Category Archives: health & well being

all things related to staying well so you can be at your best

Your Mood, Your Body


Here at Appalachian, we know you are capable of great academic work.  But we also know that in order to reach your academic potential you’ve got to attend to your health and overall well-being.  That’s why the Counseling Center has created a series of events for you this semester.  You can come by and test your mood (Wed, Feb 10), consider improving your body image (Wed, Feb 24), consider how to take care of and talk about your mental health (Wed, Mar 23), and explore how to relate to others well (Wed, Apr 6) and take advantage of the rejuvenating powers of being outdoors (Thur, Apr 14).

wellness workshops 2016 (2)

Your Well-Being in Mind


Welcome to First Year Seminar! This may or may not be your first semester at Appalachian, but either way I predict you’re already sensing the mountain of work you’ll have this semester and also learning of the many compelling opportunities–social, academic, travel, etc–that will require your time and energy.

If you’re a person who needs no sleep or who’s good at multitasking, this won’t be overwhelming. But most students need to find an approach to all the activities asking for their attention.

When I was in college, going to hear a band or watching Cheers on television Thursday nights was always a tempting distraction from my work. Talking to roommates was also a potential distraction. But there were easy ways to control these distractions. If I went to the library or a study room somewhere, my friends were not there to talk to. If it wasn’t Thursday night, there was no band playing and Cheers wasn’t on TV.

How different it is today! In your quiet study room you might text, call, or Skype with your friends. On the very laptop you’re using to look up sources for a research paper you’ve got to write you can watch any episode of Cheers (or Big Bang Theory or Arrested Development) you want. Even the music you want to hear can come through the device you’re using for homework. Shutting out distractions is far more challenging for students in the wired world.

Prof. David M. Levy, author of Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives (2016, Yale University Press), argues that most people have allowed their online activities to be controlled by unconscious habits and unexamined rules. If you’ve found yourself “on” your computer for hours on end without actually accomplishing what you set out to do, or surfing along mindlessly in a sort of Internet blackout, you might find Levy’s suggestions useful. He suggests the following exercise to help you bring greater attention to your activities:

• Practice your ability to maintain focus on one task.
• Notice what typically distracts you from the task you want to focus on.
• Notice what actions or environmental conditions help you stay focused.
• Decide how you want to adopt a more focused approach to the task.

Ultimately, approaching tasks with careful attention will help you “waste” less time and enable you to find time for socializing, for exercising, and for eating and sleeping.

Your Well-Being Needs Matter! Take this Survey!


Appalachian State initiated our campus wellness assessments this week and want you to participate!!

Already 500 students have participated.  The data gathered will be used to guide the university’s wellness and prevention efforts for the next two years.  More specifically, this data will help us address student needs as they relate to health, safety, and well-being.

Your participation is completely voluntary and is by no means associated with your academic standing with the University. Furthermore, all survey submissions are anonymous and no identifying information will be gathered that can be linked to responses.

If you have previously completed this survey we ask that you do not attempt to complete it again.

Here is where you access to online survey:

If you have questions or concerns regarding the Wellness Assessment please feel free to contact Alex F. Howard (, Director of the Department of Wellness and Prevention Services.

Wind Down on Wednesdays! With Art! Free!


The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street is now offering a free weekly “Wind-Down Wednesdays” event on –yes–Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm for students. It’s free and it’s just for students.  Go there for a free look at the gorgeous art in their gorgeous space and do the 20-minuted guided meditation and make art! All art supplies are there for you.  I mean, what’s not to love about this?

NOT the Way to Blow Your Mind: Student Drug Overdoses


Twelve Wesleyan University students and friends were taken by ambulance to the hospital in critical condition this week because, according to this New York Times article, they took an illegal drug known as Molly, a club drug also known, in various forms, as MDMA or Ecstasy.

Now, research has shown that younger people take more risks and worry less about consequences than older people.  No doubt these Wesleyan students and the friends at their parties last Saturday night thought they’d have a harmless night of fun with a feel-good mind-altering substance.  But what happened to these young people serves as a serious cautionary tale.

You’re at Appalachian to get smarter and grow as a person socially, emotionally, intellectually, artistically, etc., etc., etc.  And yes, I realize you can find a way to rationalize experimentation with drugs in that scheme.  And no, I have not forgotten that many of you are also here for the access to sexually active single people and perhaps also a good parking spot. But please keep your higher purpose in view while you are living and working here on the Appalachian campus.

We need you in our classes, in our community, and in the world.  And you should be functioning as your best self.  Please take yourself as seriously as we take you.  And remember, you are one of a small number of people in the world who has the privilege of higher education and the life it can open up for you.  We want the experience at Appalachian to blow your mind, and believe the new ideas and connections you make will give you a seriously addicting high.  Don’t blow that for one night of partying. The two highs, and the two lives you could have, really don’t compare.

Skipping Class: A Major Predictor of Failing Class


Did you know that skipping class is the best predictor that you’ll flunk?  So even if you don’t feel bad wasting your tuition dollars (or the taxpayers’ dollars) when you skip class, you probably ought to attend class regularly just so you don’t flunk out.

When I spoke with some academic advisors, they said that students who are on academic probation because of bad grades routinely attribute the problem to not attending class.

While it can be tempting to skip class when you’re feeling down, keep in mind that once you’re there you’re part of a learning community that might just lift your spirits. I mean, will it really help things to stay in your dorm under the covers feeling sad and blue?

Moreover, once a student starts to skip class they can end up too embarrassed to show up and start trying again, thereby starting a vicious cycle they might not get out of.  If you’ve already missed too many meetings of a class (or classes), DON’T GIVE UP– SHOW UP!

Test your mOOd


When I was a kid, in the 70s, I wore a mood ring.  The stone on such a ring changed colors according to your mood (or so we aspiring preteen hippies thought).  Today, you can actually go TEST your mood with sciencey stuff.  Any time from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Thursday, October 9th, in the Student Union’s Calloway Peak room, you can walk in and get a free mood test (which is groovy talk for mental health screening that’s given by the ASU Counseling Center).  By the time I got to college, mood rings were passé but nothing had replaced the real value there is in checking in with and about your inner state.  College can present so many new challenges and stresses that is is gOOd to test your mOOd. dOO it.

Test Your Mood

How to StReSs Less


The Counseling Center presents

The Wellness Workshops: Feelin’ Good in the Neighborhood!


Diversity Awareness Challenge

Wed. Sept. 24th1:00-2:00pm Sanford Mall


Test Your Mood: Mental Health Screening Day

Thur., Oct. 9th10:00am-2:00pm Calloway Peak Room/Union


Survive and Thrive: Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training Tues. Oct. 28th 12:30-2:30pm Three Top Mountain Room/Union


Being Real: The Value of Vulnerability

Wed. Nov. 5th7:00-8:15pm Three Top Mountain Room/Union


Extra credit slips will be made available

For more information contact the Counseling Center

262-3180 or