Finding the green pastures on this side of the fence

Ana Cano

Illustration by Trevor Robertson

Outlook on life can make a tremendous impact on how a person lives day-to-day and what that person accomplishes. Hence the oft heard analogy about the glass being half empty or half full—it all lies in perception.

Being a full time student is no easy task. School can be overwhelming and homework seems endless, but it is up to the individual to make the most of it and learn or to sit and whine and miss out on the opportunities that abound.

Not too long ago, I was having one of those days. My grades were suffering, schoolwork was piling on, work was too demanding and I didn’t feel like 24 hours was nearly enough.

After leaving school overwhelmed and annoyed I came to find I’d lost my car keys. I crumbled down in frustration and thought to myself “could today get any worse?”

Irritated, I made my way to the nail salon to have a minute to relax and forget about life.

That day my outlook on life changed.

I met a woman whose smile was contagious. She seemed so happy and full of energy. We began a conversation and she shared with me about the battles she’d fought and why she chose to be optimistic.

“Live each day to the fullest,” she said. “You never know what tomorrow brings. Live with no regrets.”

This woman battled cancer twice and lost her husband and children, but despite all the hardships she was a happy woman with a bright smile. I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed of how I had been feeling.

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After that experience, I decided I would change the way I viewed life.

I know people have bad days—I get it. But the outlook and reaction makes all the difference.

I invite you to be more optimistic; to take a sour situation and turn it into a sweet opportunity. Being optimistic gets us ahead in school and work and helps us establish solid relationships.

Researchers have found that positive thinkers are healthier and less stressed. Positive thinking doesn’t come naturally to all, but it is something we can be learned.

Here are a few reasons to ditch Debby Downer and start being more optimistic:

1. Positive thinkers can cope with stress more effectively than pessimists.  They often focus on ways they can work things out rather than dwelling on the negative in stressful situations.

2. Optimism improves physical health. People who are more optimistic are less likely to suffer from depression and have an increased lifespan.

3. It improves the ability to face crisis. When people try to find the good in a bad situation and stay positive, they are able to solve problems with strength and resolve.

Positive thinking has many benefits to it, however, don’t over do it. Don’t take it to the point of being completely oblivious to reality.

Keep in mind that bad days will happen. Things will go wrong and people will disappoint. But that doesn’t mean that life sucks and everyone is spiteful.

Instead, remember to stay positive and think of ways you can improve the situation and simply allow for learning and growth from such experiences.

This is the most overwhelming time of the semester. Finals are approaching. Tackle them with a smile and a positive attitude—it’ll make all the diff

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