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Wellness > Mental Health

It’s the Little Things That Count: Simple Things I Do to Increase My Overall Happiness

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Being in college and being a student comes with many challenges and difficulties. It is easy to get caught up in the negatives of being away at school. Having a lot of homework or exams, being tired, not having time for proper meals, needing to do laundry, roommate struggles … the list goes on. Sometimes I find myself just going through my daily motions of going to class, doing homework, repeat. It can be hard to pull yourself out of the cycle, and a lot of times we just feel too busy.

The past two semesters I have made it a mission to prioritize doing at least one thing every day for no other purpose than to bring me joy. It doesn’t have to be a big thing — something as small as wearing one of my favorite shirts or grabbing a smoothie after class — as long as it puts a smile on my face. Here are some simple things I do to help try to boost my mood, especially on those hard or busy days. 

Listening to upbeat music

It’s no secret that music affects your mood. Like how sometimes listening to a sad song will make you cry, or how certain songs will evoke nostalgia or other feelings. When I wake up in the morning and I make my way to class, I try to listen to music that gets me hyped up or gets me in a good mood. I see it as a way to set my intentions for the day and start the day on the right foot!

Grabbing a treat before/after a hard class

We all have those days in our schedule that we dread. Maybe it’s because you have a three hour lab, a really hard class, or a bad professor. Wherever it may be, it can ruin the vibe of the whole day. If I know there’s a day or a class that I am not excited about, I try to plan ahead. I will grab myself a treat before or after class so that I have something to look forward to. It’s like a little reward to myself for showing up and going on with my day. Sometimes it will be a smoothie or a coffee, other times I’ll walk to Frank and get hard ice cream, or gelato from Blue Wall. Ice cream pretty much always puts me in a good mood, but it can be whatever you like!


I know that working out or going to the gym is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I have found thattaking an hour, or even 15 minutes out of my day to move my body has helped me clear my head. It can be something as small as taking a walk, or something as intense as running 10 miles. I have found that I enjoy the group fitness classes at The Rec, especially spin and pilates. 

Getting some fresh air

This has probably been one of my favorite activities to do since being at UMass! Being outside in the fresh air and walking around campus is something that I could do for hours. I know this kind of goes hand in hand with exercising, but spending time in the fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine is a nice way to take a break from whatever is going on. Especially now living in the dorms, it can feel a little suffocating being in such a small space all the time, so getting outside is important.


This one may sound a little obvious, but I think taking time to laugh during the day is crucial. Getting caught up in life at school can sometimes feel very daunting and intense, and sometimes laughter is the best medicine to break that tension. What I do is watch a funny movie, or video, or just do anything I know I’ll find funny. Doing something a little “ridiculous” or that has low stakes is a nice way I’ve found to break the tension and of course, that makes me feel good.

Since I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate little things that bring me joy, I’ve noticed my overall mood has improved. It’s really important to take care of yourself, especially with the added stress of being a student and being away at school. Oftentimes it’s the little things that add up, which in part is why they are so important. Making pockets of time in my day to do something for me has been super beneficial. The little things can have a big impact, and for me, even things like taking walks and watching funny videos can make the difference between having a bad day, or just a bad moment.

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Kelly Moussa

U Mass Amherst '26

Kelly Moussa is a sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in Communication, with minors in Film Studies and Business. She is super excited to be writing for Her Campus, and in her free time she enjoys painting, working out, traveling, and discovering new places to eat.