- Take Time for Yourself
Eat a meal alone. Read a book. Fly a kite. Seriously, anything works. Just do it. I guarantee that you will feel refreshed after spending time alone with your thoughts. According to Dr. Reed Larson from the University of Illinois, alone time plays a constructive role in daily life and serves as a complement to social activities. Even if it feels awkward at first, spending time with your own thoughts will give you clarity and tranquility.
We’re told to do this on a regular basis, yet so many of us fail to follow through with it. Not only will your body be thankful for an increase in activity, your mental health will improve tremendously. A study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia shows that regular aerobic exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus. In other words, exercising regularly can lead to a boost in your learning capacity and verbal memory. There are countless ways to work up a sweat, so get moving!
- Eat Breakfast
This is probably the simplest way to set yourself up for a positive and productive day. Even eating a piece of fruit in the morning has been shown to increase your energy levels. It is also easier to concentrate on schoolwork when you’re working on a full stomach!
- Go outside
Breathing fresh air is an easy technique for eliminating stress and improving your mood. There is nothing nicer than going from musky dorm room air to crisp, wintry, pine-filled air.
- Make your bed
I know what you’re thinking—this is a waste of time and a chore you were happy to escape upon leaving your home. However, to quote Navy Seal William H. McCraven, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.” The only way to prove Mr. McCraven right (or wrong) is by making your bed…so try it!
- Call your Parents
Ok. This may not apply to everyone, but it is certainly helpful and calming to keep in contact with your parents or guardians, whomever they may be. Even just speaking to an old professor or mentor that had an impact in your life will let you express any uncertainties you may be having. This will, in turn, make you feel less stressed and more confident in your choices.
- Write down your feelings in a journal.
Writing is the most individualized and personalized way of expressing your feelings without facing judgement or repercussions. Oftentimes, simply writing down the things that are bothering you can help you look at them from a different perspective or let them go all together.
- Maintain clean working and living spaces
According to a study conducted by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system”. In other words, it is easier to concentrate on work when you aren’t in an untidy space. Uncluttered spaces are most conducive to higher thinking and productivity. Just think, if you’re able to complete your work in less time by being organized, you’ll have more time left over to do the things you enjoy!
- Spend time with friends
As a human being, you are naturally a social individual. It is essential to your mental health that you interact with people, particularly those you feel happy around. Honestly, who doesn’t love letting time fly by with great company?
- Stop comparing yourself to others
This is likely the most challenging tip to follow in this article. Look, we all have insecurities. But looking to others for validation is not healthy and definitely won’t make you feel happier. Be confident in who you are and try not to think about what anyone else is saying/doing/pretending.
- And finally…Be positive!
As cliche as it may sound, this is extremely important. According to staff at Mayo Clinic, positive thinking helps with stress management and has shown signs of improving your health. Conversely, negative thinking increments stress levels and deteriorates your psychological state. Trying to find the silver lining of a difficult situation isn’t usually easy, but searching for solutions instead of sulking in self-pity is much more effective (and healthy!).
Not convinced any of these actually work? Try them and find out for yourself!
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