Six tips for a happier, healthier mind

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ISTOCK (MARIJA JOVOVIC)
Being happy and healthy begins with you.

The human brain is like a powerful machine, storing our memories and controlling how we as humans think and react. And just like any well-oiled machine, it requires ongoing maintenance to ensure optimal performance over time. Life can be tough sometimes and college work does not make things easier. However, here are a few tips I used to keep my mind on track during my year at Fanshawe College.

1. Stay physically active. Before winter hit I loved taking my bike around, whether it was back and forth to college but even for simple tasks like getting groceries. So whether you like taking your bike out, hitting the gym or going for a run – do it! Doing a little exercise every day has several benefits; both mental and physical. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can greatly improve your mood.

2. Exercise your mind. Just like the rest of your body your brain needs exercise too in order to stay healthy. There are lots of different ways you can do this: play computer games, PlayStation, or even do a crossword puzzle. Personally, I loved a good game of FIFA on the PlayStation or a simple Sudoku. Your mind is your most valuable tool so keeping it fully functioning is very important to staying happy and living an active life.

3. Eat your fruits and vegetables. I may sound like a mom but trust me when I say this, the ‘Freshman 15’ is not just for freshmen. I know how easy it could be to opt for fast food options when you’re busy with college and maybe work, but you have to know when to draw the line. Fruits and vegetables, loaded with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, have powerful antioxidant potential to help maintain brain function and mental agility.

4. Form a support network. Remember your classmates are probably going through the same stresses as you, so seeking help through the support of one another is a good idea. From my experience, I’ve learned that having a social network reduces stress and the feeling of loneliness.

Keeping a healthy mind involves maintaining relationships and finding new ways to broaden social horizons. So, get out there and join some clubs or go for workouts together with friends or even take a break for coffee with friends.

5. Get enough sleep. I completely understand when you are tempted to push through one more episode of Netflix and then one episode becomes two then three and the next thing you know it is 4 a.m. and you have a class at 8 a.m. You may not see the consequence of it now but not getting enough sleep can affect your entire day. I would recommend trying to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep if possible.

6. Remember that help is at hand. By following these simple steps, you should feel better in and about yourself. However, if you are feeling anxious, depressed or think you are suffering from a mental illness it is important to remember that there are lots of places you can go to where you will be offered plenty of support. Fanshawe College has the facilities to help you through this so you do not have to be alone. To learn more about what’s available to you through Counselling and Accessibility Services, go to