This is a picture I took on a trip to Red Rock Nevada, a week in this beautiful landscape and my mind felt so relieved. On one of the days we went to Las Vegas instead, and let me tell you, I could feel the anxiety engulf me there.

Sometimes it’s hard to quantify the reasons behind our happiness, but on some days, you just feel like the happiness is not there. I have begun recording for myself the reasons why, on certain days, I feel exceptionally happy, and I would like to share this information with you.

When I feel close to Nature

I have begun to notice that certain activities make me feel extremely happy. I have a dog, so I tend to spend a fair amount of time outside, but it’s only when I’m in a lush green environment that I notice how being outside affects my mental health. Particularly when I am out hiking or rock-climbing, I see a difference. Something about being away from civilization and the hustle and bustle of city life brings me inner peace. I’m not necessarily escaping humanity since I usually go hiking and rock-climbing with friends, but I’m escaping the anxiety associated with a busy city.

If you are looking for someone to go with, you could always join the UVic outdoors club. They go on trips together often and it’s a good way to get to know Victoria if you’re new to the city!

On days when it’s hard to wake up early, it’s nice to make plans with friends. They make you accountable and keep you to a schedule -even on your days off.

When I am making art

I am creative person, and honestly, I think everyone is. I love to create and I feel the most fulfilled when I make time to create. I write and I make illustrations. Sometimes my classes force me to create something new, but when they don’t, I often feel like something is missing. There’s something existentially human about creating – we have this capacity to be inventive that, perhaps, our animal relatives do not have. We are meant to exercise that muscle in our minds.

Just an example of something I’ve created.

When I sleep well but don’t over-sleep

I am not the type of person that lacks sleep…ever. In fact, I am the opposite – I often sleep way too much. On days that I have slept more than 9 hours, I can really feel the weight of it. Too much sleep feels like I am wearing a really heavy, restrictive jacket. So, I force myself to get up. I set ten alarms and tell myself I have a meeting to go to in the morning. For the most part, this works! I also use a wake-up light alarm, which slowly makes your room bright to help get you out of bed.

When I pray and meditate

This one is the hardest for me to follow. It doesn’t take much time, just 15 minutes a day! Yet, I still often forget to do it. Despite this, I think it’s the most powerful one. I once did a one-month prayer challenge and set a goal to pray and meditate for thirty minutes every day, just to see the effects on my life. It had a substantial impact on my mental health. I stopped feeling the ups and downs, and instead, I noticed a stress relieving effect. I really felt whole during that time, and I’d recommend everyone who is interested should give it a try. If you’re new to prayer, there are a ton of clubs that can help guide you through it. Some groups include the Multifaith club, the Muslim club, the association for Baha’i studies, the Catholic club, and more. Make sure to check out Clubs and Course Union days to find out what’s going on, it’s usually held in the SUB at the beginning of each semester. Our campus is always adding new clubs to its repertoire!

Sometimes I combine this list, particularly when it comes to meditation. Heading to a beautiful beach in the morning to meditate is a great way to be in nature, pray, and wake up early.

All the best,

Tina Janami Borsa