HealthSkills

Two steps forward, one step back. Or sometimes, two steps back or even three – and then we’re really lost, asking ourselves how we even got there. The setback comes in all shapes and forms, but always of the same effect. It has a tempting, toxic ability to keep people in a negative state of mind making it more of a stayback than anything else. We feel it when relationships end, whether with a partner or a close friend. We feel stagnant when our career choices don’t reach the expectations we have bred in our minds. We become self-degrading, unconfident, anxious, and fearful versions of ourselves whenever we face circumstances that stunt our flow of life. The sad part about all of this is not the fact that obstacles happen, but rather that our collective response to hardship is to blame ourselves by shutting down. After all, if it’s happening to me then I must be deserving of it, right?

Incorrect. Unfortunate things happen all the time, and a quick reality check can help many of us realize that our problems are not quite as hefty in the big scheme of things. But how do we get out of the mental rewind that keeps replaying the negativity reel? First and foremost, separate your true self from the problem.

STEP 1: You are not the circumstance. The circumstance is happening to you, it is not you. And too often, people feel entirely consumed by the problem almost becoming it.

Tim Storey, world-renowned motivational and inspirational speaker says it best when he describes how people ruminate on their issues. He says that “We nurse it, curse it, and rehearse it.” By doing this, we are conditioning our minds to react to problems by constantly thinking about them and repeating them in our heads. Storey explains in his book Comeback and Beyond that the best way to cope is to “accept the now and take inventory of what is happening.”

STEP 2: Thinking about a problem is different than being aware of what’s happening. When you become aware you are expanding your thought patterns from dwelling on a single issue to seeing the entire picture. Less thinking, and more recognizing. Recognize how you’re feeling and what triggers you to repeat bad thoughts. Knowing how often you nurse, curse, and rehearse will help you work towards stopping those thoughts.

There is great power in what we think. Because of this, we must be very careful with what enters our minds. Setbacks create space in our heads to think negatively, but we can train ourselves to make space in our heads for positivity. It’s about redirecting what we pay attention to. Instead of focusing on what went wrong or what we failed to do, realize that there are unlimited other ways to focus on things that will breed positive thoughts. If you feel like you have nothing, give more. Volunteer, call a friend, help your parents out at home, and experience firsthand what happens when you shift the expected course of action. Your mind is so used to repeating the bad, that when you begin to feed your thoughts with helpfulness and kindness, your emotions begin to change as well.

If you feel lost and confused, be open to getting help from others. It is common for people to think that success is a one person job, and if they can’t do it on their own they don’t know how to be successful. This is twisted thinking. The most successful people understand the importance of mentorship and having a strong team of individuals to support one another in both work and personal life.

STEP 3: Shift your receiver and pick up positive signals. Don’t stay in the setback. Choose to hang out with people that believe in you. Make an appointment to talk to a counselor or therapist. Only read beneficial and substantial articles and follow positive people on social media.

There are so many times in life that we can feel weighed down. A lot of that weight is in what we think and not actually what is happening. Take the time to redirect yourself and don’t forget:

Separate from the problem. Recognize your thought patterns. Shift yourself to get better reception.

“Life is all about course-correcting.” – Arianna Huffington

Image: Raumrot

Health

We all have those friends that seem like they have their lives all figured out. They go through each day with their heads held high, exuding a confidence that we can’t seem to perfect ourselves. And somehow they make it look so easy.

Sometimes we can’t help but envy them. We know that growing up is all about finding ourselves and becoming the person we want to be for the rest of our lives. Yet there are still so many things we’re not sure about and sometimes we wake up feeling like we’ll never be like our self-assured friends.

It took some time for me to realize this, but my friends – the ones I thought were perfect –  are also struggling with their insecurities. They sometimes look in the mirror and see things that they don’t like about themselves. They have doubts about what the future holds and sometimes they’re not as confident as they may come off.

I don’t think anyone is one hundred percent sure of themselves. We are human, not robots. No one, and I mean no one, is perfect. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as confident as everyone around you appears to be. It’s okay to have insecurities. It’s okay to have bad days. Growing up is about finding yourself, but you don’t have to have everything figured out today or tomorrow or even in a year from now.

You do have to know one thing. And it is one of the most important things you will ever need to know. If someone hasn’t told you this already, I’m here to tell you that you are enough. You might have insecurities and doubts and you might not have everything figured out just yet but who you are right now, in this very moment, is enough. You don’t have to be anything more than what you already are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself, and you most certainly don’t have to be like who you think your friends are.

Everyone has their own struggles. Some just carry them a little better than others but, nonetheless, we all have a weight on our shoulders. If you just remember that you are enough, then that weight will get a little less heavy. Don’t worry about the things that you can’t change or even the things you have no control over. Having insecurities is not something to be ashamed of and being confident is not a quality that people are born with. You can feel like crap if you want to on some days. Just as long as you remember that those super confident friends that you have sometimes feel like crap too; just as long as you do this one thing for yourself:

On the days that you feel like you’re at your lowest, tell yourself that you are enough. Tell yourself that you don’t have to be anyone, other than who you are. It might not free you of all of the insecurities that you have, but it will make going through each day a little easier.

Image: Unsplash

CultureEducation

Dear Writer’s Block,

Welcome back, my friend. I haven’t seen you in quite a while. How have you been?

As you know, the first round of papers and projects have come (and for some, has gone). There is nothing more satisfying in the world than finishing that last sentence, adding that last period, doing that one last save and export as PDF. But sometimes, those finishing touch moments don’t come, all thanks to you.

What do you mean, you ask? Well, Writer’s Block, you’re well aware of your talent for showing up during this time of the semester. Especially for people who have Capstone or Thesis papers to write, you’ve made yourself comfortable, haven’t you? Visiting in the middle of the night just as I’ve gathered my textbooks and novels and highlighters and post­its. You’ve come just as I set down my cold coffee and popped open my glowing laptop.

Ah, yes, the Writers Block. There are things that happen when one feels a Writer’s Block come around. Every moment in the shower, on the bus, on the train, is devoted to trying to resolve a problem.

How do I start this paper?

What should my proposal be about?

This proposal isn’t working!

Is this due next Tuesday? Monday? Friday?

Aaaaaaaaaaah!

Buzzfeed quiz.

I have no idea what I want to write about.

What am I gonna do?

I guess I should do an outline.

Maybe I’ll do the outline later.

I’m just going to go browse Forever21.com now…

This idea isn’t that great, but I can’t think of anything else.

I’m 2 pages short.

I’m a paragraph short.

I’m literally a sentence short of hitting the minimum page requirement.

I’m just going to go internet shopping because I don’t know what else to do.

Help.

It’s about time that finals comes upon us, the rush of assignments before Thanksgiving and the dump of exams after it. Writer’s Block… why?

Sincerely,
Stressed College Student

P.S. I’m going to figure out what to do with you, Writer’s Block. Just you wait…

Image: Rennett Stowe