Thursday, December 11, 2008

Your Body Talks to You

Stress Tip

Get clues from your physical body as to how you are doing emotionally - unusual body aches that don’t go away – if you pay attention early on, you can usually connect some thoughts that are causing them and take the steps necessary to remedy the situation.

The Body/Mind Connection

Back in the day, people thought of their body and mind as very separate entities. We are now much more aware of the intricate connections. Our body deals with stress through both conscious and unconscious pathways which we are not always aware of. A thought in our mind leads to a reaction from our nervous system.

You might get a message from our body that you are feeling very fearful about a presentation to the class. You might get the “butterfly” feeling in your gut, feel sweaty, even nauseous. You can tell yourself, “I’m fine, I’m well prepared, there is no reason to be nervous.” This is a good way to talk back to your body to soothe it with thoughts that can challenge your brain's belief that it is in danger. Your body is, however, a more truthful indicator than your mind. If symptoms persist despite your rational thoughts, it is important to use a variety of techniques to soothe your body. That is why it is important to train yourself to be aware of the signals from your body.

Denying that stress is there does not make it go away. Stress tends to build and accumulate. If we don’t use some skills to decrease our stress level, we head into the next stressful situation with some leftover stress from the previous situation. Taking time during your day to take a few simple deep breaths, to slow down, stretch and pay attention are all good strategies for keeping stress at a good and manageable level. As you learn to pay attention, there is greater ability to discern between tension and relaxation and there are more options to do something about it.

Some very simple but powerful relaxation techniques include relaxation breathing and short visualizations. These are easy to learn, easy to impliment and easy to maintain as life time practices.

Very interesting research is being done in many scientific domains that show us how much our own thoughts and perceptions create our reality.

Thymus tapping to relieve stress

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mind Works

Destress Tip

This is one you can do while you are on the phone. Sit on the edge of a chair and straighten your left leg in front of you. Exhale and bend forward from your hips, keeping your back flat and chest lifted. Hold for 2 to 10 breaths. Do the same with your right leg.

The Workings of our Mind

This week I have copied some helpful information about how our minds work. This comes from an interview: A ROMP THROUGH THE QUANTUM FIELD with Gregg Braden and Dr. Bruce Lipton by Meryl Ann Butler. (See Link:

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton: “Our color-coded terror alert system has also been responsible for another serious consequence. In a state of fear, stress hormones change the flow of blood in the brain. Under normal, healthy situations, blood flow in the brain is preferentially focused in the forebrain, the site of conscious control. However, in stress, the forebrain blood vessels constrict, forcing the blood to the hindbrain, the center of subconscious reflex control. Simply, in fear mode we become more reactive and less intelligent.”

Meryl Ann Butler: In your workshop, you talked about how we receive stress information. Would you elaborate on that?

Bruce Lipton: Sure. The principle source of stress signals is the system’s central voice, the mind. The mind is like the driver of a vehicle.
If we employ good driving skills in managing our behaviors and dealing with our emotions, then we should anticipate a long, happy and productive life. In contrast, ineffective behaviors and dysfunctional emotional management, like a bad driver, stress the cellular vehicle, interfering with its performance and provoking a breakdown.
Stress information can come to the cell from the two separate minds that create the body’s controlling central voice.
The (self-) conscious mind is the thinking you; it is the creative mind that expresses free will. It’s the equivalent of a 40-bit processor in that it can handle the input from about 40 nerves per second. In contrast, the subconscious mind is a super computer loaded with a database of pre-programmed behaviors. It is a powerful 40-million-bit processor, interpreting and responding to over 40 million nerve impulses every second. Some programs are derived from genetics: these are our instincts. However, the vast majority of the subconscious programs are acquired through our developmental learning experiences. The subconscious mind is not a seat of reasoning nor creative consciousness, it is strictly a stimulus-response “play-back” device. When an environmental signal is perceived, the subconscious mind reflexively activates a previously-stored behavioral response — no thinking required!
The insidious part of the autopilot mechanism is that subconscious behaviors are programmed to engage without the control of, or the observation by, the conscious self. Neuroscientists have revealed that 95%-99% of our behavior is under the control of the subconscious mind. Consequently, we rarely observe these behaviors or much less know that they are even engaged.
We have been led to believe that by using willpower, we can override the negative programs of our subconscious mind. Unfortunately, to do that, one must keep a constant vigil on one’s own behavior.
There is no observing entity in the subconscious mind reviewing the behavioral tapes. The subconscious is strictly a record-playback machine. Consequently, there is no discernment as to whether a subconscious behavioral program is good or bad, it is just a tape. The moment you lapse in consciousness, the subconscious mind will automatically engage and play its previously-recorded, experience-based programs.

To read more from Dr. Bruce Lipton:

From film “Waking Life” about Free Will

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Move Your Stress

Quick Tip

When you feel stressed, a flood of hormones races throughout your system. One very simple and rapid way to change this situation is taking 3-5 slow, deep breaths. This will rapidly reduce the levels in your bloodstream which are causing you to be unable to think clearly.

Physical fitness is the cornerstone of all wellness. Developing and maintaining an active lifestyle is critical to your greatest chance of success in all endeavours. No matter what your physical abilities; whether you have chronic pain or are in a wheelchair or hate the idea of going to a gym, finding your own personal path to being physically fit will affect all of the other realms of your life.

Exercise can actually increase your stress threshold. This means you can handle more stress when you maintain an active lifestyle.

Physical exercise is one of the most powerful “drugs” you can give yourself to keep your mind and body going strong.

Go for a walk, join a kick boxing class, dance at home. If you have specific barriers which make it difficult for you to walk or dance or do yoga, find ways to move whatever parts of your body you can move.

It is important to exercise for good health and well being, not just to lose weight.

You might want to try working out in the morning at the fitness centre before classes so you can feel energized for the day.

When you understand how important physical activity is to a strong, healthy mind, you will never again decide you don’t have time for exercise because you have too much studying to do!

One of Natalie’s four part series

Test Anxiety

Nov. National Addiction Awareness

Celebrate the joy of an addictions-free life and increase your awareness of the struggles of others who have an addiction.

Relaxation Tip

Place one hand on your belly. Breathe slowly and deeply. Feel your hand rise and fall. Let your shoulders drop and feel your body relax and renew. Relaxation has a cumulative effect. If you include a brief period of relaxation into your daily schedule, your body’s ability to relax will increase.

Test and assignment anxiety?

You are not alone. Most students feel some level of anxiety before presentations, tests and exams. It is only when the level of anxiety you experience actually affects your marks that it becomes a problem. Reach out for support early.


1.Your Student Success Mentors can help you with study skills and time management.

2.Peer tutoring is available for students.

3.Our Mind and Wellness Nurse teaches relaxation techniques every Tues and Thurs from 1-1:30 in the Student Success Hub

4.We have counselors you can talk with if your anxiety is overwhelming you.

You can book an appointment for any of these services through Jodie at the Student Success Hub.

If you are aware that you have a problem with test anxiety, let your teacher know in plenty of time (days) before any testing begins. There may be other options to evaluate your knowledge or performance within the subject matter. If you have a specific disability (learning disability, mental illness, etc) you can use a quiet test area if you arrange this with your instructors beforehand.

Test preparation to reduce anxiety:

•Approach the exam with confident attitude.
•Use whatever strategies you can to personalize success: visualization, logic, talking to yourself, practice, team work, journaling, etc.
•Be prepared! Learn your material thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test. Use a checklist if you need to.
•Choose a comfortable location for taking the test with good lighting and minimal distractions
•Allow yourself plenty of time, especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early
•Do not cram. The time before a test is better spent doing a relaxation exercise which will increase oxygen flow to your brain so it will function at its best
•Strive for a relaxed state of concentration
•Avoid speaking with any students who have not prepared and express anxiety – it really is contagious so surround yourself with the more confident, relaxed students
•A program of exercise will keep your mind sharp
•Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam
•Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach. Fresh fruits and vegetables reduce stress. Stressful foods can include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, eggs, fried foods, junk foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, chips and similar snack foods, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices
•Take a small snack, or some other nourishment to help take your mind off of your anxiety. Avoid high sugar content (candy) which may aggravate your condition

During the test:
•Read the directions carefully
•Change positions to help you relax
•If you go blank, take a relaxing breath, skip the question and go on
•If you're taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test, take a slow, deep breath, pick a question and start writing anything. You have just given your brain some fresh oxygen and just the act of starting to write may trigger your newly energized brain to feed you the information you need
•Don't panic when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for being the first done.
•Take slow, deep breaths throughout the test
•Don't think about the fear
•Pause: think about the next step and keep on task, step by step
•Use positive reinforcement for yourself: Acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best
•Expect some anxiety. The adrenaline can actually provide energy. Just keep it manageable

About test anxiety from a counselor at an American university –

Social Scene Stresses

Keep a tennis ball or stress ball handy in your back pack or at your study desk. Take off your shoes and rub your feet over the ball for a relaxing foot massage.

Making Friends

The “Social Scene” can be one of life’s great delights AND one of its biggest stressors.
College is a place where you can make life-long friends or where you can simply enjoy some light social contact with fellow students before you head back to family and well known friends.

Whichever is the case for you; friends are one of the great joys in life. One very important factor that determines how healthy a person is happens to be friendships. Studies show that people who have good supportive friends are ill less often and have greater longevity!

Try one or two of these tips:

1. Commit to speaking to one new person every day this week. Or, at least commit to smiling at one person every day and see what happens. Studies show that behaving in a happy way (eg. smiling) can actually promote the feeling of happiness.

2. Be comfortable and be yourself. Other students are just as nervous as you are. Trying to appear something you are not sets you up for discomfort.

3. If you want to make friends – be a friend – offer your help – lend a pen – participate in school sponsored events, set up study groups or meet for coffee.

4. If you are living in res – leave your door open – invite people in for a snack. Don’t use up all your time communicating by email with old friends from home – take some time to get out and meet some new people.

5. Good friends push us to develop the best in ourselves. Encourage others.

6. Like yourself – if you don’t, it is hard for others to spend time with you.

7. Call someone on the phone to share something you think they may find interesting.

8. Develop a variety of interests. This makes you an interesting person to be with.

9. Find activities that enrich your life that you enjoy doing alone. People who can enjoy their own company are not desperate to have people around all the time and tend to make better friends

You can check out this site for ideas on how to develop some friendships, resolve conflicts and improve your communication skills.

Young man gives good info on stress and shows his dragon breathing stress reliever

Like Your Attitude?

Never underestimate the simple power of the deep breath. Start with a couple of times each day to begin to program your mind. Pick the same time each day and attach it to something you already do regularly - like when you turn on a light or get into your car or eat lunch or stop at a red light. Take that moment you have decided on and just take a deep, intentful breath.


“As the famed stress researcher Dr. Bruce McEwen has pointed out, a key determining factor triggering the stress response is the way a person perceives a situation. We ourselves give events their meaning, depending on our personal histories, temperament, physical condition and state of mind at the moment we experience them. Thus the degree to which we’re stressed may depend less on external circumstances than on how well we are able to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally.
For human beings most stressors are emotional ones.” (In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate)

The goal is not eliminating all of your stresses. It is much more relaxing to think about getting control of them, one at a time. Think about making small changes. If you can change your routine so there is just a slight difference between what you used to do and what change you expect, you have a much better chance at long term success. If you want to try to get to bed earlier, start with a five minute change. Successful change is permanent, not dramatic.
Life is 10 % what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens.

Beware the language of stress. “This job stresses me out so much.” “She/he stresses me out.” These statements infer that we are powerless – it is the situation or the job or a person rather than how we are reacting to those things. Try making slight language changes that reflect the reality. “I feel stressed by my job or that driver.” This is not an opportunity to blame ourselves, but rather to acknowledge the reality – stress IS mostly about how we are reacting.

Don't let the stress of the day build up and carry to the next. A fresh start is so necessary for a good day. Stress can be so insidious – it can just creep up on you. It’s like the frog story. It is said that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out.

Two part series talks about how perception is a major part of causing stress

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sleep away your Stress

TIP of the week
Journaling – writing down your feelings and thoughts can be especially helpful if you have difficulty sleeping – write before bed and be intentful – ie let yourself know you are releasing all your worries through your pen onto the paper so your mind can be free for deep, restful sleep.
To ease your body into sleep, tense and relax all your muscle groups sequentially. Start with your toes, move to your calves, then your knees and thighs, and keep going until you get to your face.

Sleep. Who Needs It?

Sleep is one of the best ways to manage stress levels but often for students there are so many more interesting things to do with your time than sleep, right? You have classes and assignments and tests. Maybe you have a job as well. You've got to spend some time with friends and have some fun; and staying fit takes some time too. Now, when exactly is there time for sleep?

As you get further into the school year, you may notice you have a shorter fuse? Get irritated by very small annoyances? Can't seem to focus for long? Reach for sugary treats or coffee more often to give you a quick boost? Can't get those assignments done as easily as you did before?

Sleep is one of most basic human needs for reenergizing. Sleeping and eating disorders are becoming more prevalent among college age students. Sleep deprivation can hurt academic performance and increase stress. Sleep requirements vary for each individual but studies show college students need more than 8 hours/night! No kidding.
Students are all familiar with the “cram before the exam” strategy. And it may seem as if that is the only way you passed that test last week. In the short term, it may have helped you pass but in the long-term, you will most likely have to relearn all that material for the finals. Without consistent, good sleep patterns, the brain cannot consolidate and retain information.
If you feel you have good habits, but still struggle with sleep, check in with the health centre or with one of our counsellors.

Look in the Sleep and Wellness section on this site for great tips on getting a good night’s sleep.

10 Sleep Tips from a variety of doctors

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Stress Tip

Try this little shower tip to reduce pain and stress. In the shower, grab your hair close to your scalp and tug up to release tension. Rub your fingers in small circles over your entire head to stimulate blood flow.

Here are just a few samples of information from Jon KabatZinn. He is a world leader in mindfulness based relaxation techniques. YouTube offers a six-part series that contains priceless insights and information. The quotes listed below are from the YouTube six part video series.
“The level of stress being seen at this time is incredible – the digital age has sped up our lives to levels the Human Being cannot tolerate. We have less time than ever for ourselves.”
“Stress manifests as diseases, chronic pain.”
“We need to participate in our own well being – there are limits to what medicine and medical practitioners can do for us.”

“The heart of stress reduction is actually reorienting yourself to know who it is you are and be present to your life as it is unfolding- that is the door into health.”
“We may not even live in our own bodies. We are wired to the outside world but are very disconnected from our inner life.”
“We actually spend a lot of time cultivating mind states like anger, impatience, mindlessness.”
“Practicing dropping into just breath awareness is the least interesting part of the practice but it is strengthening the ability to access patience, relaxation, awareness, mindfulness in “regular life.” It helps you deal with the catastrophes, the pain of being human. You can actually grow the capacity for stability and calmness of mind. Your life is your practice really.”

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fresh Starts

Spring is a great time for a fresh start – shake up your life with a new healthy recipe or exercise. Maybe some spring cleaning to declutter your space.

As the days lengthen, your body just naturally feels a new zip - well maybe for you students this is a bit mixed with the craziness of final assignments and exams.

It is a good time to set new resolutions in motion. The energy is rising as the earth starts to blossom in this corner of the globe. Ride that energy wave to strengthen some of your own resolves.

Maybe you want to quit smoking, become more environmentally friendly, take up an activity, get rid of junk you no longer need, treat your body better by feeding it well, drink less, smile more, or just quit trying to make any improvements and accept yourself and your life exactly the way it is!!!!

Good luck with finals and with whatever resolves you make for yourself.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

Research is showing that one of the best predictors of success is emotional intelligence rather than just left brain intelligence(ability to gather information). Some of the competencies in emotional intelligence include self awareness, managing yourself and giving yourself.

1."Self awareness" is knowing yourself ... clearly without wishful thinking or blinders. Are you of a generous nature or do you tend to have trouble trusting there will be enough? Do you hold a grudge or let go easily? Are you warmly affectionate or more reserved?

2.Part of "managing yourself" is developing your intrinsic motivation. This means following your inner guidance based on your own values, rather than being externally driven by constant motivation from your fear of being excluded if you don’t follow the herd – peer pressure, TV, drinking habits,values, etc.

3."Giving yourself" means connecting your daily actions with your larger sense of purpose.

You can connect one of your own personal actions with a larger sense of purpose this weekend by participating in Eath Hour. On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

An interesting discussion about developing your ability to be motivated by your inner values rather than the external “I should do this” kind of voice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happiness-What is it?

Well, what is your answer to that one? What is happiness? When I was younger I thought happiness was just a sappy capitalistic plot to numb the mind. Ha! I wasn't very interested in being happy. Or so I thought. Now that I am older and wiser, I can see that it is an essential part of the human condition. The word gets tossed around but have you given it any personal attention?

There is short term happiness like sex, drugs, rock and roll or screamo; shopping, a car or a better job. After a while you start to notice the short termness of these kinds of things, however. And some of those things have nasty side effects.Not that they don't have their place. But as far as offering real and solid refuge from the bumpy road of life, they don't cut it. At least that's what I think.

I'd love to hear what others think about happiness. Here is what the Dalai Lama says about it.

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” Dalai Lama

It's tough to know what specific changes can bring more happiness. The following self test can enable you to pinpoint what areas of your life may be adding to or detracting from your sense of happiness.

You can go to this site to take the Happiness Self Test. The questions themselves will get you thinking about what consitutes happiness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Smart to be Happy

Another day of classes is over but you have assignments due and tests to study for ; your brain is overloaded, you feel overwhelmed and tired. And tomorrow will be the same.

Creating a good life for yourself requires learning to balance each of the aspects that make up a human being. This includes physical, emotional, mental and emotional health. Form positive habits starting now.

Thoughts of failure and repeated procrastination actually cause chemical and electrical signals in the body that put your body in “protect” mode rather than “growth and integration.” That literally means that if you feel stressed the blood is flowing to the back of your brain and not to the lobes that help you learn and retain new information. So, making sure you are working with a brain that is relaxed and happy makes you smarter!

Being organized to get tasks done, alternating study with short breaks to stretch or get some water and taking time out for fun, physical activity and relaxation all promote learning.

Getting great marks but ignoring the important relationships in your life; being extremely physically fit but not leaving time to nurture friendships or spend quiet, reflective time to nourish the spirit leaves you feeling unbalanced.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eat Stress, Drink Stress

What you eat is what you are! If you feel stressed maybe you are eating stress! What does that mean?

It is just the simple truth that what you eat will influence your feelings and thoughts for the day. If you have a lot of sugar and caffeine in your diet, your body will be in stress mode which means it interprets a lot of what is going on around you as danger.

When you eat food that is closely connected to your body's own makeup you are more likely to interpret the events going on around you in more neutral and relaxed terms. Do yourself a big favour - Eat relaxation.

Some good basics from the Canadian Dietician Association:

Eating 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit is easier than you think! Start today by making one small change.

Make a "fruit roll-up" by rolling cut-up fruit in a tortilla shell

Pair sliced bananas or a handful of dried berries with cereal or yogurt

Pack cut-up vegetables and fruit in reusable containers as a tasty snack you can take with you

Peel a banana, dip it in yogurt, roll it in crushed cereal and freeze it for a tasty "fruitsicle"

Have a salad with dark greens like spinach or romaine lettuce, or make a vegetable stir-fry for dinner.

Instead of drinking your serving in the form of juice, choose to eat the whole vegetable or fruit

If possible, eat the skins and peels of vegetables and fruit where most of the fibre is found. Consider that a 125mL glass of orange juice contains the juice of three oranges, but only has one-tenth the fibre of one orange.

One serving is:

1 medium size vegetable or fruit
1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit
1 cup green leafy salad
1/2 cup of 100% juice
1/4 cup of dried fruit.

At this site, under the Eat Well, Live Well section you will find quizzes, facts and interactive resources. Great tips for quick, easy meals, understanding food labelling, understanding your body’s nutritional needs and lots more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Finances getting Tight?

Don’t wait until you have no money left to start thinking about budgeting. This is a major stressor for college students so plan ahead to keep your cool. Being prepared means you can maintain your relaxed mind which is going to help you succeed socially and academically.

Maybe you are thinking it is already too late to budget but getting a clear sense of how you will survive this home stretch is well worth some time.

The Loyalist Financial Aid office has a wonderful pamphlet which will help guide you through the necessary steps for good money management.

Emergency food hampers are available to students so be sure you don't go hungry. Students can meet with their Student Success Mentor, Counselling Services, Mind and Wellness Nurse if they are in need of food.

This site offers tips on budgeting your funds.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Emotional Intelligence

Your mind and body react to perceived stress created by our own thoughts just the same as they do if we are being threatened by a saber tooth tiger.

Your body does not know the difference between an actual threat ( a tiger ) and you believing you are threatened (an exam).

The immune system shuts down because we are preparing to run from danger rather than fight any infections. Students tend to get sick around exam time because their stress responses have dampened the immune response.

Our digestion shuts down because again, all energy goes to the big muscles that will help us run to escape rather than to digesting a meal so stress tends to cause stomach problems.

Blood is shunted away from the frontal lobes and is sent rushing to the hind brain which supports reflex reactions. Your body wants you to run, not think! So under stress we are actually less intelligent.

So, it is important to see the importance of teaching our brains new ways of perceiving situations and to teach it the relaxation response.

Fascinating audio on how emotions actually work in our body both chemically and electrically.

More info on emotional intelligence and how it affects success in learning and in life.

Suicide Prevention

Take steps to maintain your mental health through the darker months. Stay active, eat and sleep well and stay connected to friends and fun.

Our culture leads us to believe that youth is the best time of our lives. This is just not true. It is a time when we are growing up emotionally and this is a challenge. If you think you are the only one having trouble, be assured, you are not.

Young people think about suicide. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you have concerns about a friend, do not be afraid to talk to them about it – this does not cause them to act on it. Non-judgemental listening can bring relief to someone who is troubled.

Young people can be high risk because of school pressures, major life changes, hormone changes, over use of drugs including alcohol and sexual orientation issues.

Some warning sign can be eating disorders, deliberate self harm,
withdrawal from normal activities, exceptional and extreme
mood swings, perfectionistic behaviour or extreme self
critical behaviour.

Talk about it. See Jodie in the Student Success Hub to make an appointment with counselling or Mind and Wellness Services. You do not have to say why you are making an appointment. Many students seek support for a variety of reasons.

Check in with campus health services. These are free and the staff are wonderful. The campus doctor is available for appointments on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons

Keep in contact with trusted friends.

"Learn to recognize the symptoms of suicide. Don’t be
ashamed. Remember feelings are not facts. Suicidal feelings
are a symptom of your illness. You need help and support to
get through them but you will get through them." (from checkupfrom theneckup)

Suicide is rarely a sudden decision but is part of a process. Check out the listed websites for information on how to deal with these feelings or on how to recognize the signs in yourself or someone else.
These sites offer information on myths about suicide, common warning signs and what you can do to help yourself or someone else.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

To Eat or Not to Eat

Eating Disorders has its own Awareness Week and it is from Feb 3-9. You will see a special display in the Loyalist cafeteria on Wednesday, Feb 6 from 11:30-1:30. A specialist in Eating Disorder counselling will be on hand to answer questions and offer resources. There will be a slide show presentation at the display table. Drop by and increase your awareness of this growing problem.

Eating and sleeping disorders are becoming more prevalent among college aged students.

According to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) a recent study revealed that 27 per cent of Ontario girls, aged 12-18 were reported to be engaged in severely problematic food and weight behaviours.

We have to be the change we want to see. Challenge your own focus on physical beauty – look for the qualities of kindness, flexibility, generosity and compassion, for example both in yourself and in others as your part in making a change in our world.

View the media critically, realizing that the way media represents people is highly manipulative and creates unachievable images that have hugely negative impacts on self esteem.

College life offers you the chance to start to think for yourself and choose your own beliefs rather than following the mainstream thought track. Now is a time to work on the lifelong journey of self acceptance and acceptance of others. Think about comments you make about how others look or how you view yourself.

Do you want to perpetuate the cultural myths that suggest thin is beautiful and means you are in control? Do you want to be part of the belief system that values males who are constantly working on their body? What about valuing qualities in yourself and others? How about valuing those who treat themselves with respect and choose a healthy lifestyle for themselves? What would our world look like if our goal was trying to find who we are, what our particular gifts might be and how we can take care so we can offer the best of ourselves?

This is the national eating disorders info website. It has information for you if you have an eating disorder or helpful info if you are worried about a friend who you think might have a problem.

This is a local Belleville website listing free resources/counselling support for eating disorders in this community.

This site has a quiz so you can assess whether or not you may have a problem

Friday, January 25, 2008

'Tis a Gift to be Simple'

Healthy self, healthy community, healthy world.

Ever feel like you don't really matter in the big scheme of things. Well you do - each choice you make has an impact and that puts a lot of power in your hands. You are of major importance to the health of this planet. How you treat yourself and your surroundings has an impact.

Here are a few very simple ideas for making some powerful choices

1.Turn off – anything that you are not using.

2.Reduce-when you shop for your groceries, look for items that use less packaging

3.You will use a lot of paper this year at school. Try to be mindful – use both sides – use recycled paper in your printer when you can.

4.Recycling is a powerful habit. Loyalist now offer you lots of opportunities to recycle with many receptacles throughout the halls.

5.If you are finished with certain items or clothing, trade with friends. You don’t have to always buy new.

6.Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth or shaving.
7.Reuse your plastic grocery bags or buy a few snappy cloth bags at the second hand stores to cart your groceries home in.

7.Practice kindness – to yourself, others and the planet you live on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Leave The Pack Behind

Yeah, yeah, I know I should quit but I’m just not ready. It is too hard and I’m stressed out.
Read on….
It is hard to quit. There are lots of good reasons to quit though and each time you read about those good reasons and each time you try to quit brings you closer to the day when you will be free of the habit.

Some of the great benefits of quitting:

1.Your sense of smell and taste improve, mmmm.
2.You look younger since smoking causes wrinkling and premature aging
3.More energy to do the things you love.
4.No more nagging from friends and family!
5.Save money
6.You don’t stink anymore.
7.Brain fog clears since your blood is no longer binding with the carbon monoxide toxins from the cigarette smoke.

It is hard to kick the habit but you can certainly find lots of help and support from your friends.

Loyalist is part of a province wide initiative created at Brock University. It was developed by students for students. The initiative is called Leave The Pack Behind and the website is very funky – it offers on-line week by week strategies to help you quit.

You can grab one of the nifty packages they developed. These are available at Mind and Wellness Services in the Student Success Hub.
You can also see our display in the cafeteria and grab some of the helpful literature there.

Great interactive site developed by university students to help other students quit.

This site has a lot of information on how to support yourself while quitting – how to work towards a quitting date, dealing with the stress and withdrawal, etc.

Lots of tips and strategies here to support you in quitting.

This site will show you how to calculate how much of your hard earned money is spent on the habit.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Beating the Winter Blues

The tendency around this time of year can be to eat more sugar and lay around on the couch a lot. Try to NOT do this.

1.Even 10 minutes outdoors- a brief walk around the campus or around the block will help you feel more energized. If it’s just too cold, check out the fitness centre – it’s free to all Loyalist students.

2.Sugar does not energize – it has been shown in labs that sugar is a tranquilizer – those of us who turn to sugar at this time of year are trying to tranquilize ourselves. Carbohydrates are a favourite as well- try to avoid the empty ones in junk food and fill up on rice and whole wheat pasta instead.

3.Avoid large amounts of alcohol – it acts as a depressant.

4.Be sure to get the support of your family and friends.

5.Have breakfast every day – this very simple act will benefit you tremendously.

6.And another basic- 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

If you no longer take pleasure in your usual activities, are gaining weight rapidly, sleeping long hours and having despairing thoughts, check in with your doctor or with our campus doctor.

Information on SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dont' Count to 10

How to Hang on to Your Anger

1.Hold your breath – none of that counting to 10 and taking deep breaths – that will cause all that powerful anger to leak away and you will be left feeling calmer

2.Notice what you are thinking and keep thinking the same thing over and over so you can keep your anger very revved up. Hold on very tightly to those thoughts – do not distract yourself with ideas like “this will pass.” This will cause your anger to leak away and you will be left feeling calmer.

3.Blame other people or circumstances to the best of your ability. This takes all the control out of your hands, makes you feel absolutely powerless and will build your anger to a really good volcanic level.

4.Don’t take any personal responsibility for your feelings. Similar to the above suggestion – if you can convince yourself that you have nothing to do with the way you are feeling – you don’t even have to try to change anything. Brilliant!

5.Blame yourself and try to think of as many ways possible to call yourself names. (Note the difference between taking responsibility for your feelings and blaming yourself - this is a BIG understanding. Taking responsibility deflates anger and self righteousness, gives you the power to make changes. Blaming increases your feelings or powerlessness and stupidity and your sense of righteousness will be HUGE - this builds a great head of steam).

6.Don’t move – keep yourself in any situation that creates a good level of anger for you. If you leave the situation your anger may disperse and you might not be able to build it back up to such a good level for awhile.

7.No physical activity like cleaning something up or going for a walk! This will definitely ruin a good build up of anger

8.If you have a problem that keeps making you feel angry, do not share it with anyone or look to anyone who may have had a similar problem. Talking about your difficulty will divert your powerful anger into problem solving or letting off steam and this will definitely ruin your anger.

9.Do not go near any of that relaxation, meditation, yoga, visualization stuff. It is just ridiculous to think that taking some deep breaths, stretching your muscles or imagining a beautiful scene will do anything but totally ruin your anger. These kinds of activities divert your energy away from all those thoughts that create your anger. You will not be able to stay angry and even worse, if you practice these things, even for a few minutes each day, your body starts to get trained to go into a relaxation response instead of a stress response. So even when something happens that usually would give you a lovely level of anger, your body may start to go into relaxation mode and this will keep your thinking clear and you won’t be able to work up much anger at all. Do not explore any of these types of activities – keep a healthy scepticism and your anger will be safe to live another day.

10.Above all, do not laugh. If you laugh at yourself – that great big beautiful anger will deflate like a pierced balloon. After all your hard work to work up that much anger – what a waste. You want to keep feeling angry. Don’t laugh.

For more great information on anger you can check out this site.

For further help or information you can make an appointment with Valerie in Mind and Wellness Services through Jodie in the Student Success Hub at extension 2519.