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10 Ways to Stay Optimistic When You’re Overwhelmed

It’s been said that the four years we spend in college are supposed to be the best years of our lives. We get to live on our own, choose our own life paths, order pizza at 3:00 a.m. on weeknights, binge watch as much Netflix as we want, and hang out with our friends 24/7. These are the things we live for. However, as great as these four years can be, there are times when things can get rough. Here are just ten ways to stay optimistic when busy college days might be getting you down.

1. Always look on the bright side of a situation.

It’s really easy to be disappointed when a situation doesn’t go quite the way we want it to. During times like these, try thinking about it in a more of optimistic light. The worst thing could turn into the best thing ever!

2. Be mindful of your goals.

Sometimes it seems that all the work we are doing for classes, projects, and other activities goes unnoticed and it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it. Being mindful of and setting goals for ourselves can be a good reminder that we are making progress, and our work really does count for something.

3. Remember the things you are thankful for each day.

We often overlook all of the good things in our lives. Remind yourself of the things you are thankful for and it will be sure to put a smile on your face.

4. Think about the things you like about yourself each day.

We all have imperfections, and a lot of times they are all that we focus on. Pick out one thing every day that you like about yourself, and tell yourself that one thing when you get up in the morning to boost your self-confidence and self-love.

5. Reflect on your values.

We all have values that we believe in and carry out in our daily lives. Even when the world is going crazy, remember what you believe and this can give you a little piece of mind.

6. Celebrate your accomplishments.

Call your mom and tell her you got that internship you were really hoping for or tell a friend how great you felt about that bio test you just took. Maybe even take a break from all of that studying and watch an episode of your new favorite show! Celebrating your accomplishments is an awesome way to stay positive about what you are doing here at Gustavus and out in the world.

7. Know that there are people who care about you.

Your friends, family, professors, pets, and everyone who is part of the Gustavus community are always rooting for you and wishing you the best in everything you do.

8. Recognize and share your talents with others.

Whether it be music, art, athletics, being a good listener, or a supportive friend, recognizing and sharing your talents with others will brighten everyone’s day.

9. Be open to learning new things about yourself, others, and the world around you.

Most of us think we know a lot about ourselves, others, and our surroundings, but there is still so much that we don’t know! Being open to learning new things allows us to think, challenge, debate, understand, and realize things we might have never known otherwise.

10. Be your best self!

Putting on a face or acting like someone you aren’t can lead to challenging situations. Being yourself, and your BEST SELF is the greatest way to stay happy and positive through these crazy (but amazing) years of our lives.


Kristi is a sophomore at Gustavus Adolphus College where she is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Music. At Gustavus, Kristi is involved in the instrumental and vocal music programs, and is a news writer for the on-campus newspaper, The Gustavian Weekly. A few of her favorite things include: cats, cake, watching sitcoms, and spending time with friends and family.
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