by Emma Payne Murphy
Stress, anxiety and insecurity are three relatively familiar feelings associated with being a college student. Whether you feel stressed about your course load, anxious about an upcoming exam or social event, or insecure about yourself, keep in mind that you, yes you, have the ability to change those feelings. Once you discover just how much control you have over what you feel, you will be able to transform your own personal energy from negative and tense, to a much more positive and relaxed state. Therefore, it is up to you –– that is, if you’re willing –– to take the simple steps towards an overall happier and easy going lifestyle.
These “simple steps” that I am referring to are easily attainable, and are within reach of all people; no matter who you are or where you come from. First and foremost, you need to change your attitude. When you think negatively, especially about yourself and your abilities, you are setting yourself up for failure. This ultimately, will only cause your stress, anxiety and insecurity levels to flare up and become more intense. This is a vicious cycle you should try to avoid at all costs. Now, I know what you must be thinking, “easier said than done”, right? Well it doesn’t have to be. Changing a negative attitude, or getting rid of negative thoughts is much easier than we allow ourselves to believe.
By using affirmations, more commonly known as “positive self talk”, you can actually train yourself to detach from negativity, and begin to view yourself in a more positive light. Dr. Carmen Harra, clinical psychologist and author, states that “affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible.” Furthermore, “affirmations do indeed strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. When we verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions, we are instantly empowered with a deep sense of reassurance that our wishful words will become reality.” Of course, verbalizing your ambitions alone will not get your homework done or your paper written, but it will help to change your attitude. Once your attitude has changed, you will notice that some of your insecurities and anxieties will subside.
After becoming comfortable with practicing affirmations, you can take it a step further by following up your affirmations with an action. Dr. Harra explains that “we cannot rely purely on thoughts; we must translate thoughts into words and eventually into actions in order to manifest our intentions.” In order to accomplish the daily tasks that come along with being a college student, you need to do more than just tell yourself you’ll get your assignments done in a timely fashion; you need to transfer your empowering energy into actually doing the assignments, and, believe it or not, your assignments will one by one become less stressful than they seemed to be before you started affirmations.
The second step towards an overall happier and easy going lifestyle is a simple exercise called mindfulness. Mindfulness is “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad,” says Psychology Today. Mindfulness allows you to detach from past stresses, anxieties, and insecurities, and just be focused on the present. I have been practicing mindfulness for quite some time now, and ever since I started my shoulders feel a lot lighter, my mind feels more focused, and my confidence has gone through the roof. I have completely changed my life without taking any drastic measures, it is truly incredible.
I recommend engaging in mindfulness at night, right before you are going to go to bed. This way, you can let go of anything negative that might have occurred during your day, and you can just focus on going to sleep and starting fresh in the morning. In addition, mindfulness will help relax not only your mind, but also your body, which will ultimately result in a better night’s sleep.
Stress, anxiety, and insecurity will get the best of you if you let it; so make the change, and take control today.