Against the Migraine


You’re stressed as all hell. Motrin, Excedrin, and Advil aren’t putting an end to your throbbing headache. So, you ask for some advice. But, we’ve heard the overused phrases time and time again:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t cry over spilt milk. What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger. Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are.  No Regrets *puckers duck lips and throws up a peace sign* Just Breathe, or even worse the person breaks out into song: IT’S THE CLIMB! by Miley Cyrus…

That sentimental motivation is thoughtful and all, but I mean, a strategy would be more effective, dontcha think? An inspirational quote can only do so much. It’s easier to say count your blessings, just breathe or, this soon too shall pass, live with no regrets than it is actually doing so. Actions, though: that’s what is going to change your mindset and have that worrywart headache out the door.

Everyone’s different when it comes to getting worries off their mind. Freaking out about getting this piece done in time for deadline, I started discussing this topic with my friend Carm. Her being a fellow college student, it was no surprise she too, was stressed.

Carm- “I have a ton of homework stressing me out,

I’m eating instant mashed potatoes though.”

Me- “I want to quote that.”

Carm- “Well, if it helps, I shape them into a not mashed potato.”

Me- “What does that even mean?!”

Carm- “I roll it around the bowl until it takes the shape of a potato.”

Me- “You put it back in the shape of a potato after they have already

been mashed for you?”

Carm- “Yes.”

If you didn’t get that, instead of focusing on the fact that her homework is stressful, my friend plays with her food. As weird as it may sound, focusing her attention elsewhere helps her. This conversation even relieved some of my stress because it was so bizarre I couldn’t help but crack up. A good laugh, I swear, is the best headache medicine. It’s a natural remedy straight from the heavens. Take a few minutes to Youtube an outrageous video, Google hilarious memes, or visit and I promise you will get a good laugh. I found one Google images that said, “Dogs Rules for Stress: If you can’t eat it or play with it, then piss on it and walk away.”  Best. Advice. Ever. If you’re asking me, funny advice is better than deep vague advice any day.

But, sometimes the stress gets so hot and heavy it’s almost impossible to crack a smile let alone a laugh. Or, if you’re a chill kind of person, laughing isn’t your thing. I talked with another friend, Theresa, who gave me a more mellow way to handle headaches: yoga, or as she puts it,

Theresa- “Y to the O to the G to the A.”

Me- “This is why we are friends.”

Yoga is the perfect strategy to just breathe. There are countless online yoga lessons with instructors who can give precise directions on breathing techniques and stretches that will have you forgetting about all the trivial things in life. If yoga is too slow motion for ya, get some cardio in! I used to stay away from yoga because I was convinced I needed high intensity workouts, but getting your blood pumping during a quick circuit or run will definitely have you paying attention to your breathing just as much as yoga. Run fast, as if you’re running from all the things that are on your mind or do so many burpees that your strength will intimidate those worries away. You’ll be panting so hard that you will be a pro at just breathing. After an intense workout, you won’t understand why you were sweating the small stuff an hour before.

Not into the stretching aspect of yoga? Not into the whole fitness thing? MEDITATE! Get into a comfortable position, relax and loosen up, shut your eyes while you’re at it, and simply focus on your breathing. If you start to realize your mind drift off into your worries, breathe realllllllll deep, then exhale as much a humanly possible. Keep as much attention as you can on your breath for as long as necessary. What I enjoy doing is putting on any form of indie Pandora station. For example, Milo Greene, I highly recommend this band if you want your mind to wander somewhere far away. Some people are stand-offish to indie for some reason I will never understand. If you’re one of those people, I got nothing, aside from maybe listening to classical music, or humming or something.

Maybe all you need to do is vent. You want to let it all out, but you cannot stand when people shove those cliches down your throat. My friend Sara chimed in to help out with this:

Sara-”I hangout with my cat and converse. Cats are the best listeners. I just need food and cats to me through anything, to be honest.”

There you have it: go find an animal and pour your heart out. They won’t say anything you don’t want to hear. You could always talk to yourself too, but I don’t really advise that. Maybe if you can’t see your furry little friend because of your distance from home, pull out a pen and paper or open a Word document and write your worries away.

I hope all of you who read this use it and apply it not only to your own stressful lives, but when someone asks you for advice, too. Spouting off Pinterest quotes advice may make you seem totally wise beyond your years and all.  But, if you don’t explain to your friend how to stop crying over spilt milk or how to just breathe, you’re really just adding to their headache and that automatically makes you awful. So, I suggest if you want to be a better person, go against the average advice.

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