I always thought that my graduation would be a big and momentous occasion filled with a lot of celebration. But, with everything that is going on in the world, instead of bringing me a lot of joy, graduating has been making me feel nervous. This has to do with how I constantly feel like everything is up in the air, and I'm unsure when things will start to feel normal again.
I’ve been feeling this way for a while, and it affects my mood. However, after taking SFU Health & Counselling Services’ Bouncing Forward Online Resilience Course, I’ve learned the importance of shifting my perspective to help myself stay positive and enjoy my academic achievements. Here are my top three tips for shifting your perspective during times of uncertainty.
1. Focus on Maintaining a Growth Mindset
I’ve realized that I’ve been adopting a fixed mindset, which is where I keep believing that I’m always going to be stuck in this current time of uncertainty because I don’t have the right skills and abilities to improve and grow. Having a fixed mindset can be tricky, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Once you recognise this, it’s easier to start shifting your perspective towards a growth mindset, which is the belief that you can improve and grow from your current position. I found that practicing mindfulness through meditation is the best way for me to shift my mindset. This is because it allows me to take a step back, acknowledge my emotions in the present moment, and find new ways to approach them.
2. Recognize and Manage your Negativity Bias
As human beings, we all have some sort of negativity bias. This is when we tend to place more emphasis on negative experiences as opposed to positive ones. Sometimes I find it impossible to get out of this negative mindset, but as of lately, I’ve realized that it is really up to me as to how I want to view things. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty right now, but this is okay. If I make a conscious effort to try to pay more attention to positive experiences, even if they are small, I slowly start letting go of any negative ones that I’m holding onto. Every day, by creating, noticing, and savouring positive moments as they come, I have been feeling less nervous about graduating and can even celebrate the fact that I’m completing my degree soon.
3) Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.
Gratitude involves noticing, appreciating, and being grateful for the things you value in life. When I’m feeling overwhelmed and that everything is going wrong, it’s hard for me to acknowledge the things that I am grateful for. But, it’s during these moments where I try my best to practice gratitude. To get me out of my negative mindset, I usually try doing the “Three Good Things” exercise, which consists of me listing out three good things that have happened during the day so far. This allows me to reflect on my day and remind me that there are many things in my life that I am grateful for. Every time I do this, I start feeling more positive and can relish in the good things currently happening in my life.
I know that life may feel difficult right now, especially for those of us getting ready to leave SFU. I hope that the tips I’ve shared today help you through this time and that you take a moment to yourself and celebrate your achievements thus far. Remember that it's okay to feel uncertain about things and that life will eventually get better!