meal. Walk my dog who freaking loves going on walks and dances around in excitement when we’re about to go out. Go to the park and do balls, Soo Zee style. All of these things are better than dealing with or dwelling on negative experiences.

When we step away from the computer, we’ve got a bunch of friends, close friends, who aren’t really computer literate, and when we hang out with them and they’re like “what’s a tumblings?” and I think to myself of the vast world of experience out there, and how tiny this one is in the grand scheme of where my life has come from and where it’s going. Life exists outside of internet culture. Life exists outside of your classroom. Life exists outside of your job. There’s so much of it everywhere! It’s Cherry Blossom season now in Korea, and gotdamn it’s gorgeous.

Some might think that this isn’t a way to solve your problems. It’s more flight than fight. My response to this is that not every problem is worth the effort that goes into solving it. Not everything needs a resolution, and if the effort that goes into solving something is greater than the outcome, then fuck it. Move on to something different.

I think the method that I advocate most for getting over the blues is two fold. The first is to realize the insignificance of whatever event is bothering me, and secondly is to focus more attention and energy on appreciating what I DO have around me. I could be upset about dealing with our landlord, buuuut I have a soft kitty here. I could be upset that I’m not in the best shape right now, buuuut I have a wife that loves me. I could be upset that a project I had been planning fell through, but look at that sunset. Once you realize that all things are of equal significance, that the things that are happening to you aren’t as important as they seem at the moment, then the playing field is levelled. Good experiences and bad experiences have the same weight, so why not put my energies into experiencing the positives?

Why would I focus on the people that dislike me, when I could be paying attention to the people that do like me? Why pay attention to anger when I could pay attention to love? It’s hard when I occasionally fall into a rut, but I just do my best to realize the negative thought pattern, and then say “f*ck it” and to move onto something else I like instead. My life won’t crumble as a result. Things will go on.

Part of my experiences is to never take anything for granted. Anything can change in the blink of an eye. I could get extremely sick. A meteor could hit. Kim Jong Un could flip his shit. We could die in a taxi accident. There’s no guarantee that the experiences I’m having now will be experiences I’ll have in the future. There will be a time in the future when things will be different, where situations will suck more. Let me do my best to appreciate what I have now while I still have it.

For instance: You’re watching our videos. You have no duty to. Tomorrow you can say “goddamn: that last joke of theirs just pushed me to the limit” and you can stop watching. And then what? What if everyone stopped watching? Does that mean we’ll die? Not at all. It means we’ll have to do something else instead. I’ll enjoy doing this for as long as you let me, but if you change your mind I won’t be angry at you or myself for it, because I’ve done this to the best of my ability, and enjoyed as much of it as I could.

Some days I’m walking out in public with Martina. We get separated in a mall. I look for her and can’t see her. There’s no sight of her anywhere. At times like that I sometimes think to myself, did she really ever exist? The life I have with her is too amazing. It’d make sense if I was just dreaming this whole thing up. Now that the dream’s over, at least I can say it was fantastic, and I was fortunate enough to have great experiences with her. Then I see her again, and go back to appreciating as many moments with her as I’ll be given.

We had a pretty big scare lately which we didn’t talk about publicly in video, but I’ll talk about here because I feel like the blog section is a different audience than our YouTube viewers. It’s something that negatively affected us, and you might have seen that in our videos. Martina lost the hearing in her right ear last February, and after many hospital appointments and tests with ear specialists, the doctor concluded she probably had a brain tumour. When he suggested this diagnosis, the first thing I thought wasn’t “holy shit, she’s going to die” and started panicking. Instead, I thought “ok. So this is the situation. What’s our next course of action to make this better? What can I do to make things better for Martina?”

But first, Martina did an MRI to check if the diagnosis was accurate. We waited for a few days for the results. We just kept filming and putting up videos as best we could, talked to you guise online, and did what kept on making us happy, but Martina was feeling really down. After waiting a week, Martina’s scan came back…negative for tumours! We still don’t know why Martina’s hearing is gone. We think it probably has to do with her EDS, which she talked about before in her Draw My Life Videos. It’s possible that the EDS caused a dislocated bone in her inner ear. The point is, I didn’t get destroyed by sadness and panic when we waited for the results. They’re unknown, so there was nothing to think about. I focused on what we could do to be happy in the moment, and when the diagnosis came back with favourable results, I have a new thing to be happy about. It’s not gonna kill my wife! Woohoo!

Happysimon

I think I’m getting distracted here with examples. Basic premise in a nutshell: what I have is an infinite possibility of experiences, both positive and negative. All of them get the amount of attention I choose to give them. What I don’t have is an infinite amount of time. I’m going to spend the rest of my life appreciating my positive experiences, because the world doesn’t owe me anything, and the happiness in my life can be taken away from me at any moment. Sure, this sounds like a rather depressing standpoint, for some people, but for me I feel liberated, and I feel like I can enjoy things, like walking my dog, looking at my wife, hanging with friends, drinking a nice cocktail, sitting in a comfortable couch, not feeling ill, all of these things I can appreciate this more than many other people I know, who think that all of these things are just normal. Rather than thinking of the world as awesome by default, and feeling upset when things don’t go my way, I think of the world as not awesome by default, and feel blessed when things do go my way.

Leigh’s Thoughts

Intern Leigh here, aka: stage 2 apprentice wizard of time management and general ass-kickery. I’ve never actually done just school; every time I’ve been a full time student I’ve also been a full time something else. How do I manage to win scholarships, land amazing internships, and still find the time to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch seasons 1, 2, and 3 over Easter weekend? I’m a time-management ninja. That’s right, I’m a ninja and a wizard. And I’ll share my ninja-wizard secrets.

Secret #1: I have a life outside of school
I take a Romantic Scholar approach to school. I don’t believe anything – a project deadline, a term paper, a film critique – should get in the way of Friday night barbecues. Or Saturday morning cartoons. Or Sunday afternoon brunches. You catch my drift? Rather than go for “well-rounded,” I focus on kicking tail at one specific area academically. That leaves more time for playing-I mean working at the studio, dragging Soo Zee to fancy whiskey bars, and shopping for new sundresses.

Secret #2: I timebox
I learned this trick from Neil Fiore. I never set deadlines to finish things. I set deadlines to start. When I get too intense about being the best video editor in the world, I fall into the pit of despair, so I make it a point to worry more about starting than finishing. Having no pressure to finish, no pressure to be perfect, no pressure to get it all done in one sitting does wonders for my stress level. Even just a solid, uninterrupted 15 minutes of work can be enough to remember that your value as a human being is NOT equal to your grades, or your art’s reception, or your personal best. (bolding requested by Martina)

Secret #3: I ignore emails
One of the most important things I learned from Merlin Mann’s awesome “Inbox Zero” email approach is that truly urgent matters do not come via email. If you need an answer right this flipping second, you’ll call me. So I ignore lots of emails. Not forever, but certainly not until I’m done with whatever it is I’m doing right now. I will check my email when I durn well feel like it, thankyouverymuch. Instead of constant push alerts that remind me I have a billion things left to do, I have blissful stretches of distraction-free time to focus on work slash research new bubble tea places and DIY steadycam rigs…I mean…pssh…not that I…do…that…RUN AWAY!!

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Ok, so this was a ridiculously long post. I had no idea how to break it up into something more manageable. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts on the matter. I hope you weren’t too bored with the blog post and with the topic. If you liked it, hooray! If you liked it and haven’t subscribed yet, you’re almost there! Click on the button below to get the happy juices flowing!

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How We Stay Positive

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  1. To all of you-

    I don’t think this post could have come at a better time. Relating back to what Martina said, I’ve been having a “SCREW TODAY” kind of day, and I even wrote a status on Facebook that went something along the lines of “screw today and all the days after it”. I was sour about having to pick up more hours at work than I wanted because my coworker went on maternity leave, I’m stressed because of not being eligible for financial aid next year since my mom apparently makes too much money as a single teacher, and worried because the electricity in my house is getting shut off tomorrow. This, on top of the struggles I’ve been having trying to get my license and the family issues going on between my mother’s and father’s families.

    I may have said way more than I needed to, but what I’m trying to get at is that this blog and video helped me in so many ways- more ways than I ever though possible. I’m so glad you all decided to share pieces of your lives with us, and it amazes me how from a different corner of the world you still try to connect with all us Nasties who may be close by or very far away.

    Martina’s insight on the Angry Bird visual and Simon’s insights on being able to determine what’s really worth stressing over has made me see my issues from a new perspective. And Leigh’s insight helped me, a student myself who also works part time. I was always so worried about makin the grade and doing my best that I lost sight of who I am, and I forgot that these things don’t determine my worth as a human being.

    So thank you, all of you!

    2 years ago
  2. I’ve got lots of tricks up my sleeve for dealing with stress because I’d go off the deep end if I didn’t.

    Morning Routine – My morning routine is absolutely essential to give me some sense of structure and consistency. Getting up and making my bed every day right away, doing some light exercising, and meditating really go a long ways in keeping me afloat.

    Sensory Stuff – I find one of the best ways for me to destress is touch. So I love giving myself hugs, hugging a stuffed animal, giving my head a massage with one of those octopus thingies, or stroking my body lightly with my fingertips (sounds so nasty but feels so good)! Gently thumping a fist in the middle of my chest can also be very comforting and grounding. Or alternately tapping one hand and then the other on my each of my legs.

    Music – I, like Martina, have a couple feel-good playlists up and ready to go. I especially like K-pop, Bollywood soundtracks, and gospel music for such purposes. Dancing is an absolute must as well!

    Thought intervention – Sometimes I have little phrases that I like to say to myself to cheer myself on or to comfort myself and remind me I’m not always going to feel a certain way. Also, asking questions like “What can I focus on instead?” or “How can I be a better friend to myself right now?” can reroute my line of thinking too. A really powerful thing I’ve found is remembering that everyone has stress, has had difficult life experiences, and I’m not so special. I can be a real drama queen at times and broadening the picture and thinking of humanity as a whole cuts my stress down significantly.

    Misc – ASMR videos are fabulous. As is spending time in nature, be that on my balcony or going to a park for a walk. And finally, sometimes you just need to throw a temper tantrum Rumpelstiltskin style and flail, jump up and down, scream, and/or cry (all of this preferably alone lol)!

    2 years ago
    • Along the same lines: this winter I put together a dance playlist (617 songs!) of mostly k-pop, Bollywood and middle-eastern pop music — with a little Chipmunks for good measure. Some days, it made all the difference.

      2 years ago
  3. Wow. I’m currently churning out and finalizing three assignments that are due tomorrow and have a mid-term exam on Saturday. I really needed this. Thank you so much.

    As someone that lives with severe manic-depression and anxiety, I see a lot of what Martina said in regards to the bird and the spiral in my life. To be honest, you guys have helped me through a lot of dark times and even kind of lightened the bulb at the end of the tunnel at the peak of my eating disorder too (that’s a whole different story though). I’m so grateful for the positivity you pour into everyone’s lives in a matter of a few minutes each week and I want you to know that no matter what happens to you guys, we’ll always love and be grateful for you. From hundreds of different locations across the globe.

    Good luck and hope all goes well in your lives.

    2 years ago
  4. Thanks guys! I love this video. :) I love how it shows a more human side of you guys. Does that sound odd? I think you are normal people in some ways, which is why your videos are so easy to relate to, but sometimes you kinda seem like superheroes too with how many different things you do and document for all of us. It is nice to hear about your day to day worries and how you deal with them. Love your show! :)

    As for how I deal with stress, the first thing is my music player. I bought this totally cheap player a few months back and loaded it up with hours of upbeat western and k-pop music so I could stop listening to all the slow, depressing songs the radio here likes to play over and over. It has made such a big difference in my attitude and how good I feel each day…even if my co-workers now think I am weird for listening to foreign music…as they blast their latino stuff….

    The other huge thing that helps pick me up is thinking about my dog. I have a loving German Shepard/Shar Pei mix at home who loves to jump on me and lick my face when I get home every day. No matter what happens during the day, I know there is unconditional love waiting for me at my front door.

    2 years ago
  5. I think another reason who we sometimes get so bogged down and lose our positivity is because we are our worst critics and analyzers. I know I am so guilty of this on a regular basis, especially as a teacher. If a lesson I put my heart into developing totally tanks or my students are having an off day in their behavior, rather than saying that maybe the students weren’t ready for the concept or that they’re bouncing off the walls because of all the candy they chowed down on at lunch, I turn on myself and begin to feel like a really sucky teacher and person. I would feel so disappointed in myself as a person because I was not being this awesome educator that I had idealized in my head. I was so bad at that when I first got into the classroom 8 years ago, but I find myself [thankfully] doing that less and less because I’ve learned to let things go a little. I find that for every moment where I think I’ve failed at being perfect, then I add a moment of intentional imperfection. Whether it be wearing totally whacky clothes to work or stopping in the middle of what I’m doing and having a dance party, if I can fall into those moments where I just don’t give a flying fig about being perfect then I feel better about my imperfections. In fact, random dance parties have become a staple in my classroom and the kids love it because even 10yr olds get super stressed and need to unwind every once in a while. I’m never going to be Miss Frizzle or Principal Joe Clark, but being there for my kids day in and day out is all that matters…and that in turns creates lots of moments for positivity.

    2 years ago
  6. I am waiting for my application results and I am trying not to go batshit crazy since I did not do well for my FYP last year,the one thing that will cause me to break down from stress is probably school related stuff

    2 years ago
  7. I really enjoyed this TLDR :) I think being positive comes with acceptance of the bad stuff. I am a person who is easily affected by those around me, and to ward that off, I keep a positivity jar! I started it last October and this October, I will open it and read out all the positive things that I had during the year! I can also open it if I have a horrible day and I need some self cheering up! (WHOO INDEPENDENT!) I also have a day by day calendar that has pugs on it (they make me so happy, I cry watching pug videos) and whenever there is a day that has a REALLY cute pug, I say to myself, OK what happened today that was positive and I think back on it and write it on the back of the paper, fold it up (pug side facing out, duh) and put it in my jar so I can not only remember the happy thought but also that PUG! :D I like hearing all of the life advice you guys give, it gives me as a college student HOPE!

    2 years ago
  8. This was just what I needed right now. I’m dealing with PR applications, health issues, and money stress.

    I already know I need to manage my stress and think positive, it’s just the DOING part that’s hard.
    I bookmarked this blog post so I can come back to it to remind me of everything you guys put and to remind me I’m not the only stressing about big things.
    Thanks guys. You rock!
    <3

    2 years ago
  9. This might sound very childish, but whenever I need cheering up, I hug my teddy bears xD It’s surprising how a hug and a cry can make you feel better. Sometimes you just gotta let it all out. And then when it’s all out, think of ways to solve the problem. I’ve been feeling really sucky at the moment with job hunting and being turned down for jobs. I like to think that every experience is a life lesson. And maybe these things happen for a reason. Other ways to feel happy; listen to happy tunes, watch comedies, watch youtube videos, especially yours! play a game. And if all this fails at making me feel better, I just have a nice cup of tea. Everything feels better after a nice cup of tea! :3

    2 years ago
    • You’re right about the happy tunes; that’s why I’m into k-pop. With a history of clinical depression, I have always struggled to stay positive. Fortunately, I have a job that allows me to listen to music — and several years ago, I discovered that happy music like Bollywood or k-pop really had a great impact on my mood. I’ve been off medications and more social and progressing in life because of songs like Nagada Nagada (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl-if7RmEcs) & Fantastic Baby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAbokV76tkU)…. Plus tea!

      2 years ago
  10. I know when I am really stressed or angry, I usually end up in my room on mt bed curled up with my favorite book with my favorite music going. It works tremendously.

    Also I agree with rewarding yourself to give you something to look forward to. Like yesterday, I still had a lot of college work to do. I have two tests, that usually take about two hours to complete that I have to take each twice(luckily the second attempts only take about 30 mins to complete.), two additional works for the same class. Yesterday also happened to be the release for the newest book in one of my favorite searies, So I told my self (since I was buying the book anyways and no one and nothing would stop me) that as soon as I finished all my work, I could relax and read my book. And that’s what I did. It made it less stressful to be laboriously doing all of this work with happiness at the end than it would have been doing all of this work without having something to cheer me up.

    You don’t always have to buy something, it can be as simple as reading, and listening to music.

    2 years ago
  11. I recently moved to Vietnam from America to spend time with my husbands family, start learning Vietnamese, and get to know the culture here while he finishes the last few months of his college degree back in the USA (I was working at walmart, but can make way more money for graduate school here in Asia). I had been to Vietnam before and love it. Despite being in my favorite place in the world, I am incredibly sad and lonely. And then I become disappionted in myself because Im sad and lonely in my favorite place and it generally just spirals down into a gloom and doom nosedive until the finale of crying fest or binge eating oreos (or, if IM really sad, both).

    I have struggled with depression in the past, so I know a few things that help me threw when the times get low, but recently, since we have been seperated, its been harder and harder to drown out the angry bird on my shoulder (that fucker gets so damn loud). I already have a calendar (in the USA we call them agendas) and that helps because I highlight tasks when Ive completed them, and I have a countdown until my husband and I are back together (34 days after almost 6 very long months). I will add some of these other ideas on the anti-depression train. Thanks :)

    I hope Martina’s ear gets better <3

    2 years ago
    • I totally know that feelz.

      Once I had to go to NYC for work for 2 months and being away from my fiance was just…….horrible beyond words, especially since I’d just been in a horrific car accident and was having nightmares every night. I was working long hours in a bad part of town so I didn’t really get to tour around much to distract myself. I made a paper chain with a link for every day (like for x-mas) so that I could countdown until I would get to go home. I thought that it would help me have something to look forward to (just like x-mas) but to be honest, it seemed to make the wait even more excruciating the closer I got to the end.

      Since then my husband has gone on some work trips of even longer length, and I have changed my methods. Having something to look forward to is good, focusing on the length of that time and the fact that you are *forced* to wait by circumstance instead of necessity(when you know you could just hop a plane instead of committing suicide out of sadness) is counterproductive, I’ve found. Better to focus on talking to or writing to or skyping with your loved one every day and counting down in the background. This way, you keep the positive association with your loved one, instead of letting that angry bird anywhere near them and you are able to express your love and positive emotions every day without having to hold everything inside (since sometimes you can’t talk about it to anyone) and you will feel more open about talking to your loved one about any bad things or feelings and therefore, the relationship will stay healthy, even at a distance. If you find yourself sniping over little things, give it a try. ^_^v

      2 years ago
  12. This is a very interesting topic, especially because I am dealing with stress and anxiety almost every day, for one year now. What I like to do to relieve it, is to walk and take my time. My university is located in a forest, so everytime I can, I prefer to walk than take the bus for example. If I’m really stressed, I sit on the couch, watching tv, with my cockatiel on my lap, or I draw, and that relax me :) And if I am really angry, I let everything go: I scream, I talk to myself saying that I hate that and that; and then I feel better (and I sound like a mad woman xD)

    There are a lot of ways to relieve stress and anger actually, but the most important thing of all is to rid off of all the people that make you feel angry (not permanently, but if you feel that this person irritates you, try to avoid him/her until you’re calmer.)

    Anyway, thank you for sharing all that with us. :D

    And one of the best motto ever: “Don’t worry, be happy!” ;)

    2 years ago
  13. I don’t enjoy being stressed or getting too angry. The only time I do get angry is when people do something that really annoys me, but it’s normally performed by people I hate.

    It’s stress time at University and yeah, I feel it too. However, it’s not as bad as last semester where I broke down and I just felt confused on why I chose my degree (Political Science) and stressed about the amount of work that was piled on me. What I did to reduce the stress is play some “background noise” when I worked on papers. It’s a bunch of episodess that I downloaded to allow me to focus on papers. There’s Adventure time episodes, the entire Hetalia series, and 2 movies. The noise helps me to focus because in my mind, I know what is going on in the videos, so I don’t need to go to the video to watch what’s going on. Also, I can’t stand silence when working. I start getting distracted if it’s too silent. So a loop of videos helps me to focus by playing noise to help me focus.

    I also triy not to think too much about the stress. I thought that if I can get all my work done, I can go to sleep. Yeah… I went multiple days sleeping 5 hours or less a day… I know it’s not healthy, but I get a lot of work and ideas down at night and as long as I don’t do this the night before an exam, it’s fine.

    I think this video and blog posts should be at universities to help students calm down.

    2 years ago
  14. I was actually having a mental breakdown just before I watched this video.
    I have a tendency to procrastinate whenever I feel like that, but for once in my life I’m glad I procrastinated. My procrastination brought me to YouTube where I saw a video titled “How We Stay Positive” accompanied by a beautiful and motivational blog post that made me feel so much more relaxed. Thank you Simon and Martina for your awesomeness.
    I love you!!

    2 years ago
  15. You guys really inspired me to stay positive. Life is really hard and sad at times. But you literally gave me hope and inspiration to keep going and appreciate life more!

    Martina please be okay! You are such a wonderful person! We nasties love you!
    Thank you for this video and post
    Thank you <3

    2 years ago
  16. I don’t really do anything to keep myself being positive :/ I guess I should start working on that XD
    Usually if I’m happy, I’m happy. If I’m sad- I’m sad. and I never figured I could alter those feeling/states.
    But I tend to collapse from pressure from time to time. Anxiety and fear overtakes me and I end up being scared to leave home or enter the classroom. And if that doesn’t change in 3 days this is what I do: I overdose on movies. Usually really grim ones. That completely drain me emotionally and physically. I keep watching movies for a day or two, then feel super stingy and on the edge for the rest of the 2nd day. but on the following morning I fell all energetic, happy and ready for work and challenges again.
    I have no idea why it is so. I guess I just seriously burn out all the negative emotions for the time being and… I feel like I forcibly shut myself down (like a computer) and then after a night’s sleep turn back on smoothly.

    2 years ago
  17. Well, I think I’m gonna buy the diary-calendary-scheduler myself cause it sounds pretty good to me and we’ve been always drawing something in my friend’s so… I want it! :D

    My problem isn’t actually cheering myself up because usually I can have fun with everything and everywhere :D But I reeeaaallly can’t get myself to work because of that! Whenever I want to start working or studying, I find totally different stuff to do, so instead of studying for damn ass important exam, I’m cleaning up, doing the dishes, dancing, trying out clothes, working out and everything else that didn’t do before… but not studying -__- And I just can’t help it. I either start learning late at night or don’t start at all… How to deal with that?

    2 years ago
  18. I spend a lot of my day indoors. And whenever I start to dwell on how wrong I think my life is going I just go for a walk. I go to the awesome pastry around the corner. Somehow just being on a bench on a park or at a esplanade soaking in the sun has a way to put everything in perspective to me. I agree with many things you guys said, thanks for the video and very detailed blog post. BTW thanks for the tips Leigh, that thing about setting a goal to start seems great.

    2 years ago
  19. Wan

    Hey guys, thanks so much for making this video and writing everything down as well. I’m really glad you’re all healthy! :) I’m a freshman in college right now and a premed, so sometimes I get really down about the years and years of school that I have left (I want to be a neurologist), finances, exams, and being away from family and many friends. But it’s so important to appreciate just being alive and the things that we do have. I really liked Martina’s 3 categories of anger; it makes me realize how much we just have to let things go. (LET IT GO, LET IT GOOOOOO) There’s just so much unnecessary stress that we can generate through negative thoughts. Yay for small things like good coffee, pretty trees, and good books/fanfiction! I’m glad you guys are staying positive! :D

    2 years ago
  20. Woah, my heart just dropped when I read about Martina’s hearing loss. I’m so glad it’s not a brain tumor.
    I believe I’m a pretty positive person, some of your tricks I do too. Personally, I believe that if you can appreciate the small things in life, to savor the moment of everything, life is really much happier. Like enjoying a cup of tea or eating something after you’re really hungry. Just be grateful and thankful for everything. That’s what I personally live by.

    I believe this blog post will save some lives one day. Some people need these tips. Thank you for sharing these things with us. <3 Love you guise even more now~ <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    2 years ago
    • I felt the same way. I actually assumed I read that wrong and re-read the entire paragraph.

      Simon and Martina – you guys are amazing, beautiful people who make me laugh any time I watch your videos. I work a stressful job and I watch your clips (even old ones) during my lunch break when I need to unwind. It works! I hope Martina regains full hearing (to fully appreciate the music when Big Bang releases their next album this summer) and I sincerely wish you both of you super duper amounts of happiness!

      2 years ago
    • Same thing is happening to me. I’ve lost some of my hearing in my right ear. I go for my MRI scan in two weeks time.

      My doctor told me though that the cause of this being cancer is very unlikely. We’re talking 0.0001% chance here. The MRI is really just to make sure it isn’t. Perhaps some better doctor bedside manner could have been used here to alleviate the stress!

      2 years ago
      • Yeah, we’ve had a few experiences with Doctors in Korea giving us the worst diagnosis without any…umm…gentleness? I once had a doctor tell me I had to have surgery in half an hour or I was going to die. Then they ran another test. The surgery wasn’t needed. Then they gave me a needle to the ass and sent me home.

        2 years ago
        • Korean doctors can be a bit blunt. I once had one tell me when I was 18 I wouldn’t live to see 25. (See earlier post). Who does that?!

          2 years ago
        • If this is the case Martina, then I suggest that you don’t give up getting your ear problem diagnosed. I have no idea how likely EDS is to have caused your hearing loss but there should be some kind of proof that the blockage is there, whatever has caused it. An MRI checking for a brain tumour would totally not include looking at your ears. Either an x-ray or even better, a CAT scan of your ear should be able to show what is wrong, even if it doesn’t show why, don’t let the doctors be lazy. A lot of doctors (even in Canada) overlook the Eustachian tubes but if these get blocked up, you will not be able to hear, even if your ear itself is perfectly fine. Keep fighting! Good Luck!

          I find that in the last bunch of years my right E.tube gets plugged up from time to time(I don’t know why – maybe because I haven’t been able to see my chiropractor any more and my body got dependent on the ultrasound treatment that was supposed to be for my neck/jaw) but now I just head right for the aspirin and soft ice pack and lie down on the pack with it right below my ear, all the way down my neck. Over repeated applications (on 10 minutes, off 10 minutes, on 10 minutes) and time, it helps. If it’s really bad, it can take days. A tipoff for me to get out the ice is that my jaw hurts on one side and that the tendon in my neck that runs from the point between my ear and my jaw down to my collarbone is very stiff. I don’t know if this helps, but (barring any special EDS conditions) putting ice on your neck can’t hurt. Just check out the camping supplies for cheap soft ice packs, or a bag of frozen peas/corn (I just find that the vegetables smell weird after several uses).

          2 years ago
        • Maybe you have firsthand experience with this now, but would you say doctors in Korea are more likely to not report possible fatal conditions? I’ve heard they tend to just not tell people they have cancer if it’s a particularly aggressive form that can’t be treated.

          2 years ago
    • My heart dropped as well. I can’t deal with ANOTHER of my inspirations being diagnosed (Charles Trippy). <3 you Martina!

      2 years ago
  21. This is a topic that’s right up my alley! I’m a really positive person, like, so positive that I’ve only gotten angry once in my whole 21 years of living. I’m not even joking. I look at it like if you stay positive, you’re optimism and sincerity will rub off on someone and make their day better. I don’t have any tips and tricks to help people stay positive because it was engrained in my head since I was a young impressionable youngin to always be positive and happy. But I believe that laughing once a day can really boost your mood and relieve your stress and also finding something to smile genuinely at (you know, one of those smile-until-your-cheeks-hurt, where-did-my-eyes-go, hey-look-I’ve-got-healthy-gums sort of smiles) can really make you feel good. I also take a drive around town and blast feel-good music when I’m having a bad day! :)

    Hopefully this helped some…? I don’t know, but it’s how I relieve stress! :)

    2 years ago
  22. This may sound odd but recently I have found that listening to Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice really calms me down when I get stressed or frustrated especially at work. It’s so smooth, articulate and calming, even when he’s being villainous, that I just natural find myself at ease. Plus I love that man Or just watch this for a good laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNPp74zh8lM

    2 years ago
  23. I just graduated college but the last year has been constant 6am-2am schedule between full-time class, part-time work, part-time interning and graduating projects. I had a daily planner that had doodles, colors and all kinds of things that did make it a little better. Most of my ‘treating’ was watching a movie (but being a film major that’s kind like homework anyway). And when I was feeling down, I’d cuddle my kitty cat because he’s always in a good mood. But even that was jeopardized recently because in the middle of all my chaos already going on, he got very sick and I had to spend many many hours I didn’t have to take him to the vet. It worked out in the end but just added to the stress I already had. Not to sound lame but since I would only have a few quick minutes of my day to spend as ‘free time’ via on the bus or waiting for renders to complete, I’d watch EYK videos. It really got me through my day and the craziness of the past year.

    2 years ago
  24. Thanks so much for this, you guys! :)

    2 years ago
  25. Thank you. Seriously. For this site, for this post, for sharing your lives, experiences and thoughts with us. It means so much not just to me, but to all of us here. I feel like we all must matter a lot to you since you not only go out of your way to make us laugh but to help us live better lives. Seriously, I mean that.
    I am no stranger to dark places and your advice is good stuff. Two goods for each bad means your mental tally sheet is always in the positive. Other people who are happy and playing balls will usually share their happiness with you, even if it’s just in letting you see them smile. MAKE time for happy things. Y’all are so smart.
    Another good one, most everything is survivable but EVERYTHING is thrive-able. Be careful who and what you let live rent-free in your head. Don’t let unworthy people be in charge of who are. When in doubt, Mr. Rogers always has the answers about life and stress and happiness.

    2 years ago
  26. I was so angry and stressed out yesterday and I honestly couldn’t function at all. I couldn’t even look at my homework let alone actually sit down, think, and work on it. I find that when your angry/stressed taking a walk really helps. Yesterday the sun was shining, and I walked down the big hill that’s near my house, I had mellow music playing in the background, and the air was so clean and fresh and spring like that it made me feel a lot better. Second, while this may not be the best but ranting really helps. It helps a lot to get a big load off your chest whether that’s through writing or talking to a friend. I’m just mindful that the friends I rant to I know that I willingly listen to when they have a bad day too. Finally, a good night’s sleep is the key. I had a horrible day, I decided to sleep early. A full night of sleep and I wake up feeling so refreshed, and I think to myself “why was I even angry in the first place?”
    Anyways, I really really enjoyed this video, and the cherry blossoms in Korea look beautiful! I wish Toronto High Park’s cherry blossoms would come sooner!

    2 years ago
  27. Incredibly happy to know that you (both!) are healthy and well, after such a scary time.

    2 years ago
  28. Martina hun, I know how you feel. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for many years now and whilst at the moment I feel like I’m in a good place, the past couple of years have been a real struggle and have had to drag myself from many pits of despair.

    Similar to your rewarding system, a tip I learned from a cognitive behavioural therapist I saw was to always have something that you can look forward to when you’re feeling blue, whether that be meeting up with a friend, treating yourself to your favourite drink at a coffee shop or going seeing that band you’ve always wanted to see.

    I really enjoyed this week’s TL;DR and will definitely be putting your tips and tricks to good use in future.

    Love you all x

    2 years ago
  29. This really made my day, thank you all so much :)

    2 years ago
  30. Firstly, I can’t possibly think of a better timing for this video. I am having one of THOSE days, forgot my wallet home, my favourite mug broke today and even the weather is horrible as well (though that is kind of usual since I’m in the UK) so I can’t go jogging, which also works. What I usually do to break the bad mood is have a nice cup of tea… but however that is now impossible, I would go buy some chocolate (yes, the cliché lives), seeing how I can’t do that either I find that Leigh’s idea of taking it easy is useful. Thank you!

    2 years ago
  31. guiseeee it means a lot for you guys to share and talk about something like this. personally going through my own qualms with depression and what not- it was really uplifting to hear you guys talk about it. since i’ve been watching you guys regularly for YEARS, I feel really close with you. I know it doesn’t necessarily call for it, but I started spilling tears reading Martina’s portion just because it spoke to me big time. So thank you guys for lifting my spirits up throughout the week <3 best wishes and lots of love <3 <3

    2 years ago
  32. Nothing like finding a new EYK video after a long day of work to put a smile on our faces.

    2 years ago
  33. As a senior student at the University of Toronto about to write her finals, this video came as a surprise and encouragement. Not sure why you guys decided to post this now but thanks! Especially for Leigh’s blurb there. School is the source of all lifes problems (science major at UofT anyone??) So thanks for that!!!

    2 years ago
  34. i call my diary/calendar/scheduler a planner haha! and i buy korean stationary (so my planners, stickers for it and pens) cos they’re so cuuuuute and make me feel happy!!
    after intense days of doing work to meet deadlines, on the day i hand it in i like to go buy a slice of cake or a cupcake! heehee!!
    and when i feel sad or really, really crappy i like to listen to loud kpop music ahaha!!
    also a way for me to de-stress and relax is to practice calligraphy!! i love it so much!! (just today i bought different coloured inks for my pen yay!)
    oh and SHINee….these guys really help me at times!! ^_^

    MARTINA!!!!!!!!! oh my gosh i’m so glad you’re okay and it’s nothing too serious!

    2 years ago
  35. Im a really calm person most days, but sometimes I get stressed with lack of time, which I actually have, I just don’t “see” it. So I had the need to find something which made me stay positive, happy and relaxed. When I need to calm down, I grab my bike, ride it to the beach at sunset and just sit in the sand looking at the ocean.
    Surfing is also one of my favorite things to do, among other sports. My head just disconnects from everything else
    and it’s better than therapy, I can guarantee you that.
    On cold winter days, I grab my favorite cup of tea, a great book and some soothing music and I morph into a puddle of relaxation.

    2 years ago
  36. my tried and true technique for when it all gets too much is to call my mom. i just dump everything that happened, from the big things to stupid annoyances [like people doing my pet peeves] until there’s nothing left. this also generally involves some crying on my end, and by the time i’ve finished unloading my problems [and several liters of snot and eye water] i feel way better. it’s hard to be sad when you can’t cry anymore.
    that and cute things. insta joy.

    2 years ago
  37. I really needed this today. Ya’ll always make me smile. Thanks for being the sunshine on YouTube :)

    2 years ago
  38. Hey guys! Loved the post, just because the day apparantly is awful doesn’t mean that we should feel that way.

    2 years ago
  39. Ian

    I really enjoy Leigh’s insights on the aspect that our grades don’t make up who we are. I’m finishing my degree over here in Ontario and I’m surrounded by people who are scrambling around terrified thinking that the marks will be with them forever: They won’t! Just as Simon mentions momentary frustrations that you can walk away from, grades are momentary stress-factors that will actually walk away from you because they will end up having less significance in the future when you have your degree. The degree won’t have your marks printed out all over it before your name, it’ll say “Name” has received a degree in whatever you studied. Cheers for the awesome words and great tips to keep positive guys! I’ll certainly be using some of them in the future! :)

    2 years ago
    • You’re still called “doctor” whether you got an A or a C in medical school :)

      2 years ago
  40. Hi guys! Let’s see if I’m first again :P I’ll go watch ur video now, hahahhah

    2 years ago