You’re so stressed that you’re starting to get on your own nerves? Listen, a good dentist never gets on your nerves. Is your sanity still intact? Do you believe you should always be productive and profitable? Do you feel internal pressure about what you “should” be doing today or with the rest of your life? And needless to say, once you get what you want, life will simply become a fairytale?

When you finally get everything you dreamed about, you’ll be happy-go-lucky. But somehow you became obsessed with social comparison. Please stop measuring yourself against others. No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you. Joyfulness will come and go, sweet friends. Happiness can start with one word, one joke, one text, one phone call, one song, one hug, and it stops with one mistake.

How often do you find yourself in a state of physical or spiritual calm? Perhaps you believe that your life should be conflict-free or defined by the absence of problems.

Does your house look like you’re losing a game of Jumanji? When I get the urge to clean, I just watch Hoarders, and I decide my house isn’t that dirty after all. Your room is not messy. You just have everything on display, like a museum? Step one: Clean your house. Yes, I said it. De-cluttering not only helps you organize your room or house, it clears your mind. You never know what you have – until you clean your room.

Believe it or not, you have a reservoir of serenity and stillness inside of you at this very moment. Do you have any idea how to tap into it? No need to be on a massage table at an upscale spa to access that calmness. Then again, you may need someone to knead you. But all you need to do is – breathe. Now visualize a safe space. What does your wonderland look like? What do you see? What can you hear or smell in your mellow place?

Give yourself over to whatever moment you are in. Savor that hot cocoa. What’s always in season? Chocolate. I’m not self-medicating with chocolate. The lady at the shop wrote me a prescription. Well, she called it a receipt. Whatever.

Really notice the pretty snowfall. I know. You love looking at the snow – on Facebook… from Florida. How do you find Will Smith in a snowstorm? Look for Fresh Prints. Heh. But seriously, don’t automatically remind yourself about a work task or what needs to be done around the house.

Your preferences and predilections will determine how much peacefulness you have in your daily life, sweet friends. Start by challenging your worrying self. Ask yourself: Will fretting about what I can’t control be useful for me in any way whatsoever? Please live your life in accordance with your cherished values and virtues. Do not allow others to influence your choices. Do not spend another moment trying to impress or score points with them. Still trying to change him? You’d have better luck trying to change the weather.

Are you drowning in work, or feeling forever on overload? Work again? Didn’t I just do that yesterday? You deserve to cultivate an internal state of spiritual respite. Do not convince yourself that you will finally feel good when you have the “things” you always wanted. Sure, you will relish that new car; but trust me – the novelty will wear off. I know: You’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus. Well, you know what they say: The best car safety device is a rearview mirror with a cop in it.

But truly, the thing you really need to get – is you. Society may be obsessed with performance and productivity. No need to constantly justify your behavior or life to others. Find your tranquility in the present moment. Trust your own decisions.

Whatever activity you are doing, try channeling all of your energy into it. Observe the intrusive, negative thoughts if they show up, but do not allow them to distract you. No one is a stranger to depression or anxiety at this time. You may be stressed, angry, bitter, or simply confused. Do not get pulled into the chaos, please.

Open your eyes inside your mind and seek the space between your thoughts. Time to clean the cobwebs from those messy rooms in your mind. Reconnect with yourself. Are you being the best version of yourself right now?

Fill in the blank: “I will finally be happy when___.” Are you still fixated and focused on how happy you are? Stop injecting toxic messages into your psyche. Accepting responsibility is not the same as self-blame. Notice if you are wasting mental energy trying to please everyone, including the mailman.

It’s okay to feel comfy and content with who you are right now, while being patient in shaping who you wish to become. Above all, stop being at war with yourself. Invest in yourself, please. Laugh as much as you can. The humor is there. So please go on and find it. Laughter is a tranquilizer, with no side effects.

 By Caroline Schumsky, LCSW, MS