By Komal Kumar

One of the most common issues I see students struggle with is dealing with anxiety and negative thought patterns. These two often go hand in hand. Ever have thoughts that you might fail your exam, even when you have studied really hard? Everyone will laugh or think poorly of you while you do your presentation? That you aren’t good enough? You aren’t alone.

As human beings we are wired to focus on the negative aspects of our life. Long ago focusing on the negative might have helped us to survive. However, in a world where our main priorities are no longer hunting and gathering, this might cause us more harm than good. It takes a little guidance and practice, but if you work on it, you do have the ability to rewire your brain to help you defeat your negative thinking.

Changing Negative Thought Patterns

Step 1: Identify if the thought has true merit or if it has been conjured by your brain.

For example, if you are worried about failing your test, have you failed majority or all tests you’ve written? If the answer is no, which I bet is the answer for most, move to the next step.

Step 2: Find evidence against your thought.

For example: Have you passed more tests in your life time versus failing more tests? Have you ever even failed a test? If you haven’t even failed or passed 98% of all tests in your life, there is your proof right there that statistically you will most likely pass again.

Step 3: Replace negative thought with a positive, alternative, and realistic perspective.

For example: Instead of saying “I’m going to fail” tell yourself “I studied hard and I will pass. Just like the majority of tests I have taken in my life.”

Ta da! Negative thought is defeated!

Resources to Defeat Negative Thinking

• Ted Talk: “The Secret to Changing Negative Self-Talk” by Renewing your Mindset by Bruce Pulver
• Ted Talk: “Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and how to get unstuck)” by Alison Ledgerwood
• App: WOE BOT (talks to you to help you challenge your negative thoughts)
• Book an appointment with a counsellor to help you overcome negative thinking. Book in person at W111PB, email counselling@nait.ca or call at 780.378.6133

Tips to Help Deal with Anxiety

• Avoid caffeinated items (coffee, chocolate, pop, etc.) as it is a stimulant and can increase your anxiety
• Schedule a “worry session” where you dedicate 30 minutes in a day to worry about all your concerns, so it doesn’t distract from your daily life tasks
• Learn what your triggers are, so you can be prepared to handle the situation
• Learn mindfulness techniques (it really works) such as breathing, muscle relaxation, mediation, etc.

Supplied image.

Hello there! My name is Komal Kumar and I am one of the student counsellors at NAIT that specializes in working with International students. I love working with my colleagues and students, as they inspire me every day and remind me that there is always something to be grateful for in a world full of chaos. I love working out at Orange Theory Fitness, DIY crafting, and spending time with my family and friends.

Correction: In the last issue Stefanie Guillard was listed as a counsellor when, in fact, she is our front office client care specialist.  Our apologies for any confusion.

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