Health

Sunshine Equals Happiness: How to Brighten Your Mood on Gloomy Days

One of the hardest parts of adjusting to Boston was getting used to the gloomy days. In Texas, I was so used to having constant sunshine. I didn’t realize how much the sun affects my mood until I experienced many days without sun. There is a direct correlation between sunshine and happiness. Sunlight increases serotonin levels, which makes you happier. This feeling could also be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms include constantly feeling depressed, having low energy, changes in appetite and/or weight, have difficulty concentrating, and low interest in the things you usually do.  This is why during the dark winters, our moods may not be as great. After being exposed to constant sunlight in Texas, the lack of sun really has affected my overall mood and day to day life. I couldn’t exactly figure out why  I felt this way so I have experimented different methods to make me feel happier. I have researched ways to get more Vitamin D, and I have found a few tips to brighten your mood on gloomy days.

Take vitamin D supplements & Eat foods with vitamin D-  After having my mom constantly telling me to take my vitamins, I recently just started taking vitamin D supplements and I can already see a difference in my mood. I have more energy (without having caffeine) and I am in an overall better mood.  All you have to do is take one to two supplements with food. They are so easy to find too. I personally bought mine on Amazon, but they are also available at drug stores or even some grocery stores. Here are just a few foods that are rich in vitamin D: fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), orange juice, soy milk, almond milk, yogurt, oatmeal, cheese, and egg yolks.

Buy a Happy Light- I still really, really want a Happy Light. I actually heard about this Happy Light from one of my fellow sun lovers from California. The Happy Light is made to mimic sunlight and enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus. They start around $40. Personally, I think this is a great investment. Especially considering the weather in Boston. I am definitely going to be purchasing one for next year. For a basic light, you can buy it on Amazon, but for the more high end Happy Lights there are more specialized websites.

Take a walk- Even though the sun may not be out, a quick little walk can boost your mood. Being cooped up indoors all day is not beneficial to your mood. A little exercise is guaranteed to make your body happier. I love going on walks through the Boston Gardens and then I make my way to the Charles River. If I’m in a really good mood, then I go to Newbury. 

Embrace the sun when it does come out- On the days that there is sun, take full advantage of it. Go for a run. Sit and do your homework outside at a cafe. Stroll the commons. Whatever you want to do, just make sure it is outdoors in the sun. I also am a huge believer in skipping class when the weather is nice. Of course, I have only done this one or two times. I am still a good student. But on the days when it is pretty out, just a few minutes outside can make a huge difference to your day. 

I hope these few tips help you boost your mood. I know that I rely heavily on these during the winter and I take full advantage of any sunlight now. Although we can’t change the weather, there are so many steps we can take to boost our mood!

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City

From The Suburbs To The City

Walking out my front door to see a view of a Cul De Sac with suburban houses immediately makes me miss the city. I hear over and over again that “Austin IS a city.” Yes it is, but can I walk from my house to a Forever 21 in 10 minutes? Nope.

Moving from Austin to Boston was quite the adjustment for me. Not only is there a huge change of scenery, there is a huge chance of pace. In the city everything fast paced and high energy. I will literally plan my day by the hour in Boston. I didn’t always use to be this way. Before I moved here I didn’t even own a planner. Being immersed in this new culture has made me a much more productive person.

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City

Grocery Stores in Boston: Ranked

Grocery shopping is one of the worst activities in the world, and I am incredibly bad at it. I always put it off until the last possible minute, until my food stores are down to four baby carrots and a handful of animal crackers. I always end up shopping when I’m hungry, which is a baseline no-no. And I always get unbelievably bored while I’m doing it, ending up tossing things in my basket to speed up the process until my receipt looks like someone set an eleven-year-old loose in the cookie aisle.

In my endeavors to make this errand more tolerable, I have come up with a rubric for grocery store perfection. Here are six grocery stores in the Boston area, judged for price, location, snack selection, and overall vibe – on a scale where one is bad and five is utopian.

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Art

What Does “The Voice” Mean to Me?

Mondays usually are a drag, but the one thing that always kept me going was knowing that The Voice came on at 8 p.m. For me, I always found comfort in watching talented people go on stage and compete against each other using only their voices. It was and still is something that I will never be able to do. I would like to say I’ve been a fan since the very beginning when the first season premiered, but that’s not the case. I believe I really started to get into it during season 4 when country artist Danielle Bradbery took home the winning title. Ever since then, I followed the show, patiently waiting and curiously watching to see which artists will rise to the occasion and be crowned The Voice.

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Campus, City

The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving the Train in Boston

The Boston Train system, known fondly as “the T” to us locals, has become my second home.

I take the train back home every Friday to good ol’ Lynn, Massachusetts. You can find me squished between the gentleman in the wrinkled business suit and the old woman knitting a scarf. I hop on the Green Line at the Boylston station, take a train to Government Center, then connect over to the Blue Line. From there, I sit tight all the way to the last stop: Wonderland.

I’d like to consider myself a professional T rider at this point. While I’m most accustomed to the Green and Blue Lines, I’ve also traveled on every single other line at some time or another. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable taking the T—I’ve only had one panic attack in a T station this whole year, and that was because I’m weak and couldn’t lift my suitcase on to the train (I decided I needed to bring home several pairs of shoes that week).

Being the aficionado I am, I decided to come up with a list of the five best tips I have for taking the train in Boston. Listen up, rookies:

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Opinion

Balancing Being a Kid and an Adult

At the age of 19, I find myself in an odd place between being a kid and an adult. I don’t want to have to rely on my parents but at the same time, there is no way I could be financially stable on my own. Do I act like a kid or an adult? That is a question I ask myself a lot as I continue to tread through college.

My mom always tells me I need to stop working as much and I need to enjoy being a college student. Ok, I guess I can agree with her that I may work a little too much but at the same time I don’t do it because I have to. I work because I genuinely love what I do. I will admit that work can become a coping mechanism for me and way to distract myself, but as I’m growing up I’ve had to learn how to distinguish if I’m running away from my problems or if I am just immersed in my work. When I find myself overworking, I try to take a few steps back and do things that bring me back to my childish nature. I will color in coloring books, go window shopping (yes, I loved shopping as a kid too), or basically anything that doesn’t make me feel like I have to be an adult. 

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Health

Mooooooving On from Beef and Dairy

Animal agriculture is responsible for eighteen percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Cattle is responsible for roughly fifty percent of those emissions. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). For years, people have turned a blind eye towards the environmental and health problems surrounding the beef and dairy industry. It was not until recently had I gave this issue the attention it deserved and vowed off beef and day by day started to limit my dairy intake. This was no easy feat, and it certainly challenges the way of the American culture and how we live our lives. Whenever I bring up topics that have to do with cutting out beef and dairy from my diet, I am met with scoffs and avoidance, which is understandable because these foods are ingrained in American culture. Every Fourth of July my parents grill up fat juicy burgers, like the majority of America. My friends and I had a tradition of going to the local diner and ordering up tall chocolate milkshakes completed by a mountain of whipped cream and an artificially dyed cherry that rested on the top.

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City

The Life of a Bartender

Margaritas, martinis, mojitos; they sound similar, but they are completely different. Some need to be shaken, some need to be stirred, some need to be muddled, but they all need to be garnished. I am not an expert on alcohol. Even now, after being a bartender at The Shaking Crab restaurant for almost two months, I still have to ask my manager questions about how to make things, especially customer requests that are “off menu”. For instance, one day someone asked me for a cosmopolitan. While it is a common drink and I have heard of several times already, I had no idea what exactly went into it. I proceeded to google the recipe and give it my best shot. I never got any complaints, so I guess I did it right.

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Art

The Roommate Movie Watch List

IMG_4229.jpgMy roommates and I are very different. We’re from different parts of the country; we have different majors; we’re different ages; we probably have different favorite colors and stuff. I’ll do a mini survey on that last one and get back to you.

The main things the three of us have in common are that we like movies, and we like each other. These may be so basic that they sound like what a sixth grader in beginner’s French would say in an oral exam: My name is Jacques. I like to watch movies and be with my friends. But still – they get the job done.

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Opinion

Tips for Managing Anxiety As a College Student

Coming into college, I experienced some of the worst anxiety of my entire life. The tiniest of problems set me off, sending me spiraling into a fray of worry. I start to sweat, and my heart begins to beat so fast that I feel like I’m running a marathon. Even as the semester comes to an end, I still worry about minor things like whether or not I’ll get to class on time, if I’ll have enough time to do all of my work, and if the library printer is going to have paper (which is a valid worry here at Emerson to be honest).

Some days are worse than others. At times, I’ll spend an entire day almost anxiety free. These are usually the days when I feel most in control of my life, when everything goes exactly to plan. However, there are those days when almost everything falls apart, and I spend every waking hour panicking, a slave to my brain’s irrational worries.

For chaotic days like these, I’ve come up with three foolproof “hacks” that help me manage my life, and thus my anxiety. Please note that these tips won’t work for everyone, and that if you’re dealing with a serious form of anxiety, consult with a medical professional or therapist. However, if you’re looking for some simple ways to try and reduce moderate anxiety throughout your day, keep reading!

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