Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus.) We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Do you ever feel that you don’t have a lot of things in your life to love? Or maybe you feel that you don’t have a lot of love in you at the moment? Perhaps you just want to feel present in your life but you feel that you have too many thoughts crowding your head. The truth is, everyone on the planet has felt these things and remember you are never alone. So if you feel that you want to refocus your thoughts and attention to the beautiful yet simple things in life, I invite you to try these following steps to emphasize the love and presence in your life. 

1) Stop and smell the flowers

Take some time to acknowledge the beauty around you. Look at the beautiful parts of your surroundings. Ground yourself and refocus your attention back to the present. There is so much love in the world and it can be found in the simplest of things. So take some time to really notice the love and beauty all around you. If you’re near nature, I encourage you to take some time to focus on the energy of the plants. Stop and smell the flowers. Analyze their beauty. Take some time to think: What does this flower remind me of? What is my favorite part about this flower? What small details do I love about it? What can I learn from stopping and taking my time to truly look and wonder at this beautiful sight?

2) Gaze at the stars

If you’re ever in a place when you feel the need to refocus yourself and feel peace and harmony, if you have the opportunity, go outside and marvel at the stars. Analyze the distance from one star to the next. Invent your very own constellation. Wonder at the fact that we are all being held in perfect harmony in this vast universe. Gaze at the beauty of the stars and how they twinkle. Be awed at the fact that our family, our ancestors, our friends past and present, have all looked upon these same stars. Admire the fact that you are a part of something truly special and wonderful. You are a part of this beautiful and vast universe.

3) Be creative  

Being creative comes naturally to us. Even if you believe you aren’t creative, trust me you are. There are so many ways to express your creativity, each a good way to refocus yourself. For example, taking some time to draw, paint or perhaps sketch. Focus on something fun like listening to music or singing or dancing. Perhaps your creative outlet is cooking or baking. Or maybe you’re like me and find that you are most creative and expressive while writing and journaling. Whatever it may be take some time to do what makes you feel most creative.

Being creative allows us time to get in touch with our childlike selves – who we are without any pretenses or expectations. but rather true and authentic versions of ourselves and the dreams we wish to accomplish. Refocusing back to who you are shows you just how wonderful and unique you truly are.

4) Listen to your favorite music

“Music is the key to the soul” and it truly is. Have you ever heard a song on the radio or perhaps from your phone that has a history in your life? Perhaps it was a happy song that reminded you of an amazing time you had. Or maybe it was a song that reminded you of something sad. Each of these is an example of how music comes in contact with our soul, our feelings, and our heart. So if this is true, wouldn’t it be possible to amplify feelings of love through music? Yes, that is very true.

I invite you to take some time to recenter yourself by listening to your favorite music or maybe a relaxing playlist. Or perhaps a playlist that reminds you of a time when you felt joy or love. Feel and analyze the sensation you receive when you listen to this music. Picture it bringing love into your heart in that moment, amplifying your feelings of love for yourself, for those around you, for the music and for the world. Feel the music raising your vibration of love on this planet. 

5) Do what inspires you

For a lot of people, including myself, we feel most centered and at ease when we are doing what we love. Everyone loves different things, so whether it’s a sport, reading, traveling, or perhaps history, your thing or hobby that you enjoy can bring that wonder and love in your life in such a simple way. When we do what we love things flow naturally. We become in sync with our life purpose and things seem to work out great. So whenever you have the chance to do what you love, go for it! This is probably the most important and relevant step to embracing the wonder in your life right now. So I invite you to go and do what you love in every step of your life.

If we truly take some time to see it, love is all around us. There are so many ways to feel that love in your life and after all, it truly is what everyone in the world desires. Love is what motivates everyone in the world. Whether it’s love for a friend, love for your dog, love for coffee, your clothes, food, whatever it is we are all motivated by love. And that is a wonderful thing indeed. I hope these simple yet effective steps help you find even more love and wonder in your life. There are infinite things in the world to wonder at, so I encourage you to go and admire them.

Subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis