Category: Mental Health

How To Change Your Mindset For Exam Success

No matter what level of schooling you’re in, it can be difficult to find yourself in the right mindset to get through the studying period. There have been plenty of times in all of our lives when we simply feel stuck when preparing for an exam and it can be extremely overwhelming. Then, we let that stress get to us, and it can negatively impact our performance on the exam.

Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can change how you prepare for your exam, getting yourself mentally and physically ready to take it on at a pace that works for you. If you have an exam coming up and find yourself struggling, check out these tips on how to prepare and change your mindset for exam success.

Take Care Of Yourself

Likely one of the most important basics of studying properly is taking care of your body and mind. It’s nearly impossible to study with positive results if you’re tired, hungry, or full of tension. Make sure you’re sleeping properly, drinking plenty of hydrating fluids, eating well-rounded meals, and using methods to relax and calm yourself. It can be difficult to fit that all in when you’re trying to study for multiple exams at once, but indulging in self-care to your best ability will give you far better results. 

Don’t Do It All At Once

Another important tip to help improve your studying, is don’t cram for an exam, or multiple exams at one time. Life is busy and can get in the way, so sometimes it’s hard not to study for exams all at once. Try breaking down your study load into smaller pieces and spreading them out throughout the week so you have time set aside specifically for focusing on studying. Make sure nothing else is scheduled at that time so you can solely focus on studying during that time. If you have to push it all together, try spreading outbursts for studying throughout the small time frame you have. 

Take Breaks

Studying takes time and sometimes you can lose your momentum before your study block is over. Taking breaks is vital when it comes to studying in a healthy and positive way. Make sure you take breaks as often as needed, without getting too distracted. Take a short walk, get some light exercise, and go out for fresh air. Keep snacks and drinks around so you can take a refreshment break. Clearing your mind and nourishing your body will help you get back to the mindset you need to finish studying without burning out. 

Figure Out Your Learning Style and Use It

One size does not fit all when it comes to learning. Everyone has a unique learning style that helps them process information in a far more efficient way. Find the learning style that best suits your needs and apply it to your studying practices. If you’re a visual learner, try printing out, or drawing diagrams. If reading information is the easiest way for you to process it, make flashcards and write notes that you can go over. If you’re the kind of person who has an easier time when you have help, try asking a friend to help you study. 

Study in the Right Environment For You

Environment affects us more than we think. Creating a comfortable, yet productive environment that helps you keep your mind focused on your task at hand will help you study more efficiently. Try studying at a desk in a comfortable chair that also allows you to keep proper posture. Light a candle, put on music for background noise, keep the temperature comfortable, and keep the environment around you free of clutter. It’ll keep your mind clear and you’ll be able to stick to studying without too many distractions. 

5 Ways Therapy Can Help You Succeed In Life

Mental health is a growing issue around the world, but thankfully there has been more attention placed on it as the years go on. It’s estimated that around 20 percent of adults in the United States actually receive mental health treatment, while the vast majority, unfortunately, ignore their mental health. Even if you find yourself in a good mental state, therapy can go a long way in improving your life further.

Though it’s not the cheapest form of mental health treatment, therapy is a way to be heard while also getting advice on how to make your life better. There are a ton of different ways in which therapy can help you succeed in life, and here are the five most important ways.

Improve Communication Skills

Communication is a hugely important skill to fine-tune and use for a multitude of reasons. Oftentimes, emotionally charged situations can be de-escalated by using proper communication skills. 

These techniques are used and taught in therapy, allowing you to become familiar with them and use them in your personal life outside of therapy. Once your communication skills improve, you’ll have an easier time conveying yourself to the people in your life.  

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Another helpful and vital tool therapy teaches is setting and enforcing strong personal boundaries. You can place boundaries of varying degrees in all situations and environments you find yourself in.  Whether you’re setting boundaries for fellow employees in the workplace, family, friends, or even your therapist. 

Boundaries allow you to express the kind of specific behaviors, topics, closeness, etc., you approve of, or disapprove of when others are around you. It’s just as important to respect others’ boundaries as it is for them to respect yours. Communicating those specific wants and needs to the people in your life is key. 

Improve Self Esteem and Confidence

If you’re not feeling worthy and confident, it shows up in all aspects of your daily life. Working with your therapist to build yourself up mentally and emotionally is the foundation for improving your life and mental health. Your therapist can teach you ways to improve your self-esteem, self-love, and confidence, and see yourself in a better light. 

It’s never easy taking the steps to love yourself, especially when your mental illness tells you to believe otherwise. With guidance, practicing techniques, and the proper motivation, you’ll see a difference in how you think and feel about yourself. 

Learning Coping Skills To Manage Symptoms and Stress

Stress, big or small, is a relatively common occurrence in all of our lives. A lot of people tend to instinctively run to unhealthy and quick fixes to give them the comfort they desperately seek. Using therapy to learn the healthy, long term, coping mechanisms can help to keep your emotions regulated when facing distress. 

Controlling your breathing to stay calm and collected is a helpful way to keep your mind clear. Grounding is another helpful technique.  Grounding methods allow you to focus on the present moment and keep anxious distractions at bay. Your therapist will advise you to practice these methods when you suffer from the symptoms of mental illness and the stress and anxiety of daily life. 

Heal Past Trauma and Close Wounds 

Your past doesn’t define you, but it can be responsible for driving your emotional responses in present situations. With the use of therapy, you can learn how your past trauma affects you in the present. It can provide you with newfound insights and self-awareness. 

Therefore, helping you work on improving the way you handle your emotions and unraveling the reasons behind mental illness and how to work through it. Coping with past trauma and getting to a point of healing is not an easy, or short process, however, it is crucial and therapy is the best way to get you there. 

How To Eat To Look Younger

Taking measures to look younger than your current age starts with your diet. The foods you eat play a critical role in your appearance. The right diet supports your skin, hair, nails and internal organs. By improving your food choices, you will notice changes to your skin that make you look younger and healthier.

Foods High in Antioxidants

When you want to eat to look younger, start with foods that are high in antioxidants. Generally, fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help improve the appearance of your skin. Common antioxidant foods include:

  • Blueberries and other types of berries 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea

A diet that is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables will naturally contain a high rate of antioxidants. Since antioxidants reduce the rate of free radicals in your body, they also slow natural aging and improve the appearance of your skin.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The human body needs a variety of fatty acids for good health. Unfortunately, many individuals do not get enough omega 3 fatty acids. By improving your intake of the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, you reduce inflammation in your body.

Inflammation is a key part of your body’s natural defense against infections and sickness. The problem is that inflammation is harsh on your body and a poor diet may contribute to excess inflammation. By adding more omega 3 fatty acids to your diet, you are able to reduce the negative impact of inflammation.

Common foods with high rates of omega 3 fatty acids include:

  • Fish, particularly fatty varieties like salmon
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Chia seeds
  • Oysters
  • Walnuts

Omega 3 fatty acids support your body’s health and well-being. It also improves the appearance of your skin to help you look younger.

Orange Vegetables

Looking younger through your diet requires more orange vegetables. The orange vegetables contain high rates of beta carotene. While the nutrient is often associated with eye health and night vision, it also impacts the appearance of your skin.

Vegetables that are high in beta carotene give your skin a healthy glow. As a result, your skin looks younger and healthier. Options that are high in beta carotene include:

  • Pumpkins
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash

The beta carotene in orange vegetables is not the only reason to consider adding it to your diet. They also contain vitamin C, which is a key building block for collagen. As a result, they have two benefits to help with anti-aging.

Foods with Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often overlooked when it comes to aging. As you get older, your body is not able to produce vitamin D at the same rate. As a result, you may notice more damage from the sun, sunburns, and aging skin. Foods that contain vitamin D include:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Liver

Your body will produce vitamin D with exposure to the sun; however, too much sunlight can damage the skin and contribute to aging. By adding more of the vitamin to your diet, you improve your health without the risk of sunburns.

Changing your diet may result in looking younger. The key is eating a variety of healthy foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other building blocks your body needs to keep your skin healthy.

3 Questions To Check In With Yourself

Checking in with yourself throughout the day is a great way to stay mindful, grateful, and well. 

One great question to ask yourself when you first wake up is, "What do I hope to accomplish today?" This question serves you throughout the entire day: 

  • it helps you set micro goals for health and well-being
  • it motivates you to do the things that move you toward your goals
  • it directs your thoughts toward the positive

When answering this question, it’s important to remember that goals that are too lofty can do more harm than good. Instead of planning to earn a Bachelor’s degree, for example, you might set a micro goal or reviewing the prerequisites.

Great examples of micro goals include: 

  • I will spend 15 minutes on my home or room today.
  • I will spend 5 minutes in prayer or reflection today. 
  • I will tell someone I appreciate them today. 

The second question to ask yourself every day is, "How am I feeling today?" Learning to identify and name your feelings has a butterfly effect in other facets of your life. 

When you know how you feel, you can take steps to better understand those feelings and cope in a healthy way. As a direct outcome, your behavior is less likely to reflect difficult feelings. That means your feelings are less likely to lead to negative behaviors that may have undesirable consequences. 

Finally, as you learn to recognize your own feelings, what causes them, and what helps, you begin to better understand those around you. Connecting with others becomes easier and easier. 

Finally, as the day comes to a close, ask yourself, "What went well today?"

It’s common to crawl into bed at the end of the day and replay all the moments that didn’t go as well as you had hoped. The result of this negative thought process at the end of the day is often difficulty sleeping, anxiety, remorse, and feelings of worthlessness. 

Asking what went well instead gives you an opportunity to reflect on your strengths. Which moments are you most proud of? Which habits would you like to repeat again tomorrow? Which decisions will support your larger goals? Which moments were the most fulfilling? Which of your micro goals did you achieve today?

Checking in with yourself throughout the day helps you stay focused on your goals and intentions. 

It helps you recognize and cope with difficult feelings in a productive way. 

And it helps you celebrate your wins and make habits out of them. 

So, to transform your life with three simple questions, ask yourself: 

  • What would I like to accomplish today?
  • How am I feeling?
  • And what went well today?

5 Habits to Improve Your Calm and Reduce Your Stress


If you’re like many others, you’re probably feeling stressed out right now. Most of us are tired, overworked, and over-committed. Unfortunately, stress can take a terrible toll on your physical and mental well-being. For example, it can lead to depression or an increased risk for heart disease. 

And that is why it is so important to reduce your stress levels. The following are 5 habits that can help you bring calm back into your life and also reduce your stress levels. 

Number one, practice mindfulness.

When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to practice mindfulness. That means you should stop worrying about any future events and issues that you have no control over. It’s also important to let go of your past regrets. Stressing out over things that occurred in your past will not change what happened.

Instead, be mindful. That means focusing on and living in the present. You can start by taking a few moments each day to think about and be thankful for the good things in your life. 

Number two, make sure to exercise on a regular basis. 

Why? Well, for one thing, a good workout will release endorphins into your system. These hormones can trigger a positive feeling in your body that is often referred to as a runner’s high. Exercising can also improve your overall physical health. 

Another plus? Exercising can tire you out, which will hopefully lead to a better night’s rest. That takes us to our third stress-busting habit. 

Number three, get enough sleep. 

Your body needs sleep to recover both physically and mentally each day. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body may feel as if it’s in distress. This could cause a stress hormone called cortisol to be released into your system. Cortisol is also known as the fight or flight hormone. And too much of it can cause your body to feel like it’s under constant stress.

On the other hand, getting enough sleep can actually decrease your cortisol levels significantly. 

Number four. Minimize your time on social media. 

Research has shown that spending too much time on social media can stress you out for several reasons. You might, for example, feel depressed by seeing pictures of people who seem to have everything that you want. Or you might read a comment that upsets you.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to let the virtual world negatively affect your reality. So if you find yourself feeling sad or anxious after being on social media, it’s time to put a limit on your screen time.

And finally, number five — prioritize yourself.

You are important. Don’t let other people hijack your life.

Sometimes that means saying no to an invitation. Or it might mean scheduling time in your calendar for self-care. That can mean anything from reading a book to getting a massage. 

Making yourself a priority might sound selfish, but it’s not. Because in the long run, when you take care of yourself, you’ll have more energy and love for others. And that is truly a win-win for everyone. 



Top 5 Mistakes In Self-Care

Self-care is a term we often hear these days. But what does it really mean? And how do we do it properly? 

First, let’s define what self-care is. Basically, self-care is any action you take to support your long-term development. Self-care contributes to your mental, emotional and physical health. With proper and regular self-care, you feel nourished and grow as a person over time.

Self-care is different from self-soothing. Self-soothing describes temporary fixes like smoking or drinking after a stressful meeting. While self-soothing actions are helpful, they do not relax, calm or support us over time.  

Let’s explore the top five self-care mistakes people make and the beneficial ways we can practice self-care. 

Mistake Number One: Self-care is monotonous and routine.

A daily routine can offer predictable comfort and stability. That’s why we may drive the same route to work and order the same meal every day. 

We miss out on new growth and self-sabotage ourselves, though, when we practice a monotonous self-care routine. Instead, give yourself permission to try new things, and be flexible based on the situation. For example, you may decide to skip your regular spa appointment to hang out with a friend. 

Mistake Number Two: Self-care requires expensive treats.

Sure, self-care can involve spending money. You may schedule regular pedicures to boost your confidence or buy books to stretch your mind. 

But you can also participate in free self-care activities. Practices like daily stretching, regular dental checkups and early bedtimes nurture your whole being. Try different activities as you select the self-care actions that nurture you and support your budget.

Mistake Number Three: Self-care is all about outward actions.

Self-care indeed includes actions. For example, we eat salads to nourish our physical health and play with our pets to relieve stress. 

However, inward thoughts, self-talk and self-compassion are also vital to self-care. That’s why it’s important to practice reflection, journaling and meditation. Use these inward practices to notice behavior patterns like perfectionism or rumination. Then, you can make positive changes. 

Mistake Number Four: Self-care puts your needs ahead of others.

In our quest for self-care, we may neglect, inconvenience or become demanding towards co-workers, friends or family members. Self-care may include setting boundaries, but it also values others and ourselves. 

Take note of how you treat people as you perform self-care. If you consistently push responsibilities on others, avoid relationships or cancel plans, rethink your self-care practices. 

Mistake Number Five: Self-care is solitary.

It’s common to isolate yourself when you feel tired, sick or sad. In fact, recharging in solitude can renew your patience, ignite your creativity and enhance your mood. 

Be sure to socialize, though, too. Human connection brings comfort, boosts energy, develops resilience, relieves pain, and broadens perspective. So, prioritize one-on-one or group social outings like coffee dates, hobby club meetings and game time or play.

Self-care supports your growth and development. Learn from these five mistakes as you practice self-care the right way.

Why You’re Procrastinating And How To Avoid It

Procrastination is often the result of the fear of failure. Instead of getting something done right away, we put it off because we’re afraid we won’t do it right. After all, it’s impossible to fail at something if you don’t even try. However, constant procrastination can severely impact your quality of life and cause others not to trust you to keep your word. Procrastination itself leads to feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Those who allow procrastination to become a serious problem often wind up living without things they want and need.

Many feel trapped by the cycle of procrastination, but there are ways to overcome this problem. Here’s how you can get on track to stop procrastinating.  

Take Baby Steps

Like other major life changes, getting procrastination under control won’t happen all at one. Building good habits takes time. One of the main reasons why people give up trying to avoid procrastination is that they don’t see immediate results. Taking baby steps makes it feel less overwhelming. Instead of trying to change all at once, tackle procrastination one task at a time. Remember that success builds motivation far better than failure.

Be sure to set achievable goals instead of setting yourself up to fail. For instance, you may be putting off getting that degree you’ve been wishing you had. Perhaps household and employment obligations pose obstacles to going back to school. Instead of focusing on the degree itself, focus on taking just one class. 

Practice Consistency

One of the reasons people put something off is that they tell themselves they can always do it later. Practicing consistency turns obligations into habits, and good habits create their own rewards. If you make yourself work out at the same time every day instead of giving in to the impulse to put it off, you’ll soon look and feel better. These improvements in your health and appearance will motivate you to keep working out on schedule. 

Eliminate Distractions

When it comes time to tackle something you’ve been putting off, eliminate all possible distractions. Put your phone on silent mode to prevent your attention from being diverted by notifications. Turn off the television if you’re prone to getting caught up in what’s happening on the screen. Choose a time of day when distractions from other household members or neighbors are typically at a minimum.

Set Realistic, Concrete Deadlines

Deadlines should be concrete and realistic. Those trying to break the procrastination habit sometimes subconsciously sabotage their own efforts by setting deadlines that aren’t realistic. This approach only fuels the cycle of procrastination. 

Make Rewards a Part of Your Routine

Making a practice of treating yourself to a small reward upon completion of a task you’ve been procrastinating on helps take the edge off. Once you’ve included rewards in your routine, you won’t dread certain tasks quite so much. A cup of coffee or a half an hour with a favorite book work well as rewards. 



How to lose weight healthily

The weight loss industry includes fad diets, programs and scams that make big promises. These options typically don’t work long-term, though, and could be harmful to your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thankfully, you can lose weight and keep it off in healthy ways.  

1. Set realistic goals. 

Experts recommend losing one to two pounds per week. So a goal of losing 10 pounds before this weekend is unrealistic and could lead you to crash diet or take laxatives, which is super unhealthy. 

Support your health, wellness and success with realistic outcome and process goals. Process goals change your habits over time and support your desired outcome goal. For example, to meet your outcome goals of losing 5% of your body weight or walking up the stairs with ease, implement the process goals of eating a protein-packed breakfast and walking 20 minutes each day.

2. Plan and track your meals. 

Food tracking offers accountability that empowers you to make smarter and healthier choices. Use the tracker to plan your weekly menu of meals and snacks. Then record everything you eat. Review the data to analyze and tweak your eating habits. 

3. Eat a rainbow of whole foods.

Processed foods contain preservatives, additives and other junk ingredients. For ultimate health, fill your plate with whole foods in a rainbow of colors. Enjoy a variety of flavors, textures and aromas while satisfying your taste buds and protecting your health. 

4. Drink more water. 

Water hydrates your body and equips it to work properly. Adequate hydration can also curb your appetite. Alternatively, sugary beverages contain empty calories. So, drink more water. Reach for sparking varieties if you need bubbles, and add fruit, cucumber or mint to enhance the flavor. 

5. Add movement to your day. 

Physical activity burns calories and strengthens your body and mind. For weight loss, aim for 30 minutes of moderate to steady aerobic exercise each day. Also, incorporate simple body-weight exercises like squats, push-ups and pelvic tilts that boost your metabolism. To stay motivated and have fun, choose exercises you enjoy like dancing, hiking or skating.   

6. Enhance your lifestyle. 

You’re more likely to stick to a healthy eating and movement plan if it’s fun and fits into your lifestyle. For example, take walks with your family and tweak family meal recipes to include healthy ingredients rather than cooking two entrees. 

7. Implement baby steps. 

Drastic changes like dropping sweets cold turkey may send your body and emotions into panic mode. Instead, be gentle with yourself and take small steps. For instance, walk 500 more steps each day this week or eat one less dessert. Build on these baby steps until you transform your lifestyle with healthy changes. 

8. Talk to your doctor.

Everyone’s body, health and goals are different. Before you try to lose weight, talk to your doctor. This step is crucial if you have an ongoing medical condition.

Healthy habits create successful weight loss. Take action to lose weight healthily and support your well-being.

The Surprising Neuroscience Of Arts And Crafts

Do you enjoy arts and crafts? It seems like a simple enough hobby, but it turns out that arts and crafts are helping neuroscientists unlock secrets of the brain.

Let’s look at one such study from the National Institute of Health that really demonstrates the value of arts and crafts.

The research has established that the part of your brain responsible for creativity can’t be pinned down to a specific region. Instead, the entire brain is involved with creativity, and it leads to some interesting implications.

The study was able to show that even after significant brain trauma, creativity was unhindered. Artists who lose the ability to even speak can often continue their art. This shows that creative processes can find new ways to function, even in a significantly damaged brain.

The same research suggests that practicing any form of art can help you develop your own creativity. Your brain can be just as resilient if you regularly participate in arts and crafts.

A different study published in PLOS ONE involved research with retirees in Germany. This study looked at the differences between creating and viewing art. The researchers were specifically wondering if viewing a painting had the same impact on the brain and creativity as making the painting. 

The short answer is that there was a noticeable difference. The longer answer is that creating art is amazing for something called psychological resilience. 

How do they know that? The study used fMRI scans on participants while they were subjected to stressful situations. The fMRI scans were completed once a week for 10 weeks. Over that same period, participants either created visual art or simply viewed art for one day each week. There was also a control group that did neither.

Subsequent scans showed that after 10 weeks, those creating art had measurably higher psychological resilience. This actually lines up pretty well with the NIH study from earlier.

Combine the two studies, and you can see that arts and crafts help you develop a more resilient brain, and at the same time, you will be better able to handle stress.

But, that’s not the only way that arts and crafts can be good for your brain. A third study published at the NCBI shows that arts and crafts can help you learn, and that is true at all stages of life. Whether you want to pick up a new skill, or you are recovering from a brain injury of your own, arts and crafts might be the key to the whole process.

How does that work? According to the research, arts and crafts engage something called mirror neurons in your brain. These are stimulated by hands-on activities. When mirror neurons are active, your brain is better able to mimic actions. But, this isn’t just copying behavior. The mirror neurons help to reinforce active learning, and that can help you develop skills and retain new knowledge much faster. Because you’re doing arts and crafts, you are also engaging your sense of creativity, allowing mirror neurons across all regions of your brain to fire.

In this way, arts and crafts essentially supercharge your brain to improve your ability to learn.


5 Easy Study Tips To Help You Learn Faster And Remember More

College classes require students to take in vast amounts of information. If you struggle with learning, you may have trouble passing tests. One of the best kept secrets to doing well in college has to do with memory. If you can teach yourself to learn faster and remember more, your grades will reflect that. Here are five easy study tips to help you do just that.

1. Find Your Best Study Time

Number one on our list is to figure out when your best study time is. When are you most alert? When is your focus razor sharp? For some people, it’s early in the morning before anyone else is awake. For others, the dark of night is ideal, while others are sleeping soundly. Find out when you easily slip into study mode. Then schedule your study time during those hours.

2. Get Plenty of Rest

Don’t pull all-nighters. All-night study sessions aren’t conducive to memorizing. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain can’t store new information where it belongs. That means your powers of recall will be lacking. You will be less likely to be able to remember answers when you’re operating on less sleep. Instead, follow study sessions with plenty of sleep. Six hours is a minimum, but college students usually need at least eight hours of solid sleep.

3. Talk it Out

You might think it sounds crazy, but talking things out helps you to remember information. Instead of just highlighting important passages in your textbook, read it aloud. You could even do something more strange, but highly effective. You could ask yourself questions that you think might be on the test. Then you have to answer them back to yourself. Do this all out loud. You’ll be amazed how much more information you  can retain this way. You might want to do this in private though. Your roommates might think you’ve developed a problem of talking to yourself!

4. Use the Mnemonic Technique

A mnemonic is a way to remember things that’s just a little trick. For example, if you have to remember a list of items, just use the first letter of each item to make a word. For example, if the list is osmosis, cellular and keratin, then rearrange the first letters to make the work “tok.” Then you can think of the social media platform Tick Tok, which should trigger your memory for the three words.

5. Make a Jingle

Last on our list is to make a jingle. If you enjoy music, try making little jingles out of information you need to memorize. Make a song out of long texts that are otherwise boring. When test time comes, just sing the little tune in your head to recall all the right answers. You can make it even easier if you can write jingles that rhyme.

Use these five tips to help you learn faster and easier, and remember more of what you read.