Your Brain Needs Relief
It brought stress relief to U.S. soldiers–why not college students?
Karen Reivich, PhD, a research associate in the Positive Psychology Center and co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project, along with her staff, were contracted to develop a way to teach U.S. Army soldiers practical skills to better deal with the stresses of military service.
Below are four tips given to the soldiers, which students may incorporate into their stressful collegiate lives:
- New Perspective-”Most of us focus on the worst-case outcome in almost every situation,” states Ms. Reivich. Write down the worst-case outcomes first, then the best. Writing about the best will enable you to unwind from negative thinking. Now, you can look at the more realistic scenarios falling somewhere in the middle.
- Don’t Wait-Ms. Reivich says, “The best way to undercut anxiety is to take purposeful action.” Worried that your grade in a class might be low? Figure out what the issue is: do you find the subject too difficult, boring, have test anxiety, or aren’t applying yourself enough? Take appropriate action to resolve the problem. Get a tutor, switch the class, get help for test anxiety, or spend more time studying.
- Think Positively-”It’s hard to talk about this without sounding glib,” states Ms. Reivich, “but there is a large body of research showing that people who cultivate positive emotion generally deal much better with adversity.” No matter how tough life is, there is always one good thing to be found in your day. “Joy and gratitude can help inoculate you against the paralyzing effects of anxiety.”
- Draw Strength-”Identify your strengths and make a list of them.” says Ms. Reivich. Now make a list of strengths your confidants have and combine the two lists. “When you can draw from your own strengths as well as those of the people around you, you’re looking at a very powerful package.” It should be a two way street–your friends can count on your strengths to assist them too.
Unfortunately, anxiety from the many stresses of life, has become commonplace. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with the negative effects. Try using the four tips above, let me know if there’s a marked difference in your anxiety level.
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