Build your Immunity to Negativity

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Negativity and pessimistic attitudes can be contagious. So how can you stay positive amongst the sea of sadness? During midterm season everyone got stressed and easily aggravated. My friends had little positive energy and they just kept getting sadder. I noticed that their attitudes were rubbing onto me as well, but I knew I needed to remain positive and keep a good attitude while studying or else I’d lose motivation. After midterms everyone returned to a more stable emotional state. All has been well since then, but this trend will arise again as we inch closer to finals. So how does one maintain positive during exam season? With finals around the corner, how do we stay immune to the negativity around us?

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If you don’t want the mood to rub on to you then limit your interaction with negative people. If you’re in a room full of depressed people you are possibly subjecting yourself to social conformity. When everyone is negative it becomes the norm and it will subconsciously make you think it’s okay to express this attitude. This makes the atmosphere even more negative, it’s like an endless loop! Now, I’m not saying hide avoid people. I am saying that you should limit your interaction with people in a bad mood and socialize more with people in a positive mood. By hanging out with happier people you’re more likely to just feel happier. And then if you talk to sad people their mood might lighten up a little. Humans subconsciously influence how others feel based on their own emotions. This sympathetic quality seems innate. Even if you aren’t too happy yourself, just by acting happy others will feel joy too!

(check out the meltzoff & moore facial imitation experiment)

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“Such imitation implies that human[s] … can equate their own unseen behaviors with gestures they see others perform.”
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As mentioned above, just by acting happy others will lighten up a little. Well guess what, just by acting happy you, yourself, will actually experience a change in your mood! There have been numerous psychological experiments that prove this (check out the facial feedback hypothesis and experiment). According to the facial feedback hypothesis, emotional response is based on our facial expression. So physically smiling can make you feel better. And again, if you feel happy others will feel happy!

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Now acting/being happy is tiring. So fuel yourself up by eating things that boost your mood. This can include your favourite foods as well as healthy foods with lots of energy. These foods include yogurt, chicken, turkey, bananas, oats, brazil nuts, chia seeds, coconut, sardines, flax seeds/oil, spinach. Just remember to eat well because it will boost your mood as well as supply you with energy to study for finals.

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It is also important to remember balancing study time with leisure time. I know my friends who stay cooped up studying 24/7 get really depressed. I’m sure their mood would improve if they had a little break here and there to eat or do something fun. Even so, your mind will perform better if you study in a good mood. Studying is crucial, but your health quality of life and mood are just as vital. Stay positive and good luck with finals!

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