...this moment is your life.
Spring is in the air - and so is exam week. With mounting pressure from impending exams, with essays to write and projects to polish, with analyses to run and talks to present, how do we stay happy?
Anima sana in corpore sano
A healthy mind in a healthy body: This is more than a simple word of wisdom. What we eat, how much water we drink, how many hours we sleep, and how much exercise we get, affect the quality of our everyday lives. Many people sigh that they don't have 30 minutes to go to the rec center, but working out pays off. The resulting endorphin and motivation boost will help you feel more relaxed, and more efficient.
Spend time with your family
People who spend more time with their parents are happier. This is hard when your family lives more than 5000 miles away (like mine does). However, social "snacking," or looking at photos, writing letters, and thinking of good memories with loved others, leads to a temporary increase in our moods. Next time you find that you have 15 minutes of free time, why not send your parents or siblings a hand-written letter?
Research consistently shows that people who volunteer live longer lives, indicate that they have more social support and more friends, and generally feel better about themselves than people who don't volunteer. Helping others is a win-win situation: The person who receives help will often benefit, and the person who gives help benefits too. If you don't have time to commit hours to volunteering, consider doing something prosocial: Let a stranger go ahead of you in line, help carry someone's books, or donate money to someone who needs it.
You know yourself better than anyone else does. What do you need in order to de-stress? A long, slow walk? A good book? An hour of classical music? An evening out with friends? Whatever you prefer, take time to do it. You deserve it, and you should feel good about your time off. Final piece of research evidence: People who are constantly thinking of something else than what they are doing, are overall less happy than people who focus on the here and now. Something to keep in mind!
I hope the end of the semester approaches you all well.
Stay healthy, stay well, stay connected, stay happy.