Dr. Loucks’s research and his new book, “The Mindful College Student,” illustrate how mindfulness can decrease stress and symptoms of depression, and improve sleep quality and physical activity levels. “Romanticizing your life” intersects with mindfulness, he added, in part by helping us become more in tune with ourselves.

“If we’re trying to build a life that makes us happy, and put ourselves in the center of it in a kind way, well, each of us are different,” he said. “Which methods resonate most? That’s self-awareness.”

Intertwined in the online conversation about “romanticizing your life” is the “main character” trend — videos with the hashtag have generated 6.9 billion views on TikTok, followed by its sibling, “main character energy.”

The main character meme spawned numerous parodies poking fun at movie clichés and narcissism. It’s “a fun way to bring to light some of the cringey things people romanticize,” Ms. Ward said. But “being the main character” has also become a sincere reminder to let your actions drive the narrative, much like a film’s protagonist would.

In Ms. Ward’s TikTok video, the camera is positioned high above, peering down at the beach where she reclines on a towel. The overhead shot conveys that she is the main character, and the simplicity of the imagery allows her earnest voice-over to take center stage.

“You have to start romanticizing your life,” the narration begins. “You have to start thinking of yourself as the main character. Because if you don’t, life will continue to pass you by. And all the little things that make it so beautiful will continue to go unnoticed. So take a second, and look around, and realize that it’s a blessing for you to be here right now.”

Her audio track has since been used by numerous other content creators, like Angela Liguori, a travel influencer and photographer, who paired the sound with a montage of the far-off locations she visits.

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