Embracing the "No Pasa Nada" Lifestyle in Stressful Times

From the moment I arrived in Spain last fall for my semester abroad, “no pasa nada” was a phrase I heard frequently. For those who don’t speak Spanish (aka, me when I first landed!), this phrase essentially translates to “no worries” or “no problem”. I quickly learned that rather than being slang or something casually said with friends, “no pasa nada” is a way of everyday life in Madrid- whether it was being stressed about an upcoming exam or being late to meet up with friends, everyday sources of stress were taken in stride and the overall culture was more laidback and easygoing.



 As someone who admittedly overthinks and is frequently anxious, the “no worries” lifestyle was not something I was used to, especially coming from the ambitious and often competitive environment of AU. I spent so much time throughout the first part of my semester stressing about internships, finding housing, how my grades would transfer back home, etc., which ultimately just stressed me out and took me away from enjoying being in the moment and living in Spain. Although there are definitely times when it is necessary to be stressed about big decisions, it’s also important to remember to live in the present and not constantly worry about the future.

Once I allowed myself to embrace the “no pasa nada” lifestyle a little more, I found that I was overall happier and more balanced. Although I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m completely stress-free, there’s a few ways I’ve found to incorporate “no worries” lifestyle even while at AU:


1. Look at the big picture through journaling

I personally never understood the appeal of journaling until I started while abroad in order to record my memories of the semester. However, I found that in addition to being a way to remember fun experiences, it was great for relieving stress and helping to remind me of the big picture. Journaling is perfect for anytime you want to vent about something through writing, whether you’re feeling homesick abroad, mad at a friend, or stressed about schoolwork. By looking back and reading your past entries, you can also recognize that problems that seem like the biggest deal in the world in the moment always end up working out.




2. Take the time to enjoy the small things in life

It’s so easy to focus only on the negatives when you’re stressing about something, and forget all of the good things you do have going on in your life. Simple things like getting dinner with your roommates or walking to campus on a nice day are moments to appreciate and reflect back upon when you’re anxious. When I was upset abroad, taking a moment to look around and remember that I was lucky enough to be in Madrid helped to put things in perspective. Considering that as AU student we live in one of the best cities in the country, this can definitely be applied here on campus as well!


3.  When in doubt, take a “siesta”

The “siesta” (aka nap) culture in Spain was one of my favorite things to indulge in after a long day of classes or exploring.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the benefits of a mid-day slumber include boosting your mood and reducing stress. Plus, as college students, it’s basically normal to be sleep-deprived from late nights of studying and Netflix binging. The next time you’re worried about something that’s out of your control, say “no pasa nada” and go to sleep!


Photo Credits: 1, 2