Abigail Pool graduated from high school as a part of the class of 2020.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The college admissions season now looms over all prospective college students and amplifies the anxiety many of the students may already feel. Mental health is being pushed aside by most students to make room for college acceptance anxiety when in reality, mental health is the key to success. By neglecting one’s mental wellness, negativity has place to manifest and grow. Therefore negativity can inhibit productivity, creativity, and overall happiness. The questions is- how is one supposed to overcome the negativity and keep their mental health in check all the while keeping up a healthy amount of motivation?
One way to help alleviate the stress is by stopping and reminding yourself why you are going to college.
‘During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress’ it says on the Mayo Clinic website (all proper links will be posted below). Whether it’s because you want to meet new people or learn new things you must be able to pinpoint your motivation. After coming to terms with why you are going you should be able to feel a sense of closure and positive motivation. Stress is a negative feeling that can either hinder your work or motivate you. However, even if it does motivate you it will be motivating you in a negative way. Another pro tip is to write your goal down on a poster or anywhere that will catch your eye. Thus, by looking back at your written goal you will be able to remind yourself of the happiness that all your hard work will bring you. Furthermore, note that the college admissions season is just that- a season and will be over soon enough if you are applying. For those that are undecided you can always apply for the following semester or even for the following year. Obviously there are thousands of colleges out there and many of whom have one the greatest transfer programs in America. There is not just one paved path set to getting into college, but thousands of other off-the-road paths that will lead you to the same destination.
Another way to handle college admissions anxiety is by taking breaks
This may sound redundant since it should be obvious, but this obvious tip gets lost in college chaos. (For example, when you want to pull out your hair out of frustration as you fill out the college app). Consequently productivity reduces dramatically when you become tired and you are more likely to make unnecessary mistakes. Without a doubt this is a simple yet highly effect tip. Taking breaks however, doesn’t mean to get sucked into an Instagram vortex. Instead you could bake a cake, read a new book, or even write a story! This way you have a chance to come back clear headed and actually continue your work!
Additionally, adding lavender oil into your daily routine has been scientifically proven in helping alleviate stress
Whether it’s being administered by aromatherapy, orally or even massage onto you the lavender will produce a calming effect. Along with helping with relieve some anxiety, lavender has been proven to help with insomnia (another college student issue) and menstrual cramps. Moreover, lavender has a very long history of being implemented into medicine and its as relevant today as it was then. Undoubtedly, since it’s been around for so long it must work! You can even put lavender oil in your bath and simmer in it or light yourself a lavender scented candle. Additionally it would be nice to point out how the Healthline website has stated that lighting a candle and basking in its scent and warmth is another great alternative.
Now, back to this lavender treatment.
It is gender neutral! Men should not be put off by the idea of indulging in a ‘girly’ scent or, in general, ‘girly’ activity. Taking care of your body and mind is gender neutral because everyone should be able to heal themselves is some way.
Another seemingly impossible task is to regulate your caffeine intake. Unfortunately during college exam season the need for coffee spikes through the roof.
However, intense caffeine intake has been correlated with increased anxiety.
This is because caffeine is a stimulant and therefore if you already have anxiety can make it more pronounced. Caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, and studies show that this can make your anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack’, said by Chris Iliades from Everyday Health. By substituting coffee (or sodas too) with water, matcha tea, chai tea, golden milk etc… You will find that these substitution will reinvigorate you without the intense unhealthy amount of caffeine. Yes, caffeine (coffee, soda, etc…) is generally good… in moderation. This goes for everything in life, nothing is good in excessive amounts. Find that golden medium.
Last but not least is to listen to calm/chill music and get absorbed into it
I remember the stress and anxiety that threatened to topple me over during my senior year, but I also found that by listening to chill music I could collect my thoughts and come back better. Music has immense power and controls the way we feel. Take for example action movies, the background is always filled an adrenaline rushing, upbeat symphony. However, sad and romantic movies make you cry not just with the sadness portrayed but with the sadness the background music evokes from you. “Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” Researchers at Stanford University have concluded. Music is medicine. Lofi hip hop by the YouTuber ChilledCow has one of the chillest beat compilations to help you ease your mind.
As you can tell there are thousands of ways to heal yourself but none can work if you don’t stop and think about your mental state. Be aware of yourself and love yourself. Mental wellness is the key to inner peace and acceptance. Remember that college rejections aren’t the end of the world and you can always transfer, find a better college, or even travel abroad and find yourself. This doesn’t mean you should lose some of that motivational anxiety but it does mean that the negativity you are drowning yourself in is not helping your case. “There is not one path. There is not even the right path. There is only your path.”