Small Ways to Bring Positivity to Your Day

There is plenty of stress that go along with being a college student.  From school to friends to parents to relationships struggles. It’s super important that we know how to handle these kinds of stressors.  Making a few positive changes isn’t a cure all for mental illnesses, but they can limit the impact of them for sure.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

1. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep isn’t just something people tell you is important for no reason!  It actually is really beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally! Sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of depression, weight gain, higher stress levels, and a higher risk for stroke and diabetes. The amygdala is the emotional part of your brain, and when it’s well rested you do better processing feelings and responses.  


2. Make sure you are eating enough – (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner)

Yep.  That’s right!  All 3! They are all important.  When your body is lacking food it doesn’t function the same way, and you won’t be as near as productive or happy as you want to be!  But there’s more than just eating consistently to adding some positivity to your day! Mood-boosting foods are broken into three major groups: Protein, Vitamins, and Fiber!  Sure, sweets are nice and all, but they only give you a short burst of energy. Adding in things from these three categories show a clear relationship to your state of positivity.  


3. Find your “happy place”

Okay yes it sounds SUPER cliché…but I promise it isn’t!  Being able to take a step back from all the stresses of the world is a super important skill to have.  It can be anything you want. It could be that you are thinking of you on the beach, or eating cookies, or it could even be a physical place you go to!   It doesn’t matter what or where it is, as long as you are able to take that minute of you day to go to this place. Being able to have this safe space is extremely important and practicing it daily is a great form of self-care.


4. Spend time to focus on your breathing

Practicing your breathing can actually increase energy and decrease anxiety and stress.  With everything that we have in our busy schedules, it’s really important to focus on your mental health, in addition to physical health.  Breathing properly increases the amount of oxygen that is available for our brains to utilize. With this increased amount of oxygen, our brains can function easier, and therefore decreases mental clogging.


5. Stretch

Self-love, physically and mentally, is really important to making sure your day is positive.  Stretching can decrease your mood swings, as well as your muscle tightness, which both lead to increased stress.  Stretching makes your body more relaxed. When your body is more relaxed your brain can function more clearly because you don’t have the same amount of tension physically.  Muscles are linked, so when your hips are tight, your back will be tight, and then your shoulders, and so on up to your head.


6. Be active

We all have been told that a certain amount of exercise is good for us physically, but did you know that it’s super important mentally too??  Yep that’s right, being active releases “happy chemicals”, called Dopamine, to your brain. It also makes you less stressed out, by sweating out, raising your heart rate, and triggering a bit of hormonal changes, which allows you to get better at handling stressors that come along with everyday life.  


7. Laugh and smile more

You know they say smiling is contagious for a reason.  Smiling can actually make your brain happy too!!! A smile actually causes a chemical reaction in the brain releasing dopamine and serotonin.  Serotonin is really good for you because it reduces the level of stress you have. Basically, if you smile and laugh more you can trick your brain into believing you’re happy, and therefore it will release feelings of true happiness.  


8. Watch what words you use

Certain words have certain powers.  Take Justin Bieber’s advice and “Never say never” (P.S. I hope you sang it like him).  Think of words that you associate with happiness and try to incorporate them into your vocab more, like “dislike” instead of “hate”.  What kind of words we use throughout our day can have a big impact on how we feel because of the connotations that come along with them!  So, try to be positive in your everyday talk, as well as your self-talk.


9. Do one nice thing a day for someone else

Helping others is proven to make us feel good about ourselves.  Helping others has shown to give you higher self-esteem, mental well-being, and overall happiness.  It can be something small like holding the door open for someone or bringing them a treat, or it can be something at large.  Whatever you decide on, make sure to get it in! Concern for others can be a way to do good for yourself.