The Three Mantras That Help Me Maneuver Mental Health in College


Throughout college, it has been a learning process as I have maneuvered my way through struggles with my mental health. At times, I convince myself that I can handle all of the stressors and anxiety triggers that come with a new semester or a new year of college. I usually end up finding myself sinking deeper into a hole of panic attacks and emotional breakdowns but I always come out stronger in the end. Yet, in those certain moments, I seem to feel as if they will never end. Compiled below is a list of three reminders and affirmations I tend to remind myself in my lowest times. 


1. You are more than capable of digging yourself out of this darkness. But first, you must allow yourself to feel sad.


In therapy, I often worked on controlling my mood, specifically when I found myself using anger as a coping mechanism. Bottling up your emotions and/or masking the negative ones you are feeling with anger will only hurt you in the end. Anger can make you feel powerful, but when you allow anger to be your only way of reacting, you can begin to hurt the people you love, and it can often be a very isolating response. Allow yourself to feel upset, jealous, stressed, but don’t always express it in anger. Let yourself cry, let yourself feel gloomy, but don’t let it overpower you. Take control of what you are feeling. Feel what you need to, and then take the appropriate steps you need to in order to feel better. Take care of yourself. 


2. You will figure out whatever you are trying to figure out within your life. Take it one step at a time. Take baby steps if you feel you need to.


Sometimes I feel as if there is an unbearable amount of pressure to have everything figured out. When you are in college, people ask you questions about your major, your desired career path, and your overall plans or goals for the future. This can be overwhelming and has often caused me to second-guess everything I once thought I was completely sure of. People ask these questions because they don’t realize it’s okay to not have everything planned out. People change their majors or realize college may not even be for them. Everyone has their own starting point or restarting point. Everyone’s success looks different before it happens. It’s okay to not have a completed plan for the future. Plan for tomorrow and then go from there.

3. You are allowed to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you aren’t self-sufficient. It doesn’t make you weak. 

I used to believe that asking for help meant that I wasn’t independent. I believed that if I needed help then I wouldn’t be able to fend for myself in the long run. What I didn’t realize was asking for help means the exact opposite. For example, for years I was afraid to go back to therapy because I thought that it meant I was backtracking in my recovery. That was not the case. By being self-aware that I needed to better my mental health, I was actually taking steps forward in my recovery, instead of staying on a plateau where I was at risk for a downfall. Ask for help. Talk to your professors about how you are feeling. If a workload is too much for you and your mental health, professors are usually more than willing to help you figure out how to handle the workload. Mental health awareness has been on the rise, especially on college campuses. Your classmates, your professors, and your advisors are educating themselves every day to improve their knowledge on how to balance education and mental health. Asking for help is not something you should be afraid to do. 


These three affirmations have been a light at the end of the tunnel for me. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms and ways of dealing with the stress of college, but these affirmations could be a starting point or a guide for those who are trying to figure out their own mechanisms. 


Credit: Cover, 1, 2, 3