Mr. Bouchard’s helpful hints for reigning in your anxiety

If you’re like me, you fear all people/events/things. When I’m in a haunted house, this kind of behavior is considered normal. When I’m in the Vassar Bookstore, knees shaking in terror with the prospect of having to decide between Original and Special Italian Blend snack mix and possibly ruining my life/my unborn children’s lives with the wrong choice, it is less OK. But fear no more, friends! Your handy-dandy Humor & Satire Editor has compiled a list of tips that have helped curb my own anxiety, and may help alleviate yours as well.

1. Pump yourself up in front of the mirror.

Everyone morning, when my pet rooster Franklin Delano Crows-a-velt wakes me up at the crack of dawn, I spend between forty and fifty minutes screaming positive things at myself in the mirror (#sorrynotsorry person who lives next to me). It’s a great way to build self-esteem before heading out into the cruel, unyielding world of the Kiosk line. I look myself right in the eyes and make my way through a list of confident aphorisms, ranging from “Your face has looked worse, remember middle school?” to “That one attractive Deece worker really DOES see something special in the way you ask to use a guest swipe” to “Someday they’ll pay! They’ll all pay! You are son of the moon and brother of the sun! You have the power to defeat all who oppose you! Devour their souls and make them taste sweet cold dirt!” to “You go, champ!” If you have trouble coming up with your own phrases, try watching an episode of Dora the Explorer and copying down everything Dora says to you after you correctly follow her instructions. (Yes, Dora, I SWEAR I said the word “Map.”)

2. Picture everyone in their underwear.

It’s a cliché of public speaking that if you picture your audience in their underwear, you gain confidence. So why not apply that to everyday life? You’d be amazed how calm you are when you consider yourself the only fully-dressed person in an English seminar full of naked weirdos. Utilizing this trick, places like The Mug, Founder’s Day, and any studio art class suddenly make a whole lot more sense. And if you’re bi like me, this technique can just generally make life a heck of a lot more interesting/wonderful/distracting/all-consuming/make it stop I can’t do work.

3. Reward yourself for confident behavior.

Every time I make a quick decision or act self-assuredly in a social situation, I reward myself. I used to reward myself with an hour of Netflix, but it wasn’t quite enough of an incentive to be less anxious. So now I reward myself with the basic human necessities of sleep, nourishment, sunlight, and shelter. Earlier today, I told a professor that I disagreed with his analysis in front of the entire class, so now I get to add thirty minutes of sleep and a handful of dry protein powder to my daily routine. And if I end up not breaking down in tears before my internship interview, I’m allowed to finally tape some old issues of The Miscellany News together to replace these Vassar Chronicle shoes.

4. Stop leaving your room.

Or as I call it, “My Weekend.” I may live in a cramped Jewett single that smells like lentils, dusty Pokémon cards, and whatever watching too much Game of Thrones smells like, but at least it’s MY crampled Jewett single. I am the King of my oddly-shaped castle! When I’m in my room, I can wear what I want (They Might Be Giants t-shirt, plaid boxers, knee socks), I can say what I want (primarily quotes from Teen Titans and Dexter’s Laboratory screamed out in my sleep), and I can eat what I want (salami and egg sandwiches with Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies as bread) with minimal social anxiety. (I say minimal because even my subconscious is aware of how lame and true all of that is.)

5. Compare yourself to any Michael Cera character.

You feel like Kanye West now, don’t ya?

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