By: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader
Do you ever feel so angry that you can’t control yourself? Anger is a completely normal human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—personal problems, problems at work, personal relationships, and overall quality of life.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (traffic, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying about your personal problems.
People handle their anger in different ways, depending on the intensity of angry feelings. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.
There are three most common processes to deal with angry feelings: expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—way is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what you need, and how to tell people around you without hurting them. Being assertive means being respectful of yourself and others.
A great way to express your feelings in an assertive way is by changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you’re angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones, and then, if you can, try to look for a solution to fix the problem. For instance, instead of telling yourself, “Oh, it’s awful, it’s terrible, everything’s ruined,” tell yourself, “It’s frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset about it, but it’s not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow.” Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won’t make you feel better, and it may actually make you feel worse.
Anger can be suppressed too. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. However, in order to use this technique, you need to release your anger by expressing it in an assertive way when you are calmer because if you don’t express it, your anger can turn inward on you.
Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses. Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. Also, take steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside. Sometimes it’s better to accept what happened and not pay any more attention to it. People who can remain calm inside don’t let small things ruin their day and their mood.
Feeling anger is completely normal, but it’s important to find healthy ways to express it. Knowing how to express anger in appropriate ways can help you manage your emotions and reach your goals.
By: Fajr Zahid, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
Stress, which is defined as a state of mental strain due to adverse or demanding circumstances, is an important health topic that affects the daily lives of many people. We all experience feelings of stress at some point in our lives, so it is crucial to learn how to manage symptoms of stress before they become detrimental to our health and well-being. At this point in the academic year, it is understandable that a lot of us are beginning to feel high levels of stress or anxiety due to the workload that is beginning to pile up as we approach the end of Spring semester. In addition to school and academics, stress can also be brought on by a magnitude of other factors, such as social relationships (family, friends, romantic partner, etc.), insufficient income, and other day-to-day responsibilities that one must carry out. It is important to remember, however, that there are a variety of activities, behaviors, and attitudes that can be engaged in in order to help alleviate symptoms of stress before they become more difficult to manage. Below I have listed some important facts, reminders and strategies in order to help combat stress and bring a sense of peace during this demanding period of time for many.
Stress may look different for each individual, but there are certain symptoms associated with this state of health. Some physical symptoms of stress include exhaustion or trouble sleeping, chest pain, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and a weakened immune system. Emotional symptoms can include feelings of anxiety or irritability, depression, panic attacks, and sadness. Stress levels may vary depending on the severity of the circumstances one is experiencing, as well as one’s ability to manage symptoms of stress. Oftentimes, people engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to overcome symptoms of stress, whether it be intentional or unintentional. Examples of this include turning to substances such as alcohol or marijuana in order to suppress one’s feelings, compulsive behavior (such as overspending), or overeating/developing an eating disorder as a method of stress relief. Although in the moment it may feel as though you are reducing your stress by engaging in behaviors such as these, it is very important to remember their negative impacts on physical and emotional health. In fact, they may ultimately worsen feelings of stress and further overwhelm your mind and your body. There are many stress-relieving activities that can be practiced to help combat stress symptoms and calm yourself physically and mentally during an overwhelming period of time. Some of these activities include:
● Engaging in physical activity/exercise (this increases the amount of endorphins in your body, boosting feelings of well-being!) ● Eating a healthy and sufficient diet – aim to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals when you can ● Meditating – this is a great way to relax yourself and take your mind off of things that are bringing you stress ● Socializing – surround yourself with uplifting people who will support you during stressful times; social contact can be a great stress reliever and it helps to distract yourself from worrying thoughts ● Getting enough sleep – this has a great impact on mood, levels of energy, and ability to concentrate, all of which are very important factors in combating stress, especially if it is related to academics ● Listening to music – this can help to relieve feelings of stress by reducing tension in your muscles and decreasing stress hormones ● Seeking counseling/therapy – if you find yourself really struggling to cope with stress that you are experiencing, and if other self-care methods are not proving to be helpful, consider seeking a counselor or therapist; they can help you identify the source(s) of stress in your life and provide different techniques or therapeutic methods in order to bring about a sense of balance and stress-relief within your life
UMass Lowell offers free counseling services in order to help students who are struggling with issues such as stress. Visit this website in order to learn more about the UML Counseling Center, and to book an appointment: https://www.uml.edu/student-services/counseling/
For those of you who find yourselves feeling stressed or overwhelmed, remember that you are more than capable of overcoming these feelings. I hope you found this blog post helpful, and that you learned some useful stress-relieving strategies that can be implemented into your life to improve your overall health and well-being! 🙂
By: Casey Tiernan, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
Are you ready for the warm spring weather? Me too! One thing I love about the upcoming Spring season is doing a clean out to start fresh. Spring cleaning is important and can positively impact your well-being!
Spring cleaning can help reduce stress, increase productivity, and lead to better focus. Cluttered areas tend to spike stress levels which I can definitely say I’ve dealt with. When my room is messy, I feel overwhelmed and push off my tasks. It also puts me in an agitated, depressed mood. According to an article, “the process of sorting through items, reorganizing, and getting rid of excess items can be mentally refreshing and liberating” (Akers). I feel so refreshed after going through all my clothes because I don’t wear half of them and they just pile in my closet making me feel very stressed every morning. Clutter has significant effects on your ability to focus and be productive. When you are less distracted by chaos surrounding your area, you can free up mental space that can allow for greater concentration on tasks. A tidy, fresh smelling environment can naturally boost endorphins in the brain and improve energy levels (Berzin). I have seen improvements in my productivity once I cleaned up my room where I tend to do most of my schoolwork.
You can also do a spring cleaning of your mind. For me, this looks like a break from social media and spending time with myself and my well-being. I like to do self care such as my skin care, reading, and taking walks in the newly Spring weather. This can look different for everyone but it is important to ‘clean your mind’ of any winter blues.
A clean environment also leads to a number of health benefits as it can strengthen your immune system and help avoid illnesses. Nobody wants to be sick when the warm weather comes! Clean homes can help you breathe better by preventing respiratory issues and supporting a healthy immune system. My nose is prone to get stuffy often from dust, so I make sure to do a deep spring-cleaning wiping down every area in my room followed by vacuuming the floor. “Dust, mold, mildew, pet fur, etc. can trigger people who are prone to allergies” (Akers). Another way I clean my area is by washing all my sheets and bedding because I love sleeping on fresh sheets. It feels amazing when you put on fresh, warm sheets that smell good, it’s rejuvenating and can promote a good night’s sleep.
Spring cleaning has the power to motivate us to reset or try out a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown there is a correlation between keeping a clean environment and being active and choosing healthier food options (Akers). When the warm weather comes, I love to open my windows to take in some fresh air, which then leads me to want to go outside and walk. Taking a brisk walk outside is great for your physical health and allows you to be active. Exercise lowers the risk for development of many chronic diseases. Cleaning your home just by 30 minutes of vacuuming can burn up to 111 calories for men and 94 for women (Berzin). Being active and eating right help reduce the risk of injury as well. A clean environment can help prevent injuries such as tripping over cluttered spaces as well as preventing a fire hazard.
I have started my countdown for Spring because I am ready to declutter my space and improve my well-being. Overall, cleaning encourages a healthier lifestyle. Will you join for a spring cleaning?
By: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader
Some days, we don’t feel good about ourselves, and that is okay. But when that feeling continues for a longer period of time, it can have a harmful effect on our mental health.
Self-esteem is the opinion we have about ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to be positive about life in general and about the things we can achieve. On the other hand, when we have low self-esteem, we tend to be negative about life, and we also feel less able to work through the challenges of life.
It is important to try to increase your self-esteem because having low self-esteem can harm your mental health and lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. When you have low self-esteem, you may also hide away from social situations and new challenges and avoid difficult situations.
But how can we get from low self-esteem to healthy self-esteem?
Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. When the people that surround us and even social media give us negative messages about ourselves, sadly, we tend to keep those negative messages instead of positive ones. You can also get low self-esteem when you find it difficult to live up to other people’s expectations of you or to your own expectations. For that reason, to boost your self-esteem, first, you need to identify where are these negative thoughts about yourself coming from and challenge them. Another thing that would help you increase your self-esteem is to start writing down good things about yourself, some things that you and other people say about you that make you feel good. Put that list somewhere you can see it and remind those qualities to yourself every day.
Know your worth who appreciate you and help you at appreciate you and help you go through difficult times. Recognize when someone is trying to bring you down and spend less time with them because those people will not bring you anything good.
Finally, be kind to yourself and recognize that it’s ok to not be ok sometimes. Treat yourself as if you were your friend and think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. We often treat and give better advice to others than we do to ourselves.
By: Fajr Zahid, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
The month of February is often seen as a month dedicated towards spreading love, whether it be towards a romantic partner, friends, or even oneself. Having a healthy relationship with yourself and your mind, as well as others, is an essential part of life and overall well-being. Below are 10 important tips that can help to improve self-love and self-care habits!
1. Try your best not to compare yourself to others – we are all unique in our own ways, and it is important to embrace our differences rather than conceal them.
2. Do not be afraid to be your true, authentic self regardless of how you may be perceived by others.
3. Look out for yourself and give your body the proper rest, nutrients, and care that it needs.
4. Surround yourself with uplifting, genuine people, and distance yourself from those who bring negativity into your life.
5. Never give others the power to make you doubt yourself or your worth – always reassure yourself of your importance and value.
6. Do not settle for less than what you deserve – this goes for all aspects of life whether it be a friendship, romantic relationship, or a future goal that you have.
7. Listen to your intuition! – this can often save you from harmful or toxic situations.
8. Make time for yourself throughout the day or week to engage in activities that bring you peace and happiness.
9. Reflect on your habits, attitudes and behaviors and actively work on the parts of yourself that you would like to improve on.
10. Stand up for yourself in situations where you are being mistreated or disrespected – but also remember to forgive yourself for the times when you were unable to do so.
I hope that you are able to implement all or even just a few of these 10 self-love and self-care tips into your life! If you’re ever struggling with showing yourself the love and care you deserve, or any other aspect of your life, come visit me during my office hours and I’ll do my best to help you 🙂
by Casey Tiernan, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
February is Boost your Self-Esteem Month. Self-esteem is defined as the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities.
It is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself, because it influences your choices and decisions and your overall well-being. Self-esteem also influences your motivation because when you have a positive view of yourself, you have a better understanding of your potential and feel inspired to take on new challenges. Another term for self-esteem is self-worth. On the contrary, low self-esteem is linked to feelings of insecurity within one’s skills and leads to doubts with decision making. It can also result in low motivation to try new challenges. Individuals who experience this may have issues forming healthy relationships with themselves and others, making them feel unworthy.
I struggle to this day with my own self-esteem. However, this year has led me to step out of my comfort zone and learn more about myself. I have gained confidence in my skills within my major and it allows me to be my best self. The smallest thing I did to change my low self-esteem was to be aware of my thoughts and to be kind to myself. I stopped telling myself negative thoughts and had a new outlook about myself. I also recommend expressing your needs. It allows you to be open and honest with yourself. It is also key to know you are allowed to say “no” when you want to. This skill took me time to master because I always felt bad, but once I started saying “no,” I felt in control of myself again. The last thing I did was accept my strengths and weaknesses. I originally picked a major that was heavy in math and sciences (which yes, is my weakness), so I switched to Public Health which allowed me to see my strengths in a new light.
Having a healthy self-esteem can motivate you to reach your goals and accomplish anything you put your mind to because it allows for setting appropriate boundaries within relationships. “When you find yourself engaging in negative thinking, try countering these thoughts with more realistic ones (Cherry, 2022)”. With February being Boost your Self-Esteem Month, every morning when you wake up, search for a daily affirmation. It allows you to start your day off with a positive mindset.
by: Fahad Alden, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader
Selena Gomez’s long-anticipated documentary “My Mind & Me,” which has been in the works since 2016, is finally out on Apple TV. Gomez was initially known for her breakout role as a Disney star beginning with “Barney” and then “Wizards of Waverly Place,” Not only that, she has starred in several films such as Monte Carlo, Spring Breakers, Romana and Beezus, and Princess Protection Program.
She has also become a more mature actress and an award-winning singer with three albums under her belt. The albums are Stars Dance, Revival, and Rare. With her first album, her singles “Come & Get it” and “Slow Down” did so spectacularly that they both ended up getting RIAA (music certification for greatly played music)gold certified. She then built off that momentum and excitement and went on a world tour with her next album, Revival. However, her health concerns, including lupus and depression soon took over. Her PR representatives cited they were greatly concerned that she checked herself into rehab.
In today’s “me” culture, when everyone is always sharing everything, Gomez has kept her lips sealed on a wide range of events surrounding her. Even through her turmoil, breakups, AMA award show disaster, or falling outs with friends, she rarely gave us glimpses into her life, which is why this documentary was heavily anticipated. One reason is that the director is Alek Keshishian, renowned for directing Madonna’s truth or dare documentary, smart water commercials, coca cola, and even directing one of Gomez’s most viewed music videos, “Hands To Myself.” What made this documentary even more appealing was that he mentioned that Gomez’s documentary was shelled in 2016 due to her not being in the best place, but it will be revisited. But this documentary was hinted at through Gomez’s interviews and close sources within the span of six years.
The viewer can see Gomez’s career progression highlighted throughout the documentary, as well assee her performing during the revival tour, doing interviews for her rare album, and hearing the soundtrack for upcoming songs.
In the beginning, a critical moment was Gomez’s mental breakdown. The mental breakdown ended up occurring during her revival tour. This breakdown was one of great volume and intensity, and her friends and her mother were worried for Gomez’s life.
The documentary gave the viewer a big clue as to the state of her mind during this time. As we can see in the first scene, Gomez is seen at first discussing how she felt defeated over messing up her choreography while dancing. But this complaint then caused a big unraveling of a box of seemingly suppressed emotions. She began to make self-deprecating comments about her body, singing, and dancing. Then she even aimed her public persona, saying, “When am I going to be good enough — just me by myself, not needing anybody to be associated with?”
This could be seen as an emotionally impactful moment in the documentary. To the public, she seems so independent and fearless on stage; in reality, that is not the case. This scene was powerful because it was not just a simple shot of her tearing up. We got to see her frustration, her hand waving, and the hugging from her manager to console her.
The humanization of Gomez as a person and then as a product fights against the perception of the notion that fame and money can not insulate her from these emotions. We see her high heel tapping, her sarcastic comment towards the reporter, her crying, and her need for a consultation when distraught. What may confuse a viewer is Gomez’s decision of what she chooses to tell and what she does not. The general focus on her hard past, her broken relationship with her father, working at the age of 7, and dealing with the press were points she lightly touched on.
She also gives us the illusion that she shares much of herself, but everything is vague. That is why even though the documentary is 90 minutes long, it still felt too short, as a great deal of time showed her getting ready for places or the car rides and not diving deeper into her personality and history.
Viewers finishing the documentary could possibly be left with more questions than they started with,such as what were things she did in a state of rage, as her ever coming wrath caused her to do reckless things? What caused the fracturing of her relationship with her dad? Were headlines shown in the video about possible drug use true?
I would say the strong foundation of the documentary was its cinematography. There are beautiful shots of her looking out of a car window, giving speeches, and a creative shot of her in a rose-petaled bath with some audio of her poetry being recited in the background. There is also videography highlighting the beauty of South Africa through the natural environment and animals, with wide and close-up shots galore. The videos also demonstrated a sense of imprisonment for her fame. She was seen leaving restaurants and parties, and with every shot, the paparazzi’s comments about her weight, relationship, and more were echoed in the background. As well, some pictures of cutthroat headlines were put on the video. Sporadically thrown throughout the documentary, these shots demonstrated where some of her self-loathing could stem from.
I did enjoy her inclusion of some short poetry in the documentary. Specifically, an audio recitation of her talking about how she has everything she has ever wanted to achieve, but how there is always “Selena .” Referring to her name, not as her name but more of a burden. She says so slowly and so quietly that it makes you feel as if you are being told a secret. It is a great artistic choice, but I wish there were more of these audios, and it was spread out more than strictly in the start. That is exactly what I loved about what they did with her song, also titled “My Mind & Me,” the snippets of her music were placed throughout the documentary. The snippets were long for us to enjoy but not long enough for the song to be spoiled.
Overall, this documentary shows that perception is not always what we believe. To many, Gomez embodied the American dream- fame, beauty, and money- yet as she shares the stories of her struggles with bipolar disorder and lupus and being haunted by her past, we see that what seems simple is not. The documentary is, in many ways, a teaser to the next chapter of her journey.
By: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader
Although there’s no way to eliminate life’s challenges completely, humor can be a great mechanism for dealing with stress. A sense of humor can help you build resilience to stress and improve your overall physical and emotional health.
Research has shown that laughter therapy reduces stress, and it can enhance the overall quality of life. Humor can distract you from difficult situations and allow you to look at the same situation in different ways. Most college students face immense stress during presentations, projects, deadlines, and homework. For instance, being stressed during a group project because a member of your group was not doing their job. This can be very stressful and make you angry because your grade depends on their work. But what if you try to make the experience more fun with your other group members? By working together with the other members of the group so you don’t focus on all the work you have to do just by yourself, you can laugh and joke and enjoy working on the project. There are different ways to try to make light of a situation depending on your sense of humor. Do you really want to be over-stressed? Besides, being stressed doesn’t help you do your job better, in fact, you can’t put in your 100% when you are stressed.
But how can we add in humor and remain serious about our work? Sometimes, it’s very hard to make something funny when you are upset or overwhelmed. For that reason, you can start by cultivating your sense of humor in a few easy ways, and the more often you practice them, the more automatic they’ll become. First, you start with a smile. Even just faking a smile can increase happiness and not just the appearance of it. This is because the act of smiling, whether real or fake, causes your body to release feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. Another thing you can do when you’re in the middle of a difficult situation is take a step back and view your situation as an objective observer. This can help you find some potential absurdities in the little things l, and you may end up laughing. Finally, recruit funny friends. Social support is a crucial part of stress management.Find a friend or group of friends with whom you can share your frustrations and challenges and laugh about them in the process. Using humor in stressful situations can help you realize that situation is only a moment in your life, not your entire life.
If you need someone to make you laugh or smile, visit me in my office hours next semester!
by: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader
Habits can drastically change your life. It all starts with one little routine that you exercise regularly until your mind becomes used to it. It does not happen overnight. It would help if you changed your mindset; after you have mastered your mind and established good habits, success and happiness will be yours.
These five little habits have helped me achieve my goals and will likely benefit those who try them as well.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a strenuous weight-training session or a relaxing walk around the park; exercise makes you more alert and energetic and improves your attitude about everything—at work and elsewhere. Your physical health and self-confidence can both improve with regular exercise.
Live in the present
Today is a gift. Appreciate everything you have:
– Your family
– Your health
– Your experiences
You feel more blessed, happier, and joyful when you realize everything you have.
Plan your day
Planning has power because it gives you perspective and control over your life. It enables you to handle the tiny tasks essential to achieving your long-term goals and offers you a broad view of the maze that must be navigated.
Learn to embrace discomfort
To enhance your life, you must step outside of your comfort zone. It would be best if you broke fresh ground. Make it a habit to push yourself outside your comfort zone.
– Read more books
– Start working out
– Choose healthier foods
Affirmations are an effective tool to help us remember our values.
They begin to appear in your life when you repeat them frequently.
Positive words of Affirmation:
-I am in command of my life
– Today will be a fantastic day!
– I can achieve anything I want
-I am capable of anything
Because of these five habits, I have become a healthier and happier person. If you need help implementing these, please come to my office hours (Wednesdays 11:00am-3:00pm), and I would gladly help you.
by: Casey Tiernan, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader
Are you feeling detached? Fatigued? Having difficulty concentrating? These could be signs you are experiencing a burnout. Burnout is when one’s health becomes completely exhausted through overwork, lack of adequate social support, taking on more than one can handle, and poor self-care.
There are physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of burnout. All of these symptoms of burnout are important to notice early on. Physical symptoms include feeling tired and drained most of the time, lowered immunity, frequent illnesses, frequent headaches or muscle pain, and change in appetite or sleep habits. Emotional symptoms include a sense of failure or self-doubt, feeling helpless, detached from the world, no motivation, and having a negative outlook. Behavioral symptoms include withdrawing from responsibilities, isolating yourself, procrastinating, substance and alcohol use, and skipping work.
Burnout reduces productivity and drains all your energy, which can leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, and cynical. The negative effects of burnout impact daily home, work, and social life. It can lead to anxiety, headaches, lack of sleep, and a change in your outlook on life. Studies have also linked burnout to an increased likelihood of Type II diabetes, male infertility, sleep disorders and musculoskeletal disorders among those with extreme physical, emotional, and mental fatigue.
There are ways you can avoid or help burnout. It is important to take breaks throughout your day to give your brain time to rest and replenish. Another thing to help is to seek support. This could be a coworker, friend, loved one, or someone from Counseling Services, to help you cope. I find when I am feeling burnout, I like to take a day to work on self-care and disconnect from all school work and focus on myself. This allows me to refresh and take a break from feeling overwhelmed. Other tips to avoid burnout include disconnecting from technology before bed, getting some exercise, mindfulness, and trying a relaxing activity such as reading.
Remember: If you are feeling this way, take a step back and focus on you!
Remember: If you are feeling this way, take a step back and focus on you!