By: Jennifer Bacher

 

What is happiness? It is often pursued but not everyone achieves it. It cannot be bought or sold and it helps people but can also cause problems. So how do we find it?

Being in University is probably the most stressful, fun, tiring and rewarding four years of your life. With only a week into the school year, many have not felt the pressure of university just yet but brace yourselves – it is coming. Essays, tests, presentations, conflicts and bad marks are only some of the exciting events lurking behind those 40lbs textbooks and cramped lecture hall seats. You will eventually start to wonder if you’ll actually make it to Christmas.

Well, speaking as a veteran, it’s easier than you think! One word: happiness. This state of mind will relieve stress and calm anxiety. Here are 10 easy ways to stay happy this school year:

 

1. Go for a walk: One of Hamilton’s best-kept secrets is that it is actually full of nature – who knew? Nature will calm your mind and body allowing you to free yourself from the busy life of a student. Just put on some running shoes and go for a walk through Cootes Paradise. Thirty minutes will do wonders for the mind.

2. Enjoy the simple things: Sip a nice cup of coffee, read a good book, or listen to some music. Taking 15 minutes out of your day to relax will help to revitalize your mind for that big essay that’s due tomorrow.

3. Watch TV: There is nothing better then just sitting on a comfy chair with a hot chocolate (or iced tea, since it’s been so freaking hot) watching your favourite episode of Friends. Allow yourself to escape into another reality for an hour and relax.

4. Go out with your friends: Whether it is out to lunch or just an hour conversation, spending time with friends will help you work through problems and to find support in your daily lives. Social connections boosts happiness and health!

5. Exercise: Not only is working out good for your health, but according to many specialists (this one’s for you, Dr. Oz) it can allow for a change in your mood for the better. Whether it’s running, Pilates, or playing your favourite sport, exercise helps you take your mind off of stress and can help with fatigue.

6. Meditate: Meditating helps to relax the body and reduce stress levels. It teaches us to live in the here and now instead of worrying about the future or past. It can also help with concentration problems. Try a form of Yoga, Tai Chi or even just meditating on your own.

7. Volunteer: Helping people is a rewarding way to feel happy and can also help to boost life satisfaction. Find a charity you can relate to or find a program at McMaster.

8. Cooking: Whether it is just for you or you invite some friends over, cooking can be a form of relaxation. Completing a difficult recipe will give you some satisfaction and imagine how delicious the meal will taste!

9. Make goals: Write a list of long-term and short-term goals. Post them in your room where you will see them everyday and as you accomplish a goal check it off. Not only will it keep you motivated, seeing what you have accomplished will keep you positive and focused. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you accomplish a goal!

10. Do what you love: It is fairly simple but people often forget that if you love what you are doing it will bring you happiness. Be passionate about what you are doing whether it is school, work, or recreational.

 

You may not always feel the happiest, but doing something that helps you forget your worries for a while will be beneficial in cheering you up and will make it a bit easier to barrel through those assignments.

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