Student Spotlight: Three Ways I Stay Mentally Healthy

Check out this week’s Student Spotlight from Jordan Boyd. Jordan is a double major in Business and Art History. As the 16 week semester starts to gear up, Jordan shares with us how she stays mentally healthy.

Three Ways I Stay Mentally Healthy

School is stressful. I don’t think there’s a person alive who has gotten through school with a 0% amount of stress. It’s so strong that it has an effect on your physical stature. Hunched shoulders, a stiff neck and headaches are just a few symptoms I’ve had to prove it. People have recommended trying new activities like running, taking walks and stress balls. I’ve tried them all but I’ve noticed that they only take away the physical pressure. We seem to help relax the outcome instead of the main source: the mind. School and other activities have taken its toll on me, but they’ve become less stressful due to a few techniques. Here are three easy (and free) ways I use to calm my own mind.

  1. MEDITATION~ Your mind has all the answers. Sitting down in silence and relaxing can leave you feeling calm and ready to continue on. There are days it helps clear my mind and other days it helps with breathing techniques for me to calm down. It definitely takes time to master, but every minute throughout the process is significant. So take a seat, think it through and you’ll be on your way.
  2. MAKING AND GOING OVER DREAMS AND GOALS~ There’s a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. My list can probably go on for days, but it gets me excited thinking about the many different things I want to do. Reminding yourself every day or every time you feel down can be that burst of energy you need to get back in the zone.
  3. KNOWING YOU’RE DOING FINE~ “It always works out”. That’s my mantra for every day. I say it in the morning, in the middle of the day and when I go to bed. It makes all the hard work, struggles and stress worth it.

My message to you is to keep your mind clear and healthy. Don’t focus on the bad stuff. Surround yourself with things that make you happy. A yoga class. A bag of candy. A good playlist. Maybe you can try looking back on your accomplishments and feel proud of yourself. You’re unique, so what you choose might be different from mine, but I promise you that if you take the time, you’ll find what helps you. Don’t let the stress get to you because what you’re going through is only temporary. You got this!

Motivational Minute: Envisioning your Future

Picturing your goals is like super charging your ambition toward achieving them. When you have a clear, conscious mental image of what you want your life to look like in the future,  all of your conscience and, more importantly, your unconscious efforts will be directed at achieving that future. The key is to look at every area of your life, in turn, and build on that image so the picture becomes clearer over time. Try the following exercise at your leisure and take note of how you feel after completing it:

Sit in a comfortable position and breathe deeply and slowly.

Close your eyes and picture yourself 3 years from now (you can choose any length of time). Here are some probes you can use during the exercise to focus on different aspects of your life:

What do you look like? What type of physical shape are you in? What are you wearing?

What job do you have? What type of work are you doing at your job? Are you fulfilled and doing purposeful work?

What new skills have you acquired? What new positive characteristics have you developed? What lessons have you learned? 

What new hobbies have you explored? What does your social life look like? What are you doing for enjoyment?

Let this be a free-flowing exercise with no time constraints and see where your imagination takes you. When you’re ready, open your eyes and notice if there is any boost in your motivation and vigor. Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of the future you’re supposed to have is your own mind. Be limitless and work towards the life you want for yourself! Namaste.

-Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach

You can practice this exercise daily by downloading the free meditation app Omvana on any Apple product, i.e. iPhone, iPad, etc. and trying “The Envisioning Method: Envisioning the Future by Vshen Akhiani” and “6 Phase Meditation by Vshen Akhiani.”


Motivational Minute: Silencing your Inner Critic

inner critic

Sometimes our perception of ourselves creates boundaries and limitations on what we think we can do. We tell ourselves, “I can’t do that because…” before we even entertain the possibility that success is a possibility. We doubt that we have what it takes to be successful in our endeavors because we automatically think it’s beyond our competency. I say NO WAY to that! Those very thoughts diminish our ability to be successful not our lack of skill! So here is my challenge for you over the next week: For each reason you have to tell yourself you “can’t…”, “won’t…”, “will never…”, I want you to find two reasons why you “can…”, “will…”, “will always…” Too often we talk ourselves out of the good things we deserve by convincing ourselves they aren’t meant for us. Let’s change the story we tell ourselves about ourselves and acknowledge that once the glass ceiling of self-doubt is shattered, more doors of opportunity will open simply because our mindset has changed. Perception is reality. Perceive yourself as incapable and your reality will follow suit but see yourself as great and all you do will be soaked in success! Namaste.

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach


Motivational Minute: Seek Opportunities for Growth

It is easy to become stagnant on the road to professional success. One can get stuck in the repetition of the day-to-day routine and settle into a state of complacency. Resting in complacency leaves no room for change. Growth and change are constant processes and opportunities for learning and developing should be actively sought daily. Take a moment to think of what you want for your future and ask yourself, what do I need to learn today to get myself there? What types of experiences do I need to get into the 4-year school I want to attend? What skills will I need to develop or practice to get the job I want, to be a better student, etc.?

Answering these questions on your own can be a bit daunting and you may need guidance on where to find such opportunities, i.e. internships, research opportunities, professional development workshops, etc. Luckily, NOVA has a staff of people who can guide you. Instructors can be a great resource for learning what types of professional experiences a student will need to be successful in a specific profession. Counselors can give you information on choosing your career path.  Success Coaches can help you develop the skills you need to complete your classes to get you to that end goal.

Access your resources to see what types of experiences you should be having and put yourself in the position to take advantage of any opportunity that may take you to a new level. Say “yes” to as many experiences as possible because you never know what the right “yes” will lead you to. Namaste.

NOVA Online Counselors:

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-Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach