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Positivity 101: Tips to Stay Positive When Facing Stress

As a college student, stress and anxiety are common struggles for most of us. However, controlling these feelings and being able to manage them is easier said than done. We all deal with stress differently, but this article will bring to your attention various helpful tips you can use in your life to help you stay positive.

Establish a routine

Sleeping long enough, consistent exercise, and eating well is just the beginning of a better lifestyle. Have you been wanting to integrate these healthy habits into your life, but don’t see where they could possibly fit? A Google calendar, planner, or desk calendar can be your best friend during a busy day, week, or month. Staying organized can help you feel on track when there is a lot to do. I recommend creating a to-do list; this will alleviate stress when you have so many responsibilities to keep on your radar. In turn, checking something off the list can be satisfying and result in greater fulfillment. If you are constantly overwhelmed by your hectic schedule, establishing an organized routine will help you find consistency.

Get enough sleep

Pulling all-nighters may be part of the “college culture” but is not the best choice when feeling stressed or anxious. Is it necessary to stay up till 3:00am studying for an 8:00am exam? Sleep is very important and allows oneself to feel recharged. Blocking off studying time instead of cramming studying and homework together would be the better option. Although some people are better off working in the evenings, staying up longer to finish a paper on 2 hours of sleep and 4 cups of coffee may be the only option due to poor planning. But in the long run, it’s not the most efficient use of your time. Some days may be better than others regarding sleep schedules. However, an average adult needs 7-9 hours for optimal health. Weighing the priorities of physical and mental health are so important when there is a lot on your plate. Don’t neglect your health by disregarding your sleep schedule. Imagine how much better you would feel for that 8:00am exam if you studied hard the day before and got a good night’s rest!

Finding joy in the little things

Reading a book, exercising, painting, or watching your favorite movie are just a few activities that will allow for a great mental break during the day. Driving yourself crazy to get things done can be counterintuitive and cause even more stress instead of less. Getting all worked up hours on end with no break can work for some but is not sustainable. Of course, don’t spend all day on the couch watching 3 movies instead of studying or doing homework. But taking 30 minutes to 1-hour breaks after about 2-4 hours of schoolwork can be a beneficial way to relieve mental tension to allow for a clear head. For me personally, when I feel overwhelmed and stressed I enjoy watching an episode of Friends to have a good laugh amidst the chaos.

Talk to someone you trust

Calling a friend, family member, or mentor can be a great time to relax and get good advice when feeling overwhelmed. Having a strong support system that encourages and inspires us when we are feeling down can provide us with the self-efficacy boost we need. A quick call to your best friend or your parents can put you in a better mood and help you center yourself for the next task at hand.


Like writing a list, journaling can allow you to put your thoughts on paper. It can also be a fantastic problem-solving tactic when feeling stuck on that homework problem or finishing that essay. I really enjoy journaling, especially after a long busy day. With so many wandering thoughts in my head, it has allowed me to put those thoughts to paper and fully express my emotions freely.

I’m sure well all know there will be good and bad days. When we face stress and anxiety what matters is how we cope with and approach those feelings that can make all the difference. While only you will know how to handle your feelings the best, following these simple tips may also serve as reminders we all need to hear when the semester gets underway.

By: Sarah Viebrock

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