Wellness

Wellness is the experience of having good physical health, stable emotional and mental health, social connectedness, spiritual connectedness, and academic and professional stability. 

When you feel content, purpose-driven, part of a community, peaceful, energized, resilient, and safe, then you are feeling a state of wellness.

University Counseling Services developed this page as a way to offer resources for students to create wellness. Although these resources can be a helpful addition to reduce stress, we do not necessarily recommend self-help as a sole course of treatment for mental health concerns. If you feel as though a problem you are experiencing is beyond your control at this time, talking through your problems or concerns with a counselor may help deepen your understanding of what is happening and help you develop alternative ways of dealing with the situation.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is the use of non-invasive sensors to measure psycho-physiological processes, such as breathing and heart rate, to provide immediate feedback to an individual. University Counseling Services offers students biofeedback training through use of Heart Math’s emWave software.

Students could notice reduction of stress-related symptoms including increased self-regulation skills; improved sleep, exercise, diet, and daily activities; modulation of physiological functions such as heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension; and modulation of emotional states such as anger, fear, and depression.

If you are interested in trying these services, schedule an appointment with University Counseling Services by calling 608.342.1891.

Daily Living

Wellness begins by knowing your daily stressorsWhether your stressors include long assignments, managing a job and family responsibilities, or taking care of others, a student’s day usually requires a large amount of energy. This type of schedule can quickly lead to worry and feeling overwhelmed.  Stress is a normal part of college students’ lives, and it is a common reason for students to seek counseling.

Take a few minutes to assess how you are taking care of yourself. Are you aware of the physical sensations, feelings, emotional discomfort, and tension in your body? Do you give your body the chance to move and release tension? Do you pay attention to food and what you put into the body? If you feel your daily stress level is overwhelming, taking a few minutes to care for yourself can improve how you feel.

Ideas include:

  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Aiming for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Taking a 10-30 minute walk daily.
  • Spending time in activities that connect you to positive people.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables, and less manufactured or highly processed foods.
  • Sitting in silence for at least five (5) minutes a day.

Gratitude

Wellness begins by knowing your daily stressorsWhether your stressors include long assignments, managing a job and family responsibilities, or taking care of others, a student’s day usually requires a large amount of energy. This type of schedule can quickly lead to worry and feeling overwhelmed.  Stress is a normal part of college students’ lives, and it is a common reason for students to seek counseling.

Take a few minutes to assess how you are taking care of yourself. Are you aware of the physical sensations, feelings, emotional discomfort, and tension in your body? Do you give your body the chance to move and release tension? Do you pay attention to food and what you put into the body? If you feel your daily stress level is overwhelming, taking a few minutes to care for yourself can improve how you feel.

Ideas include:

  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Aiming for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
  • Taking a 10-30 minute walk daily.
  • Spending time in activities that connect you to positive people.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables, and less manufactured or highly processed foods.
  • Sitting in silence for at least five (5) minutes a day.

Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of expressing gratitude.

Meditation

“Meditation is simplicity itself. It’s about stopping and being present. That is all.” said Jon Kabat-Zinn. Meditation is a mind-body awareness practice. An analogy can be made with a radio dial. The static represents the countless daily thoughts and sensations that preoccupy us. Meditation is the tool that fine-tunes the dial (the mind) so we can experience balance and harmony in the midst of the many changes happening around us.

Forms of Meditation

  • Filling the mind. Direct attention toward a word, sound, image, prayer, object, or the breath. During this time, you are trying to remain present rather than letting your thoughts drive to the past or the future. To remain present, it may be helpful to focus on the senses and answer the following questions: “I hear____, I see___, I feel ___, I smell___, I taste___.”
  • Emptying the mind. Focus on nothing. If your mind wanders, notice the thought and then let it go. Allow thoughts to come and go freely and focus your attention over and over again on emptiness.
  • Meditation while sitting (zazan)
  • Movement meditation. Since some people find it difficult to sit still for a prolonged period of time, activities such as yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi, and walking meditation are other ways to move the body while meditating.

Mindfulness

Wellness is cultivated through a practice referred to as mindfulness. Mindfulness is often described as “paying attention to the present moment without judgments.”  Our most stressful thoughts revolve around worries about the past or the future. The difficulty with this is you have no ability to change the past or future; you can only act in the present moment.

Things that are important in mindfulness include:

  • Observing the present situation using all of your senses. Choose to focus your attention in the present moment, including the sights, tastes, smells, textures, and sounds around you.
  • Participating fully in your current activity without getting pulled back into worrying. Notice where your mind goes, then pull it back to what you are doing at the moment. 
  • As you notice your internal experiences, make sure you are not judging them as positive or negative. Even though you have a thought, it does not mean that it is necessarily true.

Don't be discouraged if your attempts at mindfulness aren't perfect right away. Making real changes to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors takes time and doesn’t happen only when you are responding to problems. In order to cultivate a sense of wellness, one must begin a more consistent practice.

Zen Zone

The Zen Zone is located on the second floor of Royce Hall and is available for students, faculty, and staff who want to develop and maintain calm and focused minds. Drop in, stay as long as you need, and enjoy a safe, relaxing, and comforting environment. The Zen Zone is available from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday and Friday, and 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Tuesday –Thursday.

Filled with comfortable furniture, a water fountain, aromatherapy, coloring books, prayer rugs, and pictures of nature scenes, the Zen Zone will soothe all of your senses. The Zen Zone currently contains information and guided exercises for wellness, emotion regulation, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation imagery and sounds, muscle relaxation, and biofeedback.

Guidelines for Using the Zen Zone

We want your experience in the relaxation room to be the best possible. Please note the following when planning to visit. These guidelines are to encourage privacy, safety, and a positive experience for all:

  • No outside food or drinks.
  • One person at a time.
  • Flip the sign to "in use" as you enter.
  • Use headphones or keep music at a level only you can hear.
  • If you choose to nap, or feel that you may fall asleep, set a quiet alarm.