Good mental health and coping mechanisms are paramount to surviving college or university. Struggling with your mental or emotional state can make it difficult to succeed in your academics and to feel at ease in your social environment. If you're finding it difficult to overcome stress or feelings of anxiety, there are many resources and people available to help you cope.
Take steps to improve your mental health today! Here are some things you can do to get started:
The most important part of being realistic is setting realistic goals. Setting unrealistic or far-reaching goals can be a short route to stress, anxiety and depression, so to avoid stress and anxiety, set small goals that can be achieved systematically. For easy management, set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals, or goals that fit within a certain timeframe. For example, completing your reading assignments could be an easily attainable weekly goal.
Do Some of Your Favourite Activities
In times of emotional distress, doing your favourite activities can be especially therapeutic. For example, listening to music can be relaxing, ease anxiety and/or stress and even help you focus by clearing your mind. Biologically, music induces the release of dopamine, prompting creativity and essentially healing mental and emotional distress. Engaging in other fun or relaxing activities can also activate dopamine receptors. For example, taking a walk through a park or other natural environment can promote happiness and mental wellness, playing a game or watching a movie can also take your mind off stressful situations, tasks, assignments, etc. Finally, fun group activities can remove you from stressful environments, provide a reprieve from depression and confirm the support of your family and/or friends. Consistently engaging in fun, relaxing activities can also help you form healthy habits and coping mechanisms.
Practice Positive Thinking
Unbeknownst to many, positive thinking can improve mental health. Surprisingly, the more positive your thoughts, the more positive your experiences. Your physical energy also often mimics your mental energy. So, the more positive and upbeat your mental energy, the more physical energy you have. Positive thoughts promote positive feelings, which can help prevent, expel or improve depression, stress and anxiety. Staying optimistic and avoiding counterfactual thinking can also help improve your academic performance. Optimism is most commonly associated with positive outcomes.
Vent to Someone
Whether you’re talking to a professional or a friend, venting to someone can be highly therapeutic. Venting helps you:
- Get out your frustration, anger, sadness and other emotions
- Assess your feelings
- Work out solutions to complex problems
- Gather emotional support
Talking about your problems and feelings also eases anxiety and stress, and in some cases, it may provide relief and promote happiness. While most schools offer professional counseling, talking to a friend, family member or partner can be just as effective. More than anything, it reaffirms that there’s support and you’re not alone.
Get Some Exercise
During exercise you release dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These hormones are known as the “feel-good” hormones because they make you feel happy, relaxed and in some cases, euphoric. ‘Feeling good’ can instantaneously relieve stress, anger, frustration, sadness and anxiety. The healing, relaxing effects of exercise can be felt during and after your workouts, and exercise improves mental clarity, brain functioning and performance, which could help you improve your academic performance.
Spiritual practice offers an array of benefits, including help you to de-stress and clear your mind of anxiety or stress-inducing problems and situations. No matter your beliefs, it can be therapeutic to engage in daily spiritual activity. Spiritual practices also help you release toxic emotions and negative thought patterns while forming positive ones. Additionally, it can help you retain or regain control over your emotions and other aspects of your life. Consistent practice should lead to improvements in your mental health, outlook on life and overall wellbeing.
Find the help you need to start feeling better! If you're looking for student housing near Brock University and Niagara College, a supportive community of people awaits you at Regent Student Living. Contact us today for more information.