This week, a 12am deadline came on the same day a super cute someone invited you to the event with the film club after class. And last week, hours of YouTube searches didn’t help you narrow down between your 3 top potential majors. You know you need to navigate between sleep and deadlines and family and dating and maintaining friends, but it all seems too much.
Being a college student comes with a fair amount of stress. Trying to balance these never ending elements can make us feel like we aren’t measuring up. What’s worse is that during such periods of stress, our brains are primed to adopt a negative self-monologue.
Turn down the stress voice
Underneath these negative monologues is an unhelpful belief about the self. See if any of these messages fit with your experience, or if perhaps you can come up with one not listed:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m not safe.”
“I’m not loved.”
Take a moment to reflect and analyze what your recent train of thought has been. Asking yourself these questions, could help you narrow it all down:
- How has it made you feel?
- Do you have that constant trepidation that everything is going to get worse?
- Are you replaying all the ways certain people or events have made you feel like you’re not good enough?
- Do your dreams feel far from reach?
Raise the volume on your empowerment voice
Slow down for a moment. Take a look at how far you’ve come. It’s easy to focus on how much you’ve not done or the mistakes you’ve made.
You cooked dinner for yourself? That’s amazing.
Came to class even though you were emotionally exhausted? You’re doing your best.
Have you fought the onslaught of negative words? That’s bravery.
In taking the chance to celebrate your wins, you adopt a more empowering self belief. See if any of these empowering identity messages fit for you, or if perhaps you can come up with one not listed:
“I have plenty of support around me.”
“I’m good at many things.”
“I can be safe with healthy boundaries.”
“I know people who love me.”
Try spending the first 2-5 minutes of your day celebrating what’s right in your life and what that means about your empowering identity message. You can go on preparing for your day. Celebrate all the wins you can in this time. Clap for yourself; applaud your endeavors, high five your mirror reflection!
Live in your newfound empowerment.
Think of these identity volumes as operating frameworks. When you step into the day from the framework of “I’m not good enough”, you second guess decisions, taking a long time to make any choice. Perhaps you’ll avoid talking to someone you find attractive. And sitting to write that term paper feels like running a marathon.
When you increase the volume on your positive identity beliefs such as “I’m good at many things”, you experience the confidence to step out of your comfort zone. You discover an empowerment to make good choices quickly. You find that the term paper doesn’t bring as much stress as before.
Knowing when you need therapy
Choosing to alter your operating framework to a more empowering self belief is not so simple all the time. Very often, we need to pick apart our life stories and our present stresses in order to understand and even believe what is truly positive and strong about who we are. This journey of exploration can easily be facilitated in a therapy setting. In therapy, we’ll peer underneath the messages and events holding you back from the goals you’ve set for yourself, uncovering and dismantling their negative power on your progress.
Fill out a contact form or call our office to set up a free 15-minute consultation if you’d like to discuss how therapy could help you navigate through the stresses of college life.