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A Sam Gamgee-Approved Guide to Being BRAVE

I know that the world can be a scary place.

For example, phone calls. Terrifying. No one but Drake makes phone calls anymore. The only reason a person wouldn’t just text me is because it’s an emergency and someone I know is in mortal peril. And don’t even get me started on scariest form of communication: the written letter, which could only mean my loved one has been lost at sea.

Thankfully, my years of senseless anxiety have led to a series of tips I shall offer you so that we may travel through this world on wings of BRAVERY, and together realize that nothing could be as bad as having to walk into Mordor.

Take your worry to its worst conclusion and accept it: If you’re like me, you probably spend your days worrying about things that will never happen. Sometimes, though, it can be helpful to embrace that by taking things all the way to their least logical conclusion, just so you can put everything into perspective. Are you worried that you did poorly on a test you took? Sure, you could hypothetically fail out of school and be forced to work in a cornfield where you’ll be abducted by aliens. But would living with aliens really be that bad? Realistically, the worst possible outcome is that you did do poorly on the test. So? You’ll just study harder or get some help from a friend next time, and that’ll be that.

Don’t let clickbait scare you: It’s safe to say that MOST* of the internet is not exactly caring or dedicated to your well-being, and will use any trick to get a click, even if it means terrifying potential readers. Actually, ESPECIALLY if it means terrifying their potential readers. Just remember that a headline that reads “New Lava Virus Will Destroy Us All” might be just a slight exaggeration. It’s probably only one scientist who thinks that, lava viruses will not destroy us all, and you shouldn’t hesitate to shut yourself off from your Twitter feed for a bit if it’s stressing you out. Being brave sometimes means staving off triggers whichever way you can.

*I said most

Give yourself permission not to worry: Sometimes, when I have nothing to worry about, I worry that I must have forgotten something I should have been worrying about. That’s a fun trick your brain can pull to make you anxious ALL THE TIME. It helps to remind yourself that you’re not always in control, and when you allow yourself to let go of the need for control, you’re able to brave the elements (and maybe even enjoy the experience) a million times better. Trust me.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help: This seems obvious when you read it online, but it doesn’t always feel like an obvious option in the moment. Being brave doesn’t mean doing everything alone. Did Harry Potter do everything alone? Nope. Does The Doctor do everything alone? Nope. Did Katniss do everything alone? Uhhhhh… I haven’t actually read any of The Hunger Games or seen the movies, but from the trailers it looks like she hangs around with lots of other people. Please don’t tell the other Sploggers I haven’t seen The Hunger Games.

Use your closet to your advantage: Throughout history, warriors preparing for battle have dressed themselves in armor and large feathers to provide themselves with both protection and a bout of flair, obviously. That being said, armor may be a bit heavy, especially once the summer months roll around. Feel free to just stick the feathers in your hair, or wear whatever else makes you feel like a boss. A beret usually works for me.

Look to inspirational figures: Balto is mine, because he led a pack of snow dogs who brought medicine through a blizzard to save a sick village. But you can get inspiration from whatever brave animal, person, or inanimate object that stumbles into your line of vision. Maybe it’s this cat who braves the breadface. Maybe it’s the guy on Chopped who used cheese doodles to bread his fish sticks.

And if all else fails, make like Sam Gamgee: Eat a potato, put on your brave pants, and march your butt right into Mordor. We believe in you.

Post your tips for staying brave below!