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We are often told that the key to feeling better is to simply think more positively. They try to tell us that the key to success is to maintain a growth mindset. Of course these things seem to make sense in the grand scheme of things, but there is a bit of a disconnect between the idea and putting it into practice. Quotes and ideas are nice, but action is what really counts, right? Changing your mindset sounds easy enough, but it seems to get significantly more challenging when you actually go to do it. As it turns out, it really is simple to do but more challenging to maintain. Here are a few simple and easily applied tricks that I particularly like to move toward a more positive and growth-oriented mental state: 

Replacing “have to” with “get to”

This one is interesting because it flies under the radar. By telling yourself or others that you “have to” do something, it often implies that it is both not your choice and something that you are required to do, although you are likely lacking enthusiasm to do it. On the other hand, when someone says they “get to” do something, they tend to use it in a context where they are excited to be telling you about what they are doing and thus looking forward to the task. As someone blatantly told me, “you don’t have to do anything.” While a bit harsh, they had a good point. We are fortunate to be able to do tasks – even if they are not our favorites – with relative ease, and not everyone has such blessings. So, if you catch yourself saying “have to,” pause and audibly replace it with “get to,” and see how the small change alters your perception of the task.

Replacing “I’m sorry” with “thank you for __”

When I first heard this trick, I was fascinated. “I’m sorry” has become a reflex for me at times, which means people also believe apologies less strongly. It has become a behavior of habit rather than intention. Thus, by replacing “I’m sorry I’m late” with “thank you for being patient,” you are able to spin the negativity from the situation into something of gratitude that leans toward a more positive mindset.

Working toward mindfulness by allowing your mind to rest
Emily Veith

This one is sweet and to the point: to best stay in touch with yourself, you need to take time to stop and listen to yourself. You need time to let your mind rest. It is hard to stay positive when your mind is exhausted; your mind struggles to process the negative things that are happening in a reasonable light, and these bad things can seem to spiral out of control for you. Be sure to take some time to be kind to yourself. 

Thankfully, starting to switch to a mindset like this is not too challenging. I mentioned above that maintaining it is what is generally more difficult, but the good news is that, once these little tricks become habits, they become a part of your nature and something you can do to actively help yourself without having to do anything extra. I hope these suggestions help assist you in the journey to positivity! Love yourself and others always



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Victoria Lyczak

Notre Dame '24

Victoria Lyczak is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame where she studies management consulting and theology. She is a lover of organization, fashion, hair, makeup, and all things that have to do with singing, dancing, and choreographing. She also loves making and eating all kinds of baked goods and desserts.
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