Whether you are planning a big, stressful corporate event, or job hunting and scared about how you will pay the next rent check, appearing cool and collected to outsiders is key. After all, no one likes dealing with someone in freak out mode. Bad energy hurts you and those around you.

While the timing doesn’t seem just right to share what’s eating me, this fortune cookie couldn’t have come at a better time. I got it yesterday while grabbing lunch with my mama’ in San Francisco’s vibrant China Town. I’m not one for superstition but in that moment the universe felt perfectly aligned, like I was in the right restaurant, at just the right time, eating the right fortune cookie, receiving a message from afar: Breathe, Juliet. Stop panicking. Everything will be okay. The future is bright.

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In all honesty, I need a support system right now. But I can’t turn to my most-trusted confidant just yet. I can’t put any additional stress on my mom. She’s always been my rock and the one I come running to with my tears and worries. But since I can’t do that right now, how can I deal with my anxiety? Who can I turn to? How can I stay optimistic and sane?

1. Fake it Until you Make It: Long ago, I heard that emotions are strongly tied to the physical. So, anytime I get sad, I force a smile, and to my pleasant surprise, I actually feel happier. Yes, that means smiling may cause happiness. Imagine the implications. Now, I’m not saying to ignore your tears or emotions (getting out your tears is a great therapy in its own right) but you may find that turning a frown upside down will actually trigger authentic, positive feelings.

2. Get Rid of the Negative Energy: It may seem to go against the first piece of advice, but I’d disagree. There are times to put on a smile and hopefully start feeling genuine happy, calm emotions, and there are times to tap into your worries and get them out of your system! You can do this in a positive way by going on a long run, meditating at yoga, getting a massage, unwinding with a bubble bath, destroying a punching bag, or even drawing or writing in a journal. And if all of these really don’t do it for you, there is no shame in crying. While the research is mixed on whether there is really such a thing as “a good cry,” (some of us feel better after crying, some of us feel worse, and some of us feel about the same) it’s still a way to get rid of built up energy and feelings.

3. Don’t be a drama queen (king): If you are stressed out, odds are that things could go wrong. This does not mean that some major catastrophe is right around the corner. Get a grip on what is eating at you, and take a proactive approach to avoid this. Sometimes this means asking for help, or creating a more realistic plan for yourself. Don’t think of life as a giant, catastrophic soap opera. This is an opportunity; make the best of it.

4. Create your own sanctuary: Whether it’s getting your friend to watch your favorite show with you, retreating to your bedroom and listening to a relaxing playlist, or lighting some candles around the house, you can create an environment or ritual that signifies “official chill out time.”

5. Breathe: Panic mode creeping up on you? Take a deep breathe and engage in controlled, relaxed breathing. Take a look at these 3 Effective Anxiety Breathing Exercises to calm your mind and body.

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