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The Gift of Positivity

December 9, 2016


Finals, holidays, family and friends can contribute to elevated levels of stress in the dark cold of winter. An end to a relationship or returning home can bring painful and confusing emotions to the forefront. Will we never get better or get ahead? Does it mean we failed? These are tough questions that often darken our thoughts and have us ruminate on the worst during stressful times. These negative thoughts affect our emotional well-being as well as our physical health.

A positive attitude can change our reactions and responses into productive, positive behaviors. Positive responses boost your immune system and mood, as well as diminish stress.

Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and addiction make it difficult to feel good or do well. The positive news is that these conditions are treatable and can be managed. Come into Student Health Services in the lower level of the Campus Center or to the Psychological Services department in the Registrations and Student Services building for assistance and recommendations for local service providers.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of positivity.

•Sleep seven to nine hours per night.
•Enjoy your food, focusing on it and chewing thoroughly instead of stuffing and swallowing as fast as you can.
• Get outside walking, hiking or biking.
• Take positive steps toward emotional health by examining your choices about sleep, diet, exercise and thoughts. Be honest with yourself. Are you making yourself a priority? Are you setting up reasonable expectations for yourself?
• Take mini breaks from studying and allow your body and mind to recharge.
• Surround yourself with positive people. You don’t have to interact with people who bring you down or disrespect your personal space and time. One or two close friendships can be just as positive and meaningful as a hundred Facebook “friends.”
• Find areas/activities that bring you joy. It might be a walk in a local park, viewing a silly comic strip/website or listening to fun music. While dark chocolate is healthy for you, try to make most rewards not food. Make a list and refer to it when you are having a bad day.
• Identify the times that cause you stress. Can you avoid those situations? Can you change/adapt your response to them?
• If you can’t get everything on your to-do list done, select the highest priority items first. There is always tomorrow.
• Write a “gratitude list” of 10 things that you are grateful for that are going well in your life now. It can be simple: “I am grateful that it is week 11 of De Anza’s Fall Quarter” or “I am grateful that I can read this paper.” By focusing on the positive, it helps you recognize other positive things in your life, no matter how small.
• Consider joining De Anza clubs or groups that share your interests or goals. This is a powerful way to help you feel good about yourself, and make new friends.

Winter can be a gloomy, challenging time of the year, with many stresses, but this year, give yourself the gift of positive thinking. Positive thoughts and action play a significant role in how we feel. It’s the best gift of any season!

If you not sure where to start, check out:
• De Anza Psychological Services
• Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Resources: aspx
• Text, Talk, Act: or Text START to 89800.
• Creating a Healthier Life SAMHSA guidelines:

Mary Sullivan is the Director of Health Education and Wellness, and can be reached at 408-864-8733 or at her email, [email protected].

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