How to turn stress into motivation using paper: a guide for “negative thinkers”

Teach your mind to recognize good things, as our brain does exactly what we tell it. 

Being distressed is no big deal in the US or any other country. We get so used to high demands and time pressure that we take this discomfort as given. On top of that, we overestimate “disaster” in our college life, pushing ourselves further into anxiety and depression. In most cases, we blame negative thinking. If not for this wicked mindset, we could be as happy as many bright and carefree people around us. But we are not. At least, we believe we cannot change our way of thinking.

In this article, we are going to give you a few tips on how to recognize positive ideas in your mind and how to turn them into everyday motivation. You can do all of that using an ordinary piece of paper. When you try implementing these strategies, you will be impressed by how many beautiful things you used to ignore in your head.

Create a memory mailbox

In the 21st century, we have an inbox that operates perfectly without any paper. However, we propose you to create a real cardboard mailbox where you will regularly put hand-written paper letters. It is important that you write these letters to yourself. Back to our mailbox, however. Though it requires more than just a piece of paper, you probably have a box of a suitable size around. Keep in mind that it will be filled with beautiful memories, even if you do not know what they are yet. Use only colors and materials you like most to decorate your mailbox.

Write a letter to yourself

As your nice memory mailbox is ready, it’s time to start writing letters. Take a piece of paper and note down all the good things that happened to you in the past couple of days. You can describe positive events to the best of your inspiration if you like writing. If you don’t, just jot down some positive events that look remarkable to you. Try to write these letters once or twice a week. If you start procrastinating, take a letter out of your mailbox and look through it. Remind yourself of your recent success, good feelings, or pleasant people. Tell your brain that your life is not full of work, classes, and desperation in between.

Grow a beautiful tree of wishes

If you like the idea of decorating your living space, make a colorful tree, where every leaf carries a wish. Besides usual paper, you will need a tree branch. You can find a suitable one while walking in a park or you can buy an artificial branch from a florist. Getting started, think of the good things you dream or what you plan to implement. Create leaves of colorful paper, foil, or use pages from an old magazine. Write your wishes on leaves and attach them to the branch. Use your imagination. Decorate your tree with other small details. Every time you feel down, look at your tree. You have so much to strive for. There is no time for moping when good things are ahead.

Put positive memos all over your home

Do you have a habit of placing sticky notes everywhere you can see so you don’t forget important things? You can do the same with your positive memories and achievements. It is no wonder that your brain is stuck in negative thinking if you only overwhelm it with problems. This time, we offer to remind yourself of good moments that happened to you. Write short notes with emojis or print out small pictures from delightful events that make you smile.

Make a collage of your favorite movie quotes

Everyone loves movies. We bet you have a couple of favorites that boost your spirits, motivate you to move on, or provide you with a sincere laugh. You can use them as food for positive thinking. Print out your favorite movie scenes, lines, or actors’ quotes and place them on a collage. Taking a glance at your personal exposition of movies, you will feel more confident and comfortable.

The main idea behind each part of this advice is to teach your brain to think positively about your life. Negative thinking is not a disease, but it considerably undermines your mood and ruins performance. Having started to think positively, you will act more productively. And current distress can become an incentive to change your life for the better.

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