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Happy State of Mind: conquering environmental stress

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New surroundings, new places of residence, and new jobs can all be huge triggers for someone who is depressed.

The first time I went off to college in a new city, it took a toll on my self-esteem and ability to perform at my best. The same can be said about my first job, my first internship and my first long-term relationship. Anything that required change was difficult for me. The biggest thing to remember when in a new environment, traveling, and enduring an unexpected situation is to breathe, acknowledge the best things about yourself and know that you’re not alone, even when it can feel like you are.


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I stumbled upon a few websites that have recently helped me deal with new situations. gives a good definition of environmental depression:

“Environmental causes of depression are concerned with factors that are outside of ourselves. They are not directly related to brain function, inherited traits from parents, medical illnesses, or anything else that may take place within us. Instead, environmental events are those things that happen in the course of our everyday lives. These may include situations such as prolonged stress at home or work, coping with the loss of a loved one, or traumatic events. Sometimes researchers refer to these as sociological or psychosocial factors since they bring together events that happen out in society with the inner workings of a person’s mind.”

It has only been a month since I started living alone for the first time and it was probably the hardest thing I have dealt with while in college. I was used to having a roommate and began to lose sleep when she moved out. I was anxious and felt very absent-minded. Everything about me was changing so I instantly got back into counseling after taking a few months’ break. The thing I began to realize was that these feelings were normal for someone in my situation because things were changing and against my control.

I had to remember three things:

  1. The things that made me happy (and to do those things as much as I could).
  2. That the situation was not a punishment or someone trying to hurt me, but just natural changes in life.
  3. That my support system was only a phone call away and its actual presence was not required to make me feel better.

. also says that “it has long been understood that experiences we have in our lives can affect our state of mind. The relationships we have with others, how we are brought up, losses we have, and crises we encounter all may affect our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. How we react to these environmental events may influence the development of clinical depression.” They could not be

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more right.

. is a website run by a young Christian woman who shares wonderful uplifting stories and photos every day. The articles and photos contain quotes and messages that apply to any situation and really made for a great escape when I needed a reminder that I was not alone in how I was feeling.

Having confidence in anything and everything you do can make every situation easier, regardless of if you’re dealing with depression. Remembering what makes you happy is so important because in times like this, your health and happiness come first. Changes in life can cause a lot of stress for anyone, so take it one day at a time and remember to breathe.

Breanna Keller left home at age 18 to attend Hope International University in Fullerton, CA, leaving behind a small town to join the large college campus where she currently resides. Over the past four years of her life as a college student, Breanna has struggled with depression and suicide. She has loved and lost, and learned lessons that have been permanently imprinted on her heart. She has much to share about her journey of self-discovery, healing, and how the smallest moments in life are the ones that prove to be the most fulfilling and shape you into the person you will always be.

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