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The sounds of the Tekken Tag piano intro from 1999 on max volume starts my day, and then my mind begins the infinite work. It’s time to debate what I feel like wearing today. Is the maroon polo with a wrinkled collar really going to match those faded jeans? Wait… Will my blue or gray shoes even match the attire? I have to also keep my colleagues in mind because I can’t be looking like a scrub in front of them.

By the way, are the 543 words I wrote last night enough to complete the first draft of my literary analysis? How was the grammar? What will the teacher think? Do I need a haircut? After all, I always say hair is what defines a person. The weather! Will the snow and ice ruin my day like Fire and Ice (the poem by Robert Frost) killed me when I was in elementary school? Speaking of poetry. A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning is one of my favorites of all time. “But we by a love so much refined that ourselves know not what it is…” Classic!

This was one of my mornings and this was my mind defining the word hodgepodge in two minutes. Each college student has their own thoughts and worries, but with so many things on the mind, it becomes easy to lose focus on what matters most.

Many things cross our minds that overwhelm us, which can lead to stress and ruin what could’ve been a great day. Stress is not something to be feared, because it helps give us that push to do difficult things, but an excessive amount can make us worry about things we have no control over.

“Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem,” according to WebMD. “With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on ‘what might happen.'”

This constant worrying can lead to many problems such as headaches, irritability, dizziness and more. The truth is there are many “what ifs” in life that can cause these side effects, but focus on what you can control.

If you missed an assignment out of laziness and received a zero because the instructions stated “no late assignments accepted,” then learn to take responsibility for that zero and how to make improvements for the future. While the past is history and out of our control —unless you find a time traveling DeLorean (please notify me if you do…)— the future is up to us.

By doing your best on future assignments, the mind will focus on how you will make up for that zero. During my first semester at BYU-Idaho, Math for the Real World was the bane of life. Math was never my forte, but I was determined to learn and overcome my mathematical shortcomings. With the desire to succeed, I studied my inexperienced heart out, believing that my work and numerous prayers would pay off.

I got a stunning 64 percent on my exam. What happened? Did I not study enough? Did I offend God in my prayer? Was I not praying for the right things? I was doing fine on the practice exam. Why did I do so poorly on the real test? Would this grade define my semester?

Many thoughts came to mind, but the reality of the situation is that none of these ideas were going to change the 64 percent. I had to think of a way to get points that would cover my disappointing grade. I used my thoughts to build a plan to recover and finish the semester with a decent grade. While I finished that class with a B, I realized that I needed to think of ways to recover instead of making excuses.

Is everybody happy with your hair style? Probably not, but you can focus your mind on the people who do enjoy the style.

According to Mike Byster, who wrote in Psychology Today, “The brain has the capabilities of remembering 10 billion encyclopedia pages of information. That is 300,000 pages a day, every day for over 90 years.”

The power of the mind is infinite, so don’t stress on the “what ifs” and think on what you can fix.


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