Activate Your Attitude.
November 25, 2019/ Bryanna Lopez
Throughout our lives, we are always focused on the next steps in life to get us closer to our goals. As students, this idea of working towards the future gets pinned constantly through our heads. Each semester, we are focused not only on what we are doing in that time period, but we are also forced not only by ourselves but our schools as well to choose the next step in our student career. Working and moving towards our future is not a bad thing, however it can bring up thoughts and feelings that can have us constantly worrying and doubting ourselves.
Starting from the first day of kindergarten, we are asked, “What do you want to be when you’re all grown up?” The idea of putting yourself into a box has followed us from that very moment to where we are now in college. Teachers in high school would always ask me what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to study in college. Growing up, I had always been infatuated with fashion design, and had even taken classes for technical design outside of school. At the time, I wanted to learn more about fashion design and to develop the skills I needed to get better at the craft. However, looking back I remember the feeling I had as I began taking more of these design classes. I felt like I had to do more, to take as many classes as I could so that I could get ahead. I was already branching outside of school, looking for any other opportunities I could get my hands on, just so I could say I took classes from this art school, or this pre-college program. I knew that having these classes under my resume would help me in the long run if I decided to continue pursuing a career in fashion. High school was the stepping stone for creating this constant feeling of always having to do something to be ahead of the curve. Moving onto university life, this feeling has blossomed into something much more severe. I have met many students who have crumbled under this strong pressure to be the best, to work on things that will benefit their future. I am not saying that working forward is a bad thing. However, I know how easy it is to focus so much on the future that we let the present slip through our fingers and not live in the moment, which is right in front of our face.
Time in college moves at a rapid pace. It feels like we barely have time to even breathe. After my first semester at UT, I was so caught up in getting my academics in order, I had completely drifted my attention from some of my passions that gave me a mental and physical break from school. Fitness, art and writing were some of my favorite forms of self-care and helped me clear my mind. There are still times where school gets in the way of my mental and physical health, as it does for almost every student I’ve met. But I’ve learned that in order to perform to the best of my ability in anything I set my mind to, I have to take care of myself, in mind and in body.
Attitude. Would you believe me if I told you your attitude affects more situations in your life than you think? In school, it's so easy to get caught up in what everyone around you is doing, and what you think you should be working towards. The feeling that you aren’t doing enough can cause such a huge burden on your mind that it stops you from fully being present in your reality. Our attitudes and thoughts, negative or positive, impact the outcome of our actions. It’s crazy to think that the words running through our minds can have such an outward effect on us. But it’s true.
You attract what you put out into the world. We as college students are always shooting for the moon, so we need to focus on our minds to get us there successfully and in one piece.
Activate. When I think of the word ‘activate’, my mind wanders to how I can fix my attitude and mindset in order to move forward in the right way. Throughout high school, I found the insight of how the quality of our thoughts heavily influence our actions and the way we move through our days. I still remember the day I began to consciously move through my mind, and forced myself to hold a positive attitude each day. I did this exercise for about a week, before it became a habit. Starting these small changes and focusing on your mind consciously really does allow you to build a subconscious, healthy atmosphere for your thoughts. There are so many exercises that can contribute to the ability of activating a positive attitude. Some of my favorite exercises are so extremely simple in process physically, but they are incredibly tough on the mind, which is want makes them so effective.
The first, which all of us should know, helps clear the mind, has been proven the ability to center our focus and control our thoughts and completely let go. Meditation. The art of simply just sitting, kneeling or standing still and breathing. The main element of using this practice is to focus. Focus on your breathing, clear your mind and find peace within it. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, improve self-awareness, control anxiety, lengthen attention span and help generate kindness.
Secondly, self-affirmations are a great way to generate self-kindness. As cheesy and stupid as it feels, it’s true. Giving yourself random compliments throughout the day can really change your attitude. Hearing positivity from yourself to yourself can build a high level of confidence and radiate that same energy to others around you. Performing this exercise every day, even if it's just one thought a day, can help activate your mindset and create a healthy relationship mentally with yourself.
My favorite way to practice activating my mind is to do two things. Both at the same time helps even more. First, deleting social media. And secondly, grabbing a journal and writing my thoughts out. Now I know, I know. The idea of going without social media for even a day sounds crazy, but in reality, social media is not reality. The toxicity that comes from spending large amounts of time on these platforms can create a bad influence on your mindset. We are force fed everyday on social media ideas of who we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to be and act, that we can begin questioning who we really are. Going back to this idea of trying to be forced into this box so we can get ahead is insane. By going without social media for even a few days could help clear your head and allow you to focus your time and energy on things in your real world. Moving on to the writing portion. I have been fortunate enough to find the benefits of writing for pleasure such early in my life. I began writing in journals when I was about eleven. Growing up, I found that writing was a way for me to help separate my thoughts and truly let everything going on in my mind out and release it. The sense of freeing your mind, and being able to physically see what is going on in your head is incredible. I always found this interesting, especially nowadays. I can go back and see what I wrote down in those journals during so many different stages in my life. I can finally see, what I was going through and how I far I’ve come since those times.
As students, we are constantly working towards building something for our future that we can easily lose grip on ourselves and our health. Focusing even a small amount of attention on taking care of your mental and physical health can go along way for your future, and sometimes that can be hard to believe. We live in a truly imperfect world, but are surrounded by a culture on social media and through college, where we are expected to have our shit together and be our best self all the time. But we don’t. We really don’t have to have everything figured out. We just need to be ourselves. Take care of ourselves so we can be in the best mindset to make those big decisions for our future. We need to focus on ways to improve our mental health in order to act in the present and radiate positive energy internally and externally.
by: Bryanna Lopez
photographer: Jessica Yu
stylists: Lauren Aguirre
HMUA: Andrea Sanchez
models: Ingrid Garcia & Elodie Tusac