1. Don’t believe everything you think
‘Why did I say that to that boy at that party when I was 16?’ ‘My face is never going to look untired again.’ ‘Where’s my phone?’ ‘I wonder what the priest looks like naked.’ ‘I’m not going to be able to handle this.’ Just a snapshot of the thoughts that have pinged through our heads in the past two minutes. Sometimes you just have to turn around and tell your thoughts, firmly, that they are being unhelpful. We have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day – some of them are going to be hellish.
2. Drastic times call for drastic pleasures
We tend to think that when things get tough we need to hunker down, bunker up, keep a low profile, take up less space and generally punish ourselves a bit. As if we needed to feel more depressed. Time for another approach. Do something only because it will feel wonderful.
3. I accept my power, I just don’t know how to turn it on
It’s a horrible cliché that grown-ups are technophobes who don’t know what Wi-Fi stands for and panic as soon as the wheel of death appears, or take it personally when the Sky remote freezes. But sometimes when we know we’ve got some power, some juice, some flux capacity, it is hard to find the switch. Locate the switch, guys. And flick it. That’s all we’re saying. You know that you’ve got the power in you.
4. It’s not me, it’s you
Here’s a radical thought: sometimes you are not the problem. Sometimes other people are the problem. The thing is, they probably know your worth, they’d just rather you didn’t. It might be time to step out from behind the fear fog, and remind them who the hell they are dealing with. Be the badass you forgot to be yesterday. Apart from the overwhelming anxiety, I am pretty well-adjusted. This is the big one. On the whole, you are winning. Tell yourself daily, set one of those alarm thingies, record your own voice and remember that, yes, the panic sometimes threatens to pull you under and take you to the upside down, but on the plus side, anxious people are amazing. You are considerate, thoughtful, always prepared for the apocalypse and never, ever run out of loo paper.
5. Wishbone, backbone, funny bone
They’re all we really need in our bag of coping mechanisms. A bit of faith (in God, Allah, Lakshmi, yourself, fortune, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), a bit of strength and a sense of humour, because worrying about everything going to hell in a handcart may not be fun, but at least it can be funny. Appallingly funny.
6. You are brave enough
Work out what you want. That one thing that you know will make your life hum a different tune – a baby, a house, a retirement plan, a sabbatical, a reset. The thing that could redefine you. Work out how to get it. Go for it. You have it in you. Look how far you’ve come already. You are magnificent.
7. If we’re not in it together, we’re not in it at all
Listen, people are unique, but feelings are not unique. We have chosen to assume that we are all more alike than unalike. And we’ve learnt that from you lot over the past two and a half years. This is the last of our Telegraph columns – but it is not the end. We are about to be reincarnated as… glad you asked. See you here next week and all will become clear. Well, as clear as these things ever are. Thank you for the music, and see you on the other side.