December 2013

Happiness: A How to Guide

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Author: 
Gabby Chesney
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Photo Credit: africa

Over the years, I have received all sorts of advice regarding how to be happy. From “do what you love” to “don’t sweat the small stuff” everyone seems to have some idea of how to live a happy and fulfilling life. While I don’t have all of the answers, I have realized some of the qualities necessary to lead a happy life. Read on to hear what they are!  

Gratefulness

Sometimes when life consumes us, we forget how many things we have to be thankful for. I know I am guilty of this. Over the past three years I have definitely had those times where I have gotten home from a tough day of classes and in a state of exhaustion and crankiness, sat around thinking about all of the things that was terrible about that day. This brought me no happiness. So how did I overcome this? Whenever I am feeling down and feel like I have all of the reasons in the world to complain, I think of 5 things in my life I have to be thankful for. And guess what? It is never hard to come up with five. They don’t have to be big things. It can be something as simple as being grateful to be alive to experience that cruddy day. Thinking of all of the good things in my life almost always puts in perspective the fact that despite the bad things that happened that day, I have it good.  

Awareness 

Be aware of the level of importance of the events occurring in your life. A failed test won’t ruin your life nor will not getting that job you have dreamed of, but it can be hard to see this. So how do you gauge the level of importance of a specific event? What I like to do is think of the absolute worst thing that can happen as a result of a situation occurring. For example, if I am anxious about failing a test I think to myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if I fail?” While the answer might not be pretty, typically when I do this I am reminded that although it might throw a wrench in my plans, I will still be left with people who love me, friends and good health. In my opinion, these things are far more important than good grades or a dream job.

 Kindness 

Kindness is so important when it comes to happiness. I can’t claim to be kind 24/7, I am human and there are definitely times I look back on and wish I had been nicer. However, I find that the times in my life when I am the happiest are those when I am being kind and radiating love. It sounds corny, but it’s true. I once heard a quote along the lines of  “kindness is always a choice even when fondness is not”. The concept that even if we aren’t necessarily fond of a person we always can choose to be kind really spoke to me. I try to remember this everyday. It can be tough, but each day that I wake up and am kind to everyone, no matter how much or little I enjoy their company, I feel so much better than when I’m not. Everyone needs kindness. And you know what? No matter how much kindness you share with others, there will still be enough for you too. That is the beauty of it. 

Openness 

If you want to be happy, you have to be open to it! For a long time I struggled with this. I spent so much time focusing on the difficult parts of my life that I didn’t think that being truly happy was something I could do at the time. That would come down the road when I graduated, had a job, was married and settled. This idea that happiness was something for the future was flawed and prevented me from realizing all the great things that were happening in my life at that time. Happiness, to some extent, is a choice. Happiness could be screaming and knocking at your door, but if you don’t let it in you won’t experience it. So open yourself up to happiness. Find happiness in the little things. It’s a rainy day and you have a test? Awesome! You are alive and get to experience it, and that in itself is a reason to be happy.

So there you have it. No matter how great or terrible a day you are having, I hope these tips might help you to make it a little bit better! Happiness is within all of our reach and each and every one of us deserves to feel it.

 

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Foods that help bad moods!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Author: 
Kelsey McCullough
Friday, December 20, 2013

College is a very stressful time in peoples’ lives and students often don’t know they can actually reduce stress symptoms by what they eat. I am going to go over a few different moods and provide you with some great food fighting tools to get you through midterms! 

Stress: can come from many different sources and effects people in many different ways.  If you are feeling worried you likely have high hormone levels of cortisone, fight back with dark chocolate!  It will reduce your stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and contains antioxidants. Enjoy in moderation! 

Anger: one of the best things to do when your angry is to stop what you are doing and try to relax. One great way to do this is with green tea! Green tea actually contains theanine, which helps to calm, and make you more focused.

Overall bad mood: one of the best things to eat if you are feeling anxious, sad, or irritable is omega 3’s.  Research has actually linked Omega 3’s to lessening depression symptoms. So try some salmon or herring!

Unfocused: try eating berries! Berries are high in antioxidants such as anthocyanin and helps with shaper cognition. They are also high in vitamin C, which can lower blood pressure and helps with stress levels.

Check out the Prevention Magazine for more great foods that help fight off stress and moodiness! 

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Mindful Eating

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

                                                                    Photo:nuchylee

You are sitting down at a table, with a huge plate of turkey, cranberry stuffing, corn, and mashed potatoes.I’m sure your mouth is watering just from reading those words.You can smell the aroma coming from the warm plate of food.You look at the colors, the texture, imagining the flavor, engaging all your senses.You put the food on your fork and take a closer look, imagining all the food as it was before it became this delicious meal.You place a forkful into your mouth and instead of chewing and swallowing right away; you savor the bursts of flavor, breaking down each individual flavor and texture into different components.You picture the salivary amylase, breaking down the carbs.Do you taste sugars?Fats?Salts?What does it feel like in your mouth?Is it hard, soft, chewy, sticky?And then, after deep contemplation, you swallow the food, picturing it traveling down your esophagus, into your stomach, where it gets broken down into fragments, to your intestines where all the nutrients that make up this delicious feast get absorbed for use by your body.Instead of putting another forkful into your mouth, you place it down on your plate and take a break.

So what did you just do?This practice is called mindful eating.An article by the New York Times claims that by practicing this at each meal, you can avoid binge eating. It is a new practice that encourages diners to mediate with their food and enhances consciousness by literally evaluating each piece of food that enters your mouth and keeps you in the present, focusing on just the meal, nothing else. You don’t focus on your next math exam, or the amount of homework you have to do, just the meal. Experiments around mindful eating have been performed at the Harvard School of Public Health all the way to the California campus of Google. This mindful eating technique could battle the fast pace lives that we live and combat fad diets that are not helping our obesity epidemic.

This technique is not dieting.Mindful eating is all about experiencing food.It creates a pleasurable and positive relationship with food.You are allowed to eat a cheeseburger and by practicing mindful eating you may discover that you actually don’t even like them, or that in fact, you enjoy them much more!You will give your body the time to decide if it wants to finish the entire cheeseburger or if it is satisfied and time for some leafy greens.A pediatrician and meditation teacher from Oregon, Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, calls it the anti-diet.She believes that we are completely unmindful or unconscious of what we are doing when we eat and that Mindful eating can create a healthy relationship with food.You must think, “What’s on my mind when I am eating?” The key to this practice is to just eat.Don’t watch TV, don’t study, don’t check Facebook, and don’t tweet all while eating.Just Eat.

When people binge eat, and just shovel the food into their mouths, you eat a lot of it and you will not feel full.Mindful eating is combatting consciousness . “So many people now have found themselves in an adversarial relationship with food, which is very tragic,” says Dr.Bays, “Eating should be a pleasurable activity.

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Just keep laughing

Monday, December 16, 2013

Author: 
Suzanne Hogan
Monday, December 16, 2013

                                                            photostock

Mid-semester is often a stressful time for everyone. Midterms, exams, papers, and projects all seem to pile up at once and you are suddenly left with no free time at all. Everyone is tense and worried about their own workload. This can often lead to harsh attitudes and bitter tones even between your closest friends. The best way to avoid this unnecessary drama is laughter. Laughing immediately puts you in a better mood and lightens your spirits. Just think about it, have you ever felt mad or annoyed while laughing? Laughing with other people also helps you feel closer and can help strengthen relationships.

Along with the mental and emotional health benefits, laughter can also improve your physical health. Laughing eases your muscles and relaxes your entire body, relieving physical tension and stress. It also boosts your immune system by increasing immune cells and antibodies and protects your heart by increasing blood flow and improving blood vessel function.

So next time you are feeling stressed or even just sad, try finding things to make you laugh. Talk to someone funny or look up funny videos on YouTube (the animal voice overs always work for me). Once you find something, share it with your friends or family. Not only will you feel less stressed and enlightened, but you will also make a stronger connection and improve a relationship in your life.

To learn more about the benefits of laughter and how to improve your sense of humor, check out Help Guide

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Dance your Way to Fitness

Friday, December 13, 2013

Author: 
Mary Houghton
Friday, December 13, 2013

                                Photo: Ambro 

If you are anything like me, you’re always looking for different ways to get in physical fitness without hitting the gym. I love to find ways to exercise while having fun. One way that I have always known how to get fit and have fun is by dancing! Dancing is a great way to stay in shape by improving cardiovascular endurance, strength, coordination, and flexibility. It is also a great way to express yourself artistically and to just have a good time! Another great thing about dance is that there are so many different types; ballet, jazz, tap, zumba, salsa, and tango are just a few to list. There are also so many ways to get involved in dancing. UNH offers dance classes for credit as well as opportunities to participate in the dance company and dance team. Campus Rec offers classes like zumba that combines dancing with cardio moves. If you are looking for other options, there are plenty of local dance studios in Portsmouth, Dover, Barrington, and Greenland that allow you to participate in drop-in classes for as cheap as $12. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, there are great dance based workout videos online and on DVD that you can use to get your workout in. If none of these options work for you, grab a few friends and go out dancing for the night! Combining a social outing with your daily physical activity sounds perfect to me! There is no wrong way to dance so go ahead and give it a try, you never know, it might become your new favorite form of exercise!

For more information on the health benefits and tips on dancing click this website.

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Workout Gear Wish-list!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Author: 
Kelsey McCullough
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

stockphotos

With the holidays fast approaching everyone is starting to create their wish lists’. This year on my list is new workout gear! Whenever I get new workout clothes or equipment it can really help to motivate me and help to switch up my same old routine.

I know a lot of students find it harder to workout when they are home for vacation and the gym isn’t a 6 minute walk away. Don’t let that get in your way during this break try doing workouts at home. There are lots of great videos of workouts online, which require little room and equipment. Check out this article to find free online videos that you can try during winter break. 

 One great piece of equipment that should be on everyone’s list is a yoga mat. They are portable, make in-house workouts more comfortable, and are very affordable. These will come in handy when doing yoga, Pilates, stretching, or workouts when having extra grip is helpful like push-ups and lunges. 

Kettle bells are a new workout craze, and are great for workouts in tight places. They come in a variety of weights and have a convenient handle. They are generally used for arm and leg exercises like the ones listed on Body Building.

Jump ropes are a fun and easy to use. They can provide great cardio and increase coordination. Try putting on some tunes and jump roping to the beat, jump slowly for low intensity or quick intervals for sprint-like workouts. 

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Holiday Skate

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Author: 
Gabby Chesney
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

                                      Photo: Kevin_P

Looking for a fun way to celebrate the end of the semester and bring in the holiday season? Then you should check out the annual Holiday skating party! The event will take place on Tuesday December 10th from 3:30-7:00pm at the Whittemore Center Arena. Members of both the Men’s and Women’s hockey team will be there skating and even Wild E. Cat will be there! If skating isn’t your thing there will be other activities available too. There will be a limited number of skates available to be rented from Campus Recreation, but if you have your own skates you should bring them to ensure you have a pair to use!

Aside from the fact that this is a fun way to gather with friends and celebrate the end of the semester, there are more reasons this is a great event to attend. For one, skating provides great exercise. It’s an excellent way to sneak some physical activity and calorie burn into your day all while having fun. Another excellent reason to attend this event is it is serving as a collection point for the Wildcat Santa Toy Drive, which collects toys for children in need. People attending the party are invited to bring an unwrapped toy or gift for a child or teenager to donate to the cause.

For more information check out UNH’s Holiday Skating Party!

 

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Frazzle Free Finals!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Author: 
Mary Houghton
Monday, December 9, 2013

Photo: UNH Photo Services

Many students are feeling a lot of anxiety about the end of the semester that is fast approaching. With exams, papers, and final projects, the work seems endless. It is important that we all stay in good mental health so that we can finish out the semester strong! The best way to combat your end of semester work is to manage your time wisely and keep a positive and clear mind. It is also important that you take study breaks; take a walk, have a snack, do something that isn’t school related to give your brain a break. Pushing yourself too far will only result in mental blocks and high levels of anxiety. Be kind to yourself, approach finals with a calm, open mind and you will succeed. UNH has many resources available for students in preparation for finals week including Frazzle Free Finals! Frazzle Free Finals is a series of stress relieving activities held in the diamond library during the week of finals. Healthy UNH, Dining Services and a few other groups on campus put together the event to provide students with health promoting stress relievers. Some activities that are included in Frazzle Free Finals are free chair massages, cookie and coffee breaks, and puppies are brought in for therapeutic playtime! Each activity is a great way to take a break from studying and let your brain process all of the information that you are loading it with. Frazzle Free Finals starts Monday, December 9th and ends Wednesday, December 11th, so don’t miss your chance, be sure to stop by and grab a snack or pet a puppy! Remember, to focus, work hard, and most importantly, breathe! Good luck and let’s finish this semester with a bang!

For a full list of Frazzle Free Finals events and times, visit the Healthy UNH website!

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Get Involved: Best Buddies UNH

Friday, December 6, 2013

Author: 
Mary Houghton
Friday, December 6, 2013

Photo Credit: wildcatlink.unh.edu/

With winter break fast approaching, we will have plenty of time on our hands to eat, sleep, relax, and finally, think about what kinds of things we will want to be involved in for the Spring semester. One thing that you might want to consider is community service! Community service is a great way to spend free time you might have; it is oftentimes very rewarding and can look great on your resume as an added bonus! One program here at UNH that is a very rewarding experience and requires little time commitment is UNH’s chapter of Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization dedicated to giving opportunities for one on one friendship and inclusion for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Each UNH member of Best Buddies is matched with a “buddy” and is required to meet with them face to face once a month as well as be in contact with them once a week. Forms of contact can include Facebook, email, phone calls, etc. Additionally, there is a monthly meeting for all members of UNH Best Buddies to engage in a group event. The goal of this organization is to include and encourage social participation from intellectually and developmentally disabled students in the community. This organization is a great way to get involved and make a difference in somebody’s life by becoming their buddy. I have heard from many that this program is fun and a great learning experience for those who are looking for opportunities to be involved with the community. Best Buddies UNH is holding a “Eat Away the Stress of Finals Bake Sale” in Union Court Monday, December 9th from 11:00am to 7:00pm, so be sure to stop by and grab a baked good as well as talk to a member of Best Buddies to learn more about the program. Give it some thought and check it out! 

For more information about UNH’s chapter of Best Buddies, visit their homepage

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Time Management

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Author: 
Suzanne Hogan
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

                                                     digitalart

As the semester nears an end, it can seem like there is still an enormous amount of assignments with very little time to complete them. If you haven’t already adapted to a time management strategy, now is the time to do it. Managing your time is essentially vital to doing well in college. While it may seem like you have more free time than ever before, the amount of time that needs to be devoted to studying and working on assignments is a huge portion.

               The first step to managing your time is to make a to-do list. This way you will be sure you aren’t forgetting anything and it feels good to check off completed items. You will want to prioritize this list. Try putting the most important items at the top. Getting these things out of the way first will make you feel a lot better about the rest of the list.

               Once you have your to-do list, look at your schedule and start blocking out times. Estimate how long it will take to complete each item on the list and plan accordingly. Be sure to also block out time for sleeping and relaxing. If you don’t give yourself the time you need to relax a little bit, you’ll end up overwhelming yourself. Another thing to keep in mind while making your schedule is when you are most productive. If you are a night owl and get more work done later in the day, make your schedule accordingly.

               Once you have your to-do list and set schedule, be sure to make the most of your studying time. Limit distractions such as checking your phone or Facebook, Twitter, etc. Stay focused on your task at hand and don’t stress! Winter break is almost here so end the semester with great grades to bring home!

               Check out these time management tips, as well as other study strategies at the UNH CONNECT Program

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