6 Ways To Stay Positive On Dark Days

6 Ways To Stay Positive On Dark Days

Even if you feel like giving up.
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As I've gotten older and depression and anxiety have been introduced to my life, it is often times hard to remember how to stay positive. There are times where it seems like everything is against you and then there are times where you just can't get out of a funk.

Personally, I've been struggling with a broken foot and have found my go-to medicine, running, hasn't been in the cards for me. So here is a few little things you can do to stay positive in days where it doesn't seem like you can be positive.

1. Set a reminder to smile

Back in Freshman year of high school my friend stole my phone and set a reminder to go off every day at noon to tell me to smile. Although this may seem like a silly idea every day at noon, I force a smile.

2. Think of one thing that you're thankful for

To go with the above idea of taking a minute out of your day to smile comes my second tip, while you are sitting there smiling, think of something you're thankful for that day. For example, today while I forced a smile I thought about how I'm only a week away from seeing my siblings again. I only have a week before break and I'll be able to be back with my family and work.

3. Free association writing

Sit down with pen and paper and just write down everything and anything that comes to your head. The purpose of Free Association Writing is allowing yourself to be uncensored and just write. This has helped me get my feelings and frustrations out while I may not be able to construct the worlds verbally.

4. Go on an adventure

Luckily, living in Chicago allows me to have access to the CTA and Uber/Lyft with the help of an app. Some days the only way to get out of a funk is to just get lost. Head out somewhere and run with wherever it takes you. Usually, this leads me to a new coffee shop or just simply allows me to walk down a road I may have never really paid attention to.

5. Tell yourself to be positive

Here is, yet again, probably a very hippy sounding idea, but sometimes the only one who can instill positivity is yourself. By starting off your morning by telling yourself you will have a good day and will be happy will force you to try and keep this promise to yourself.

6. Blast nostalgic music

By finding music that you associate happy memories with, you can change your attitude. Psychology explains with mood-congruent memory that your state of mind will determine the type of recall of memories. If you're feeling down and listen to music that makes you think of things that also bring you down then you need to switch the playlist.

There will certainly be days that are harder to stay positive and will feel like nothing can go right, I have these days more often than others. You just have to remind yourself that there is so much more to life then what you're able to see now. Change your perspective and continue to find little things to enjoy in the day, find solice in little pleasures.



Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why You Actually Don't Want To Be Prescribed Adderall

ADD isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
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As I'm writing this, I can feel my concentration slipping. Noises have become enticing, I feel distanced from my phone, and every time someone walks by me in the library, I turn around seeing if it's someone I know. My extended-release Adderall is starting to wear off and my brain is starting to relax back to its natural state. My ADD is climbing out from underneath the blanket of focus I had for 10 hours today.

ADD is not all that it's cracked up to be. Sure, we get prescribed the precious Adderall so many people want, but at what cost? Let me put this in context for you. You know when you're at the library and there's a one really, really loud girl talking on the phone? You know the one. The girl that, for some reason, thinks it's OK to have a full-fledged conversation with her mom about her boyfriend in the middle of the quiet section. The girl that's talking so loud that it's all you can think about, occupying all of your focus. Well, that's what every single person in the room is like when you have ADD.

Distractions that are easy to ignore to someone without ADD are intensified and, instead of focusing on the task at hand, I'm listening to the girl three seats down from me eat her barbecue kettle chips. When you have ADD, it's not just schoolwork you can't focus on. You can't focus on anything. I tried to watch a foreign film one time without my medicine, and I forgot to pay attention to the subtitles. I realized about halfway through the movie that I had no idea what was going on.

What almost everyone that asks me for my Adderall doesn't understand is that I take Adderall to focus how you would normally. When you take my Adderall you feel like you can solve the world's problems. You can bang out an entire project in one night. You can cram for an entire exam fueled by this surge of motivation that seems super-hero-like.

You take my Adderall and ask me, “Is this how you feel all the time?" And, unfortunately, my answer is no. I'll never feel like a limitless mastermind. When I take Adderall, I become a normal human being. I can finish a normal amount of work, in a normal amount of time.

My brain works in two modes: on Adderall, and off Adderall. On Adderall, I'm attentive, motivated and energetic. Off Adderall, I can barely get up the motivation and focus to clean my room or send an email. And it's frustrating. I'm frustrated with my lack of drive. I'm frustrated that this is how my brain operates. Scattered, spastic and very, very unorganized. There's nothing desirable about not being able to finish a sentence because you lost thought mid-way through.

The worst thing that you can say to anyone with ADD is, “I think I should start taking Adderall." Having ADD isn't a free pass to get super-pills, having ADD means you have a disability. I take Adderall because I have a disability, and it wasn't a choice I had a say in. I was tested for ADD my freshman year of college.

My parents were skeptical because they didn't know exactly what ADD was. To them, the kids with ADD were the bad kids in school that caused a scene and were constantly sent out of class. Not an above average student in her first year at a university. I went to a counselor and, after I was diagnosed with ADD, told me with a straight mouth, “Marissa this is something you're going to have to take for the rest of your life."

When the late-night assignments and cramming for the tests are over, and we're all out in the real world, I'm still going to be taking Adderall. When I'm raising a family and have to take the right kid to the right place for soccer practice, I'm still going be taking Adderall. And when I'm trying to remember the numbers they just said for bingo at my nursing home, I'm still going to be taking Adderall.

So you tell me you're jealous that I get prescribed Adderall? Don't be. I'm jealous that you can drink a cup a coffee and motivate yourself once you lose focus. I'm jealous that the success of your day doesn't depend on whether or not you took a pill that morning. The idea of waking up and performing a full day without my medicine is foreign to me.

My brain works in two modes, and I don't know which one is the right one. I don't know which mode is the one the big man upstairs wants me to operate in. So before you say you want to be prescribed to Adderall, ask yourself if you need and want to operate in two different modes.

Ask yourself if you want to rely on medicine to make your entire life work. If I had a choice, I would choose coffee like the rest of the world.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Measles And Us

Ever heard about the story of David and Goliath? This is one on both a microscopic and global level.

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Raise your hand if you have heard about the ongoing outbreak of measles within the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a total of 127 reported cases of measles within 10 states since last fall. Just last month, Washington declared a public health emergency due to at least 50 cases arising with the state, predominately from Clark County, an area known to be highly affiliated by the anti-vaccine movement. Since then, the vaccination rate for measles has skyrocketed to an astonishing 500%, as Americans seek defense from the disease. In today's time, vaccines are incredibly important for one's health and those around them. Creating awareness for public health is crucial to maintaining a healthy society, especially in times of health scares.

Now, what is the measles disease? Measles, also known as "Rubeola" is an airborne disease, caused by Measles morbillivirus, and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with secretions. Measles only affects humans, there is no "measles for other animals." Once a person is infected, they will have a very irritable rash spread across their body, from head to toe, within two weeks. Some side effects of measles are fever, encephalitis, ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea, rashes, and corneal ulceration—some can create permanent damage. Dr. Pritish Tosh states that measles is mainly a childhood disease, as children are more susceptible and have a higher mortality rate when exposed to the disease. There is no cure for measles, however, antibiotics can remedy the disease during the infection period of two-to-three weeks.

So, what can we do to combat the measles virus? Well, the CDC highly recommends getting the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination—aka the MMR vaccine—as soon and as early as possible. The MMR contains live, attenuated—or weakened by scientific methods in a laboratory—measles, mumps, and rubella—that stimulates your immune system responses, but not enough cause the symptoms of disease. The CDC recommends two doses of the MMR vaccination—the 1st at 12-15 months and the 2nd at 4-6 year—in order to empower the T and B cells that will kill off those specific pathogens in your body in the future. The earlier the exposure, the stronger the immune system response will be in the future.

So, what does it mean for the people vaccinated and those who are not? The earlier the exposure to the vaccine, the stronger the immune system response will be in the future. Last year, I learned from Professor Dr. Meysick that through artificial active immunity, the total number of antibodies within a community increases with each vaccine, protecting throughs in that community. In addition, microbiologists from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, have concluded that this herd immunity decreases the circulation of infectious agents in susceptible populations. But what does that mean for those who are not vaccinated? According to the World Health Organization, since measles is so contagious, compared to other diseases, if it infects an unvaccinated person, they will be incredibly susceptible to the disease, which increases the risk of other people in that community who are also not vaccinated or have a weak immune system to begin with. Thus, explains why measles is still so prevalent in a low vaccinated area like Clark County, Washington.

This is why the priority for vaccination should be held with the utmost importance. Since the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1963, has reported that the prevalence of measles has decreased by at least 99%. However, the CDC and WHO warn about the common diseases held in foreign countries that people from the US have the potential to bring back and start a mass infection. That is why they express caution to one's health overseas and be vaccinated before traveling; since this fall, the CDC has traced the measles epidemic of the US all the way from Venezuela. This is why vaccines are necessary to increase our and other's immune system's strengths against foreign pathogens and diseases. In order to protect others from diseases, we must first protect ourselves.

I hope this has been informative to your health and please stay health throughout this semester. Thank you.

Sources:

Board, D. S. (2004). Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Smallpox Vaccine Down Select Process report summary. Washington D.C.: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

Davidson, T. (2017). Vaccines: History, Science, and Issues. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. ×Fine, P. (2014). Science and society: vaccines and public health. Public Health, 686-692.

Hanley, R. (2015). Needling the Profession. Irish Medical Times, 20. ×Kim, T. H., Johnstone, J., & Loeb, M. (2011). Vaccine herd effect. Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases, 43(9), 683-9.

Rovenský, Jozef, & Payer, Juraj. (2009). Vaccine. In Dictionary of Rheumatology (p. 221). Vienna: Springer Vienna. ×Saplakoglu, Y. (2019, February 08). Measles Outbreak Spurs Vaccination Surge in Anti-Vaxxer Hotspot. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from https://www.livescience.com/64728-measles-outbreak-spurs-vaccination.html

Soucheray, S. (2019, February 19). CDC notes multiple outbreaks, 26 new measles cases. Retrieved February 19, 2019, from http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2019/02/cdc-notes-multiple-outbreaks-26-new-measles-cases

Sparks, D. (2017, May 11). More about measles. Retrieved February 20, 2019, from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/more-about-measles/

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