Collegiette Mental Health: The Simple Way to Stay Sane

Where are you? Here.

What time is it? Now.

Who are you? This moment.

- adapted from the Peaceful Warrior

(photo credit:

            Amidst the chaos of tests, projects and homework it seems impossible to keep all the stress and anxiety under control. Yet difficult times like these are when it’s most important to pay close attention to mental health. It is easy to find ourselves stuck in the library or in our rooms trying to tackle endless amounts of reading and studying, almost obsessively staring at a computer screen. We are in college and stress is inevitable--but how we learn to manage this stress is an irreplaceable skill that we will carry with us throughout the rest of our lives.

As humans, there is something in our nature that calls us to go outside--and this instinctual call is unhealthy to oppress. The great outdoors is a sort of natural medicine with health benefits that you can’t get from any other source. According to a Harvard health letter, some of the advantages of the outdoors include:

            Vitamin D levels increase

            Light helps to elevate your mood

            Physical activity relaxes people and cheers them up

            Fresh air can help speed up the body’s healing process

            Concentration improves

            Natural surroundings reduce stress and tension

            Clearing your mind allows for a more positive outlook

So amidst all the insanity don’t forget to take a step back for a moment, breathe, and remind yourself that you are living in San Luis Obispo--known to many as “the happiest place on Earth.” People don’t just say that without reason.

Allow yourself the opportunity to open your eyes and look at the beauty that surrounds you. Even if it is for just ten minutes a day, these few minutes of relaxation have the power to turn your entire day around.


Here are some spectacular places to visit to set your beautiful mind free:


    1.        Avila Beach

    2.        Pirate’s Cove

    3.        Pismo Beach

    4.        Morro Bay

    5.        Shell Beach

    6.        Oceano Beach

    7.        Bishop Peak

    8.        Hike to the Bell Tower

    9.        Hike to Serenity Swing

  10.        Architecture Graveyard

  11.        Stenner Creek Trail to the Eucs

  12.        South Hills Ridge Trail

  13.        Cerro Alto Hike

  14.        Harmony Headlands State Park

  15.        Montaña de Oro State Park

Bike, hike, run, canoe, kayak, rock climb, walk or meditate. Cal Poly offers resources like kayak and rock climbing gear rentals at the recreation center. Take advantage of what our college has to offer and fall in love with San Luis Obispo.

Photo credit: Tara Kaveh

“Happiness is the result of subjective interpretation of perception.” In other words: life is what you make of it and true happiness can only come from within.