Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Positive Thinking as a Tool for Success

Nathalie Vera

Photo by Anisha Sisodia

Research papers, midterms, final exams and more. Keeping up with the daily workload at University of California Santa Barbara, in addition to any extracurricular activities and a social life, can put a strain on students and compromise their overall well-being. When everything seems to be beyond one’s control, it’s almost too easy to slip into the grasp of pessimism. Two new six-week programs on campus, however, strive to abolish this sort of thinking through the power of thinking positively.

The Carol Ackerman Positive Psychology Center at the Hosford Counseling and Psychology Center might just have the answer for those hoping to eliminate or prevent a negative mindset. The Center will promote health, wellness and success by applying positive thinking and other psychology approaches through two programs that will take course over the remainder of the school year.

The programs, the Positive Psychology Stress and Anxiety Reduction Group, and the Mindfulness for Health and Wellness Group, encourage optimism through interventions that will focus on what people want to achieve, instead of on the challenges providing a setback from the goals desired.

The first group begins on May 2 and will meet on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This group will teach its participants the power of positive thinking by giving them tools and advice to promote more satisfactory lifestyles free of stress. The second group begins on May 3 and will meet on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. This group will teach mindfulness by analyzing the thoughts and emotions that typically bring upon heightened feelings of distress. It will ultimately seek to enable success for its participants by encouraging them to focus on the positive aspects of their lives, rather than on the negative setbacks.

Diana de la Torre, a fourth-year psychology major, believes that the focus of the program could be essential to the general public.

“Feeling confident affects the way we perceive our situations and how we decide to manage them. I think that by being more optimistic we alter our approaches to situations and take on them in a healthier manner; we think of alternatives and act according to better outcomes,” she said. “Generally, it makes you a more open-minded individual ready for any situation.”

Aside from the Positive Psychology Stress and Anxiety Reduction Group and the Mindfulness for Health and Wellness Group, a multitude of other resources are already available on campus to promote adept mental and physical health. UCSB’s Counseling Services provide individual and group counseling, egg and massage chairs, events such as the recent De-Stress Fest and confidential meetings with Stress Management Peers to provide students with a variety of options for diminishing stress, and UCSB’s Health & Wellness Program is known for their anticipated Dog Therapy Day, offered at the culmination of every quarter.

As these programs and events show, stress management is imperative at UCSB and essential for students to thrive. For more information on the Positive Psychology Stress and Anxiety Reduction Group, and the Mindfulness for Health and Wellness Group, contact Brian Stevenson, Chelsea Namkung, or Anna Lee at 805-893-8064. And above all else, trust Bob Marley and have faith that “every little thing, is gonna be alright.”