Maintaining a Grateful and Optimistic Mindset

Julianna Dougherty, Graduate Assistant Health & Wellness and College Student Affairs

During these unprecedented times, everyone seems to be struggling with keeping a positive outlook. As a first-year graduate student and a new student at Bloomsburg University, I find myself struggling mentally. It isn’t easy to stay above water with everything that fills up my plate.

I am commuting an hour to and from Bloomsburg, working 20 hours a week at my graduate assistantship, managing my studies, and working a second job on weekends, all on top of adjusting to the new standard 2020 has brought forth. Some days I feel like I can’t relax, and it’s hard for me to look past my responsibilities at the positives I do have in my life.

As the first half of the fall semester has come to a close, two things that have helped me confront these battles are optimism and gratitude. These go hand-in-hand, and they are easy to incorporate into everyday life.

Gratitude helps me find aspects of my life; I am grateful for every day and help keep me grounded. I try to appreciate good things that happen throughout my day, even the small stuff. Once a week, I treat myself to Dunkin’ on my morning commutes, and I’m grateful for the ability to treat myself.

I try to practice mindfulness when I am going to bed at night. I put my phone away for the night and take a few deep breaths and try to reflect on the enjoyable parts of my day. Taking time out of my busy schedule to spend with my loved ones is very important to me.

One day a week, I will make plans to spend time with my family and friends who have always supported me, and it helps take my mind off the stress of work and school. These small acts of gratitude make a huge difference.

Optimism has always been a struggle for me. Anyone close to me knows I worry easily, and I am notorious for overthinking any bad situation life throws my way.

Incorporating an optimistic mindset has made me realize that even though I can’t control what situations come my way, I can control how I handle them. I always try to look for the silver lining.

I have taken the time to analyze the people who surround me. This year has shown me who is empowering me and who is dragging me down. Surrounding myself with positive people has helped me gain a more positive outlook.

I may not control the world around me, but I can maintain my little chunk of the world by keeping a grateful and optimistic mindset.