Eating Disorders Awareness Week hits CSU

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Feb 282013
 

Author: Kelsey Peterson

[youtube]http://youtu.be/35EEOvqBjgQ[/youtube]

This week, Feb. 24 to Mar. 2, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and eating disorders are more prevalent on college campuses than many people realize. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 60 to 90 percent of women on college campuses are dieting to try to lose weight and 10 to 18 percent of men struggle with compulsive exercising, abusing supplements or steroids, and undergoing cosmetic surgery. Many college students like Kalista Consol struggle with helping friends with eating disorders as well as struggle with the disorder themselves. There are many resources at CSU to help students fight the mental ailment and the CSU Health Network offers both counseling and help from nutritionists. Their counseling services can be reached at (970) 491-6053. With media influences in every direction telling women and men how they should look, it is important to be aware of the prevalence of eating disorders, which is what this week is all about. According to The Body Project, most female models are thinner than 98 percent of American women.

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Student Abroad: A Positive Outlook

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Nov 152012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

As I look outside my window at the beautiful, clear, blue sky a smile begins to form on my lips.  Despite the stress of this past week studying for exams worth half of my grade, I feel relatively at peace.  Generally speaking, I feel like I’ve managed to keep a level head throughout this month of examinations, knowing that all I can do is my best.  That isn’t to say there haven’t been moments of panic these past weeks at the thought of not passing one of my classes here.  All exaggerating aside, there is a realistic chance of this happening.  The thought of this possible failure has overwhelmed me from time to time these past couple of weeks but I think I’ve slowly come to the realization that no matter what happens and what grade I get, I know that I did my best.  And I also know that if I do fail, then it is simply life’s way of giving me an opportunity to learn and grow from.  These thoughts seem to ease a lot of my fears, especially around this fear of failing and I know that fear itself is such a fleeting emotion.  It comes and it goes, in cyclical, almost predictive patterns and I know that if I act fast I can prevent it from taking over altogether.

So that’s what I have tried to do throughout this period of high stress; I’ve been working on noticing and acknowledging the fear and anxiety, detaching myself from it and observing it from an outsider’s perspective and then finally letting go of it.  This fear is not who I am.  It is merely a symptom of the ego.  By detaching myself from this fear, I’ve begun to realize that I am so much more than my thoughts, so much more than my emotions.  I know I struggle to not get wrapped up in this negative thought pattern and I know that it is simply a result of habit, a maladaptive pattern of conditioning.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed changes in my mood that will happen literally from one second to the next.  One moment I felt stressed and anxious about an exam and the next moment I felt calm and relatively at peace.  You would think this shifting of emotions, literally in the blink of an eye, would make me feel like I’m going crazy or losing my grip on things.  And sure maybe my ego was losing its grip on things in feeling like it didn’t have any control in how well I did.  But the truth is this is not the real me that felt like it was falling apart.  It was simply my ego feeling like it was on the brink of losing its grip on things and losing control.  My mom sent me a quote by Yogi Amrit Desai that has been stuck in my mind ever since:

“When you feel like you are falling apart, it is not you who is falling apart; it is who you are not.  The real you can never fall apart.”

This quote really struck a cord within me and has made me come to many realizations.  We are not our emotions nor are we are thoughts, or even our personality.  We are all so much more than that.  We are souls, full of love and life.  This is the part of us that remains constant, ever-stable and resistant to external influences.  I think I’m finally opening my eyes and heart to the truth in that I am so much more than this façade, I am so much more than my personality, than my body, than the thoughts and emotions that go along with these.  The real me is not influenced by how thin I am, how pretty I am or even how well I do in school.  When I feel like these are the things that define me I know that is when I have lost the connection with this inner, whole and all-loving part of me.

Although I am just beginning to learn that what truly matters in life is the love you have for yourself and the love you give to others, it does not change the fact that I am still human.  I still have these human characteristics (thoughts, emotions, bodily ties) that do have a say in how I carry myself.  Even though I know the real me is so much more than the thoughts I have or the emotions I feel, I know that this realization does not do away with these instinctual primal instincts.

I know that these negative thoughts and emotions are fleeting and truly do come and go and this realization has led me to believe that I truly do have power over what I think and feel.  I can consciously choose to feel stressed or think negative thoughts or I can consciously choose to shift my focus to the positive things in life.  This conscious choosing really does impact on how quickly your mood and mindset can change.  Even today, after getting out of my last exam, feeling a bit discouraged, I simply decided to shift my focus on the positive: the beautiful blue sky, the warm sunshine on my face, and the fact that I will get to spend the next couple of days with the friends I’ve made here in New Zealand.

As my time here in New Zealand is quickly coming to a close, all sorts of thoughts and emotions come up: mainly sadness of leaving and the regret of things I didn’t do or changes I didn’t make within myself.  Despite these negative feelings, I choose to shift my focus on these last couple of days and to truly enjoy my time with the friends I’ve made.  As I shift my perspective from dwelling on the negative to basking in all the wonder and beauty surrounding me, I find myself content and at peace with where I am.  I am thoroughly grateful and appreciative of this opportunity that I’ve had to come abroad and to have all of these wonderful experiences.

I also know that my outlook on this experience and in life in general is greatly determined by my conscious choosing.  I can choose to dwell on the regrets, the mistakes, the negatives or I can choose to focus on all the good that is around me each and every moment.  Being in New Zealand has made me realize that each and every moment is a new moment, a chance to consciously choose happiness and love over doubt, fear and second-guessing.  My gaze shifts back to my now open bedroom window and as I look up at the beautiful blue sky and bask in the sunshine pouring down on me, I smile and relish in the beauty and simplicity of what I have in this moment.

 

Too School for Cool: Stress relief 101

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Sep 072012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

stress

stress (Photo credit: bottled_void)

As a college student, I deal with stress on an every-day basis.  People tell me to do things like meditate or exercise deep breathing to de-stress. While those practices are fine and dandy and may work for some people, I find those activities extremely dull.

There are more exciting ways to relieve stress that, in my opinion, work a lot better and require less time to implement. I would think that any college student would want their stress relief activities to be as efficient as possible so they have more time for studying, which is why I’ve created this list to help you all.  Here’s a little insight on how I de-stress.

Lazy river study trip

Preparing for a major exam can require extraneous amounts of study time, leaving little time for relaxation. One of the best ways I’ve found to de-stress in this situation is to relax while studying. How do I do this you might ask? Laminate your most important notes and study them while floating down the lazy river at the student recreation center. You can get your notes laminated at Kinko’s or buy a huge pack of laminating sheets at an office supply store for around 10 dollars. Slap them on and you’re ready to go.

Releasing endorphins

It may sound too easy to be true, but laughing has actually been proven to make you happier and less stressed. Let me drop a knowledge bomb on you. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins. This is a chemical in your brain that makes you feel good about life. And as they say, laughter is contagious, so get together with a big group of friends for an epic laughing session to de-stress.

Smashing plates

The tradition in Greek culture of smashing plates was originally for celebration, but I’ve found that doing it when I’m stressed can be helpful.  At the Taverna Greek Grill, it is common for the owners to pick people who are dining to smash a plate against the wall.  The rush you get from hurdling a plate at a wall, knowing you aren’t going to get in trouble or have to clean up the mess, is a great feeling.  When you do this in your home, you will have to clean up the mess and you probably shouldn’t break any of your roommates’ plates.  The rush is still the same though and has a similar effect of stress relief as screaming into a pillow.  This is just a less psycho way of de-stressing that won’t leave the neighbors wondering if they should call the police.

Reality Television

If you feel you need an hour break from studying, move to the couch for some dramatic reality television. If you can, try to pick a show where the characters are constantly dealing with awful situations.  Some that have proven effective for me are ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘Pretty Little Liars’.  By the time you finish watching, you will be so taken aback by how awful the characters’ lives are that your problems and stress will seem petty. Very few people are worse off than the girls who got pregnant at sixteen or the girls who are trying to solve the murder of their best friend. Compared to that, most people’s lives are a cakewalk.

Zen hobby

It helps to have a hobby that makes you feel relaxed. Many people already have one, but don’t take the time to do it. Mine is photography, so using that as an example, it helps to set aside some time in your schedule to go wander outside by yourself taking photos. Just soak in the world around you and have a moment free of worry and stress. This helps you realize there are bigger things happening in the world than whether you get an A or a B on that finance test.