Would it be better to be running as a standard user.?
Yes. In the User Settings you have an Account Type option and to the right the word change. Click on it to change to Custom or Desktop User. This is on Mint 17 Mate but I would expect it to be the same on other versions though I'm not sure. You should need to use your primary user password to engage in administrative activities. Best not to have auto-login but that option is also available.