Mental Health Declutter Before Beginning College

College is a time for a fresh start. While some high schoolers reflect on their high school years as one of the best times in their lives, what if your experience was challenging, even traumatic?

Bullying, judgement, and social rejection.

Drama, fighting, and conflict.

Escape, avoidance, and numbing.

Anxiety, depression, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts.

Bad grades, missed assignments5

Feeling “not enough”

Consider this time of your life as a new beginning. A time to let go. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”.
–C.S. Lewis

Being stuck in the past can prevent one from being fully present in the future. It can also cloud one’s view of the future. Decluttering the mind by letting go of negativity and all the baggage that is no longer needed is so therapeutic.

How to let go…

Acknowledge and name.
There is power in naming something, especially emotions that create feelings of discomfort. Acknowledging and naming can help one move toward acceptance.

Work with your emotions.
It is OK to feel your emotions, especially as one is working towards healing. Get to know and understand your emotions. Mindfulness is a great practice. Allow emotions to move through their course.

Notice your thoughts.
Notice any thoughts that may be contributing to patterns of “stuckness”. Work with cognitive-distortions. Challenge them. Reframe unhelpful thoughts.

Resolve the unaddressed.
If you are struggling in a particular area, now is a great time to address it. Substance misuse? Disordered eating? Health concerns? Past Trauma? Unhealthy relationships? There are resources available that can help. Consider taking the first step. Give therapy a try.

Build yourself up.
Work on your self-esteem. Try doing things that you enjoy. Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you. Use affirmations to change your mindset. Know that you are good enough. You are loved and worthy of being loved.

Stay strong.
“Be strong enough to let go and patient enough to wait for what you deserve”.
Letting go can be hard, but sometimes it is what is needed to be able to move forward. Fight for what you believe in. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams.

To schedule an appointment with one of our professional counselors, click here.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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