So it’s the first two weeks into the semester and you’re already counting down the days to winter break. We get it, waking up at 7:50 a.m. on a September morning to run to an 8 a.m. class isn’t the same as waking up at 6:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise at the beach on a summer morning, but here are some simple practices you can incorporate into your everyday life to maintain an overall positive outlook on life for yourself and to others around you.
1. Appreciate the Little Things
It could be as simple as someone opening the door for you at Towers or watching the helicopter land on the roof of UPMC to treat a patient. Though rather cliché, it’s important to remember that the more positive value you find in simple, everyday events, the more likely you are to resort to a positive outlook no matter what the situation is. This helps get rid of a sense of “helplessness,” because even when it seems like the world is crashing down on you, your mind will be trained to look for the one positive thing. Especially when thinking about exam season, you are more likely to remain confident and mentally healthy in both an academic and personal sense, which can improve your focus and can definitely reduce the sense of negativity which creeps up on most college students during that time.
2. Do What You Love
Whether it is horseback riding, playing the piano, surfing, or even whipping out that favorite board game of yours, making time for your passions is essential to ease yourself when it feels like there are a million things running through your mind. No matter how many deadlines and exams are approaching, remember to take a step back to live “here and now”- wind down and give yourself that “me” time you need. Often we may feel guilty about taking time out of our days to really focus on ourselves, but practicing a balanced lifestyle comes with providing ourselves with happiness. As humans we need that sense of satisfaction to keep us going, because when negativity hits, it hits hard. You don’t want to go down that downward spiral just because you think taking 30 minutes out of your day to watch that episode of Gossip Girl will waste your time. Remember Step 1- Appreciate the little things, right?
3. Perform A Random Act of Kindness
You contribute to the social environment on campus. Just like how someone opening the door for you on a rough Tuesday afternoon can ultimately change your mood, remember that you have the power to make someone else’s day better too. Making that extra effort can really radiate your positivity to others, and in turn, it shows how awesome of a person you are. Empathy feeds the soul, and we need to understand that sharing a positive outlook with others can have a much larger impact than we expect. Every day, try to remember, “Today I need to make someone’s day better.” Making this a daily practice can easily go from just changing one person’s day to multiple overtime.
4. Be the Bigger Person in Uncontrollable Situations
No, even when we try to stay positive about everything throughout our day, life isn’t perfect and we definitely have our off days when we just want to curl up on our beds and eat a whole tub of overpriced ice cream from Market-to-Go or Quickzone. Know that even though things may not seem to be going how you’d like, don’t sweat the small stuff. Looking for that one positive aspect to cancel out a negative one, as mentioned before, can help you remain calm and work towards mending the situation. Look for the solution rather than dwell on the problem and remember to not be too hard on yourself. We encounter uncomfortable situations with other people on campus all the time, and if they are unable to handle it maturely, don’t fight fire with fire and ruin your own day. Being the bigger person and understanding that everyone has a different story will help you both handle the situation and develop more resiliency.
5. Surround Yourself With Positive Energy
“You are what you eat” could be switched out with “you are who you surround yourself with,” especially since you’re trying to chow down the quickest and closest food to you on campus, so you really aren’t thinking about what you’re eating (but that’s another article). All jokes aside, surround yourself with others who cultivate a positive atmosphere. If you’re a peppy and spirited person, don’t hang out with people who criticize or devalue your positive attitude. Just like how your positive outlook can radiate to others, a negative outlook has the same, or even more, power to do so. Girl, if others can’t handle all you got to offer, then keep moving onto bigger and better things! Daily positivity is key here, so do that crazy morning workout hiking up cardiac hill with your friends or hop onto that random Port Authority bus at the side of the street and take an adventure. Seize the happiness every new day has to offer.
Now that you’ve learned a few pointers to reach that positive outlook on life, go out and light up our campus with that positive energy!