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Mental Health

5 Choices to Make to Live and Think Happier

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This year, various aspects of my life have inspired me to look introspectively about my thoughts and state of mind. Am I optimistic about my life? Happy? At peace? It’s hard to be all of these things all of the time, but it’s important to me that I find time to encourage these healthy thoughts and feelings. I have a hunch that I’m not alone when it comes to wanting to be a more content person, so just in case there are others with the same goal, here are a few mantras and activities I use to keep me smiling.

Romanticize My Future

Like many college students nearing graduation, there’s a lot about my future that’s unknown, and that can be stressful and overwhelming. One thing that keeps me from spiraling when I think about my life in a year or two is that there’s a lot I’ll have control over. Small stuff, like how my apartment is going to be decorated or the kind of pet I’m going to have. So even though I don’t know what job I’ll have or what city I’ll be living in, I can still get excited about the possibilities by coming up with my dream scenarios (and making corresponding Pinterest boards, of course).

Stop thinking, just do

There are times when I think to myself “that would be so nice to do right now” and then I just do it. It’s not always possible, but when it is, I find that it’s very therapeutic to turn words and thoughts into actions. My most frequent fantasies have to do with eating or going outside — or both. So, whenever I want to take a walk and enjoy the nice weather or make my way over to my favorite brunch spot, I try my best to do it. This way, I’m avoiding those disappointing “I wish I’d done that” thoughts.

Organize my physical space

I can’t have a clear mind if I don’t have a clear space, so cleaning and organizing are high up on my list of de-stress activities. My physical space is something I can control in my life and the more peaceful my environment is, the more peaceful I feel. Candles, throw pillows, flowers and seasonal décor make me happy, so that’s what I choose to fill my home with.


Meditation comes in many forms. Of course, classic meditation that focuses on breathing with intention and focusing our thoughts is immensely beneficial and a great thing to incorporate into a daily routine, but there are other, less conventional forms of mediation I enjoy as well. One of my favorites is cooking, I find a lot of relaxation and peace in the act of cooking dinner. There’s almost nothing that makes me happier than trying a new, complex recipe and having the meal turn out delicious. Meditation is all about being mindful, so as long as we go through our day with intention and we remember to breathe, we’re already on the way to a happier mind.

Slow down

Slowing down is much easier said than done. I hate feeling unproductive, but I get overwhelmed very easily. Finding the balance between laziness and giving myself a break from my busy schedule is what helps me feel refreshed. For me, slowing down might include carving some time out of my morning to have my coffee and read, finishing my day with my favorite show or doing a quick yoga video. Anything that helps remind me that this is my life and I need to make time for my favorite things.

This list is going to look a little different for everyone, but it’s a good place to start if you’re looking for ways to brighten your thoughts and ease your mind. There are many things we can’t control, so let’s make the most of the things we can.

Cara is a senior studying advertising-public relations with minors in mass culture and collective behavior and entrepreneurship at the University of Central Florida. She finds peace in yoga and Insomnia Cookies. Most days you can find her studying at a coffee shop or exploring Winter Park. When not in class, she spends her time traveling with her family, playing board games or curled up watching New Girl. Her prized possession (and best friend) is her cat. To follow her selfies and adventures, you can check her out on Instagram @carajacc!
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