The Happiness Principle

College consists of a ridiculous amount of stress and nerves. And I’m guessing we can all agree on that. Sometimes it’s tough to see past the fog that is classes, work, a social life, student organizations, future expectations…at the list goes on.

There is even a new term called the Quarter-Life Crises that furthers our inevitable college depression. But this doesn’t have to be the case!

So how do we alleviate these stressful feelings? Be Happy!

That is pretty clear, but the big question is: How? What is one sure fire way to deal with that stress and to make yourself a happier person? The answer: Service! I know that this answer seems pretty obvious coming from the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, but there is proof!

Positive Psychology is the idea that instead of trying to be “normal” and “regular,” try to be happy and positive.

Make happiness be the new normal.

Instead of accepting the stress of life, learn how to eliminate it and change your priorities. Positive psychologists make a career in researching how to make people happier. We clearly can’t expect to be happy at all times, but there is a way to squeeze happiness into your daily routine – just like brushing your teeth!

According to an article in Time Magazine, a quality that increases happiness is altruism, or helping out other people. When you are constantly thinking about when your next paper is due or how you are going to become that future millionaire, just take a break! Pause and volunteer to distract yourself from your own worries and cares to help someone else. It makes your worries seem small and insignificant and introduces a happier and more meaningful feeling into your life.

“Another happiness booster, say positive psychologists, is performing acts of altruism or kindness — visiting a nursing home, helping a friend’s child with homework, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, writing a letter to a grandparent. Doing five kind acts a week, especially all in a single day, gave a measurable boost…”

Time Magazine

This quote screams service! By serving others – by paying it forward once in a while – you indirectly become more positive and those daily stresses seem to just float away.

But why does service make us feel so happy?

“Giving makes you feel good about yourself . . . When you’re volunteering, you’re distracting yourself from your own existence, and that’s beneficial. More fuzzily, giving puts meaning into your life. You have a sense of purpose because you matter to someone else.”

– Time Magazine

As you can see, the answer to escaping the quarter-life crisis is to volunteer. Serve with your fellow students and change your perspective on life.

Take a breather: laugh and be kind. Help those who need it and you can help yourself.

And guess what? There’s an app for that! Making yourself happier has been brought into the 21st century with the help of www.happier.com. Happier is a simple and beautiful way to collect and share happy moments with people you care about.

Post Written By:
Riana Brown
Butler Center Student Assistant
r.brown18@umiami.edu

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