As Canadians, we truly understand the value of having a post-secondary education. However, as evidenced by more students enrolling than ever before, the college/university dropout rate still remains greater than 25 percent. Reasons for a dropout can include academic, social, health, financial, and family problems, to name a few. However, with the bulk of future jobs requiring some form of post-secondary education, finishing a degree or diploma once you have started is a commitment worth fulfilling.
Our mind is our most valuable resource, yet we take very little time to take care of it. In addition, everyone understands the importance of being healthy, yet many of us prioritize our physical health over our mental state. Furthermore, we seem more concerned with how we look than how our mind feels. What’s important to keep in mind is your mental and emotional health affects every aspect of your daily life, whether you realize it or not. And, maintaining your mental health requires a dedicated effort on a daily basis. Thus, a small amount of effort each day can reap a lifetime of rewards for your body and mind.
Without adequate mental strength, life’s inevitable challenges will likely fill you with self-doubt and anxiety. And, those uncomfortable feelings can lend way to negative thinking. Negative thinking will affect your behavior, which can inadvertently turn your catastrophic predictions into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Staying strong in the midst of hardship requires you to manage your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, paying attention to all three areas will help you emerge from your struggles even stronger than before. To remember how to stay strong during life’s toughest challenges, you can follow the ABC formula:
Acceptance does not mean agreement. Instead, it’s about acknowledging what is happening from a realistic standpoint. So, while you may not agree with things like assignment deadlines, you can accept that it happens. And, digging in your heels only wastes more valuable time and energy. Therefore, accepting what is happening right now, regardless of whether you think it’s right, is the first step in deciding how to respond. Furthermore, accepting reality is about recognizing what’s within your control. When you cannot control the situation, focus on controlling yourself.
Accepting reality helps you manage your thoughts and regulate your emotions. And, these are key to productive behavior. The choices you make when you’re faced with problems determine how quickly you’ll find a solution. Even when you are faced with a problem you can’t solve, you make choices about how to respond.
Unproductive behavior, like complaining or throwing a pity party, will keep you stuck. Those behaviors will rob you of mental strength. Therefore, it’s important to ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do right now to help myself?” Whether productive behavior involves facing a fear or doing something you really don’t want to do, the reality is you need to take action.
Your mind can either be your best asset or your biggest enemy. Thus, if you believe your negative thoughts, your self-limiting beliefs will prevent you from reaching your greatest potential. So, it is important to recognize when your inner monologue becomes overly pessimistic. Remember, just because you think something does not make it true. If your thoughts become catastrophic or unhelpful, respond with a more realistic statement that confirms your ability to handle your struggles. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a trusted friend.
“It’s important to try and strike a balance between giving yourself enough space and time to feel whatever emotions are coming up and staying productive in your daily life. In tough times, we often have an urge to let go of our routines. We stop exercising, eating healthy and our sleep schedule goes out the window. We essentially stop living our lives and get stuck in our pain. So while it’s important to acknowledge and validate the pain, it’s also important to continue to do what you would typically do to be productive.” – Amber Jenkins (Clinical Psychologist, D)
There are many factors that contribute to your overall life as a student, so addressing these is important to your success in College. If you do fall off track, make sure you address the problems right away by utilizing resources before the problem becomes larger. Find out what your needs are and how you can address them, so you can get back to working on your diploma, connecting with people in the community, and being a successful student.
Experts agree that prioritizing mental health on a daily basis is key to preparing yourself for life’s choppy waters. Small efforts each day can have a big impact. If you do end up being thrown off course, balance it with being productive and acknowledge your own feelings of discomfort.
Are you or someone you know interested in attending college for a second career?
Visit Canadian College for more information or to speak with an advisor today 519-977-1222!