Why College Women in Europe Are So Much Healthier (& How We Can Be More Like Them)

It was 1 p.m. and Florence was all but shut down as the majority of shop owners were, as usual, taking a break from their daily routine to enjoy a leisurely lunch with their friends. I was sitting in my favorite Florentine osteria(wine bar) during my semester abroad, watching as the Italians crowded in around me. They were holding glasses of red wine while they munched on plates of bread, cheese, meats and pasta. No one seemed stressed despite that it was the middle of the workday, and everyone looked slim despite their carbo-loaded plates.  As I looked around, I began to realize that the Italians were doing something right.
Over the course of my time in Florence, I learned that we can benefit in certain ways both psychologically and physically from leading a European life, and here’s why.
The European Mindset
Anne Hammond Meyer, a clinical psychologist and specialist in women’s issues, suggests that the “American mindset” of productivity, anxiety and a fast-paced lifehas been around since the pilgrims first began to colonize our nation. “We came here and developed the U.S. by pulling up our boot straps, so it’s ingrained in our culture. We live based on the idea that if we work hard, we’ll achieve,” she says.
Europeans focus more on experience rather than on achievement. “They seem to value the experience of living. Americans are all about future living or fear of the past, but in general, Europeans are mindful of living in the here and now.” Meyer believes that the European lifestyle leads people to be more grounded, which allows them to be in touch with both themselves and others. It also causes less anxiety, which is beneficial both physically and mentally.


Jenni is a senior at Bucknell University where she will soon graduate with a degree in Psychology and minors in Creative Writing and Italian. Although Bucknell is in Lewisburg, PA (hello, corn fields!), her home is actually all the way in Seattle, WA. While at school, she enjoys hanging out with her sorority sisters, tutoring in the Writing Center, running and cooking/ eating delicious food. After spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy during her junior year, she is itching to continue traveling and loves anything associated with food, cooking, health and writing. She is currently finishing up her time as an Editorial Intern for Her Campus and will be headed to Boston University in the fall to begin working on a Masters degree in Journalism.