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The Power of Stress and Negativity

Negativity is impossible to miss on a college campus in this age. I mean, everywhere I turn, I hear people complaining or feeling upset/angry about something. Whether it is a complaint about a teacher, the length of a Starbucks line, homework that was assigned or the guy that didn’t text you back, I feel like it never ends. Don’t get me wrong, I am guilty of this too! Sometimes I even get annoyed at myself. I constantly ask myself, how can I be this negative? I am twenty years old and in college – life really isn’t that bad, is it? It should be enjoyable right now! I’m young, probably the best looking I’ll ever be, and don’t have too many gigantic responsibilities.


After a lot of thinking, I have found that my negativity stems from stress and anxiety. I do not think I am alone in this; I believe a lot of college students have trouble having a positive outlook on things due to stress and anxiety. We are all so stressed about class, getting a good internship or job and doing basic life tasks that we lose sight of what is important. Life becomes a task and it feels next to impossible to be positive because we are so bent of shape due to our stress and anxiety. I mean, come on! This is terrible. In my opinion, everyone is “too young” to be stressed but we are too young to be this stressed. 

Image Courtesy of 2EmpowerThyself


So, to figure out how to turn my mood around, I did some research. I came across an article in The Huffington Post about seven ways to practice optimism and positivity everyday. The seven recommendations were to guide your energy, connect with oneself, practice visualization, slow down, write, be kind to oneself and develop resiliency. The two recommendations that stuck out to me were to be kind to ourselves and develop resiliency.


We hear the phrase “be kind to oneself” constantly. Whether it is about weight loss, mental health or getting rid of unhealthy habits, “be kind to oneself” is a recommendation that we can’t seem to avoid. But, what does this really mean and how do we do it? This article highlighted the difficulty of being compassionate to oneself and the ease of putting oneself down or blaming ourselves for our mistakes. However, it is our mistakes and faults that make us who we are. To realize this, we must be compassionate toward ourselves, realize our faults and accept them. The author states, “Without compassion for ourselves we never find the awareness that allows us to nurture our true self”.


It is not a secret that people with resiliency stick out in society. I always remember people who were resilient – people who seemed to remain calm and collected no matter what life threw at them. They took everything with stride. I was envious of these people. However, after reading this article, my opinion has changed. Resiliency is something I want to strive for, I no longer see it as something that I am unable to achieve. You should not either. The article reads, “Success and happiness does not always come from blasting through rocks and impediments, rather from having the faith, courage and ‘letting it happen’ attitude to cope with harsh realities of life”. This is what I like to call a “truth bomb”. Many see success as achieving something – getting to the end of the semester, passing a test or getting a “perfect” GPA. We feel we cannot be happy unless we achieve “success”. But, maybe success isn’t an achievement. Maybe success is developing a mental capacity that allows us to cope with what life throws at us, finding happiness and contentment with who we are and accepting our mistakes and failures as ways to learn rather than mistakes and failures.


Now, none of this is easy. You cannot just be positive in one day; it takes work to be positive while it does not take work to be negative. We all have our internal struggles and personal problems despite the stress that comes from school and life. Being positive won’t fix these struggles. However, learning to maintain a positive outlook can ease some of the stress that comes from these or even redirect it. If we ourselves are positive, we can see the world in a different way. If we believe in our strengths, take our weaknesses as what makes us human, life and our internal battles do not seem as bad.


To learn more about the “7 Ways to Practice Positivity and Optimism Every Day”, read the article I just discussed by visiting this link. Hopefully you will find one of the seven ways helps you to look at life in a different way.




Born and raised in the city of Philadelphia. Currently a nursing student at Drexel University. When not writing for HerCampus or studying loves to run, read and draw.
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