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.
Wellness begins by knowing your daily stressors. Whether 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.
- 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.
Rarely is anything so bad that it couldn’t be worse – and it helps to remember that. After all, you could have lost a hundred dollars instead of 10, or waited in the doctor’s office for an hour instead of 20 minutes. Research has shown that those who take time to appreciate what’s going well in their lives, by expressing gratitude, report greater levels of happiness, increased optimism, improved health, and greater satisfaction with life.
Suggestions for expressing gratitude include:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, track three things that you enjoyed, that went well, or that were positive. Focus on simple things: maybe your bed is very comfortable, your professor let your class go ten minutes early, a friend texted something nice to you, etc. Notice when these kinds of things make you feel happy and really feel grateful for them.
- Take the time to hand-write a thank-you note or send a postcard to a person you are thankful for.
- Create a “thankfulness jar”. Keep pieces of paper next to the jar and whenever you are grateful for something write it down and place the piece of paper in the jar. Invite your friends and family to join you in this activity.
Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of expressing gratitude.
“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.
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.
Wellness stations have been placed along several interlocking trails on campus. It is a self-paced activity that emphasizes emotional wellness as an element of overall health. When physical activities are offered in outdoor environments they can facilitate physical and emotional relaxation as well as provide benefit to one’s mood and thoughts.
Through the placement of eight stations, the Wellness Walk provides the campus community an activity to strengthen the health of individuals by improving emotional wellness and providing a permanent, structured way to engage in these practices on a regular basis.
The walk is approximately one mile, and it takes about 40 minutes to complete. Take a journey in self-care.