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Here's how to handle life's crazy challenges -The Asian Age


Because lift doesn't always dish out smoothie bowls. Whether it's friend drama, school stress or the seemingly impossible feat of catching your crush's eye, it can feel like the odds are stacked way against you. Here's how to face the hard stuff head-on...so you can come out stronger (and smiling!) in the end.

Beat defeat

If you're like most girls, life wriggles out of your control several times a day. Whether it's getting a major allergy attack before the big softball game or doing not-so-hot on last week's algebra test, things aren't always going to go your way (bummer, we know).

So what do you do when it feels like the universe is plotting against you? First, know that whatever you're up against will not be a life- ruining tragedy. There will be more games, more tests, more chances for you to shine. Second, realize that you've got  choices-and defeat is only one of them.

Then, just take a deep breath. When you slow down your breathing, your brain actually sends neurohormones that restrain stress-producing hormones and give your bod the signal to relax and free up space to brainstorm solutions. Simple so far, right?

Find a friend

While it may be easier to close yourself off when times get tough (ahem, avoidance), try doing exactly the opposite. Next time you're in what feels like a hopeless situation, try this: Instead of skipping the subject, make a point to talk about it with a parent, friend or adult you trust. They might be able to help. Feel that? It's the weight of the world lifting off your shoulders.

Adjust a mindset

Do you ever notice yourself exaggerating a situation just a little? Instead of a test being hard, it becomes "impossible." Or that party you weren't invited to suddenly becomes "the only place to be." Instead of looking at these situations as futile, realize that you have some control, even if it's only over your own reaction. After all, you get to choose how you spend your night-sulking alone or having your own slumber party. Not such a tough call, is it?

Change directions

Heard about turning lemons into lemonade? Give it a go, Bey. Just found out your crush doesn't like you back? That's disappointing, but there will be other people. Didn't get cast in the musical? That just frees up time to take the pottery class you were considering. Cliche? as it might sound, as one door closes another one will open. Now go ahead and march through it! (Just remember: It might take a minute to see *exactly* where that new path is taking you, so don't freak if the "aha" moment hits you a little later.)

Be a survivor

No matter how bright your outlook, there will be dreary days: like when your history paper disappears into your laptop's black hole the night before it's due, or your BFF reveals your most mortifying moment to the entire school. You may want to wallow, but here's the secret: You already have what it takes to handle this. Take 10 deep breaths, step away for a second and come up with a plan of action. Know that whatever the outcome, it will make you wiser, savvier and stronger. And hey, you may even laugh about it one day.

(A version of this story originally appeared in the April/May issue of Girls' Life magazine.)

-Lindsey Silken