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As many post-secondary students approach the final month of the term it's understandable why many would feel anxious and overwhelmed. With finals, a pandemic, extensive coursework and other daily stressors, life just seems to be pressing in too hard and too fast.

Here are 8 great tips to maintain mindfulness and promote healthy thinking

1. Write a letter to yourself

Start each day with a love letter to yourself that speaks to your strengths, achievements and self-confidence. It doesn’t have to be an essay, it can be as short as a few sentences. Start your day right by having a positive outlook on yourself and what you hope to achieve.

2. Journaling

Putting your thoughts on paper is a great way to declutter your mind and restructure your thinking. Journaling throughout the day will help manage your anxious thoughts, reducing the negative impact they have on your mind. Journaling can happen at any point of the day and it can span for any time frame. Try journaling for seven days using your favourite journaling prompts. See firsthand how your mind is able to release its anxiety and tension on paper, allowing for clearer focus and rational thinking.

3. Find a Hobby

Sometimes, what we need is a break from reality, and what better way to escape life’s problems than a fun hobby. This can include reading, baking, creative writing, photography or any other activity that relaxes your mind and makes you smile. Find something you can do alone or with friends. The key is to give yourself a break to calm and settle your mind, so when you’re relaxed, you’re able to take on the day with renewed energy and focus.

4. Exercise and Breathe

Inhale, hold and exhale, release. Repeat this mantra in your head for 5-10 minutes, holding each breath for 5 seconds. Feel free to adjust the time to whatever fits your needs. Deep breathing helps calm your body because it tells your brain to slow down and rest. When you feel overwhelmed and thoughts are overpowering your focus, take a step back and try breathing to settle yourself. 

Exercise can help decrease anxiety in your body because endorphins released during exercise reduce stress. These neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that make you feel happy, positive and energized. Take time in your day to go for a quick jog, or get out your mat and hit those yoga poses.

5. Get off Social Media

You heard that right. Log off Instagram, shut down your Snapchat and exit Twitter. It's time for a detox. Social media may be a great way to be plugged in, but studies have shown that there’s a strong link between social media and anxiety.  Taking necessary breaks from your social platforms helps improve your mood and lower your anxiety levels. There is life beyond your screen anyways, so go out and enjoy it!

6. Face the Music

Sometimes, it's necessary to face your anxiety and discover its source. Whether it's due to school, personal life or social life, discovering the source of your anxiety is one sure way to overcome it. Take time out of your day to organize your thoughts, structure your day by assigning manageable tasks to tackle your big goals and address pressing issues that have been delayed or put off. Sometimes, the best way to handle anxiety is to face it.

7. Accept Failure

A big source of anxiety is the fear of failure. Whether this fear is directed to school, relationships or other various endeavours, failure can be crippling and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Start seeing failure as an opportunity for learning and growth instead of a hindrance to your life. Failure is necessary for your life. As soon as you embrace it and learn to work with it to achieve your goals, the sooner you can overcome your fear and manage your anxiety.

8. Healthy Living

Adjusting your diet and getting the appropriate amount of sleep can do wonders for your mood,  making a difference to your feelings of anxiety. Taking appropriate care of your body is essential to your overall wellness!

Anxiety can be overwhelming but it’s definitely manageable. These 8 tips can help you get started in your anxiety-free journey. Don’t let the hard days win.

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