College can be a time of transition. As you are adapting to a new environment and learning new things about yourself, you might also feel overwhelmed at times. Below are 6 tips for working on your positivity.
Whether you are doing a full meditation session or simply working to be more aware, being mindful helps with positivity. I find that being more aware of my feelings helps me to discern what might be bothering me. For example, if I am in a bad mood I will pause and acknowledge that. “I am in a bad mood right now and that is okay.” There is nothing worse than beating yourself up for feelings that you have. Next, I will ask myself what is causing the bad mood. Finally, I will ask myself if this thing is worth being upset over. If it is something like getting some really bad news, I will probably allow myself to be upset. But if it is something small, like a car cutting me off, I will tell myself that in the grand scheme of things, this one instance is not a huge problem. In this way, I am able to release the negativity surrounding it and feel a lot better.
2. Mood Tracking
I love tracking my mood. I keep a page in my bullet journal dedicated to my “Year in Pixels”. Every day, I fill in the corresponding square with a color that represents my mood. Yellow for an “On Top of the World” day, orange for a good day, red for a bad day, etc. I do allow myself to split days sometimes, if I had something great and something bad happen, for example. But keeping this log helps me to maintain my perspective as well as track trends. If I am having a bad day, I can look at my chart and see that overall I have had a lot of good days this year. Or, alternatively, if I notice that I am logging a lot of off days, I can try to pin down what might be causing that instead of just feeling like I’m stuck in a rut.
3. Optimistic Bias
In science, biases are bad. But when it comes to bringing positivity to your life, I like to lean slightly towards the optimistic bias side of the spectrum. What I mean by this is that I work hard to remember and make note of the good days and good things that happen to me so that when I am feeling down I can remind myself of all the good things in my life. This also prevents me from entering the downward spiral that is “Nothing good ever happens”, or the pessimistic bias. By focusing on the positive in my life I can avoid that pitfall.
4. Surround Yourself with Loving People
I am not the first to say this, but it is an important belief in my life: you become your surroundings. If you spend time surrounded by people who bring negativity to your life, you will start to feel drained and it will be hard to keep that positive outlook. I feel very fortunate to have some strong and beautiful women in my life who always have my back and are so supportive. Being surrounded by them has helped my outlook on life so much, because of their overwhelming positivity. This does not mean that your friends cannot have bad days, but simply that overall your friends are the kind of people who will support you and fill your life with positivity. Everyone has bad days, but having those people you can go to, who will comfort you and help you to find your balance again is crucial.
Finding time to unwind can seem impossible sometimes but taking even a few minutes to let yourself relax can be hugely beneficial, not to mention refreshing. Whether you meditate, do yoga, work out, read a book, knit, watch your favorite show, throw a dance party, bake, or whatever else it is that you love to do, setting aside a few minutes to do it feels amazing and can help recharge you so that you are ready to tackle your next task.
Related to relaxing is the concept of self-care. You should never feel selfish for taking care of yourself. Just like relaxing, self-care can take many shapes. Whatever it is that makes you feel great, physically and emotionally, can qualify. Maybe it is your skincare routine, maybe it is working out, maybe it is going out with a friend once a week or once a month, but whatever it is, build it into your schedule. When you feel your best, you are less likely to let small things overwhelm you.
I hope these tips give you some ideas for bringing more positivity to your life. College is a time where you get to find yourself and practice being independent, but part of being successful in that is knowing how to take care of your mental state. What are your favorite ways to maintain a positive outlook?
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