(Photo by Chris Higa)
CONGRATS! YOU MADE IT THROUGH FINALS! Now get out of your room, get out of your house or apartment, get out of the library and catch some rays!!!
Not only does sunlight stimulate vitamin D production, which is essential for health, but it boosts the immune system, maintains heart and muscle strength, and keeps you feeling happier.
If you are an average American, you spend roughly 90% of your time indoors, away from natural light. Yet a continuous dependence on artificial light can result in feelings of fatigue, gloom, change in appetite, and fitful sleep! Talk about a dim reality.
The power of light to rejuvenate the body and mind – treating everything from lethargy to “winter blahs” to multiple sclerosis – has been utilized for thousands of years. Nowadays, scientific research reveals evidence of the correlation. A study conducted right here at UCSD by Daniel Kripke demonstrates that sun rays effectively penetrate depression!
Spend about 20 minutes a day basking in the sun, with maximum skin surface area exposure and without sunscreen or shades. (By the way, most sunscreens contain a chemical called Oxybenzone, which is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.)
A little sun goes a long way… Brighten your day with natural rays!
Read Dr. Kripke’s enlightening tale! http://www.brightenyourlife.info/
(Written by Gina Tang, Former Zone Intern)
Much happiness and well-being comes from basic self-care.
A very observant individual once said, “a person needs seven hours of sleep. No more, no less.”
Real life is not an exact science; sometimes that magic number seven does vary, more or less. But keep it in the foreground of your fundamental functioning. Without adequate energy to operate effectively, a sleep-deprived person tends to be more restless, irritable, and impulsive. The body and mind are generally weakened, and more prone to physical sickness and/or depression. Sleep deprivation decreases motivation, concentration, attention, and coherent reasoning. It decreases memory, self-control, and speed of thinking while increasing the frequency of mistakes and stubbed toes. Why torture yourself?
Ever on the go, we grow accustomed to operating on minimal Zzzz’s. However, given its wide-reaching impact on health and happiness, satisfaction and success, it’s worth making sleep sacred. Here are some ideas for getting a better night’s rest:
- Give yourself a bedtime, and be ready for bed well before then.
- make your room dark and turn EVERYTHING off.
- Have a journal near your bed. If your mind is full, empty it out. If you are thinking about what you need to do the next day, make a quick list of what you need to remember.
- Tidy up your bedroom. Clutter is not relaxing.
- Get enough exercise. Studies have shown that people who get their hearts pumping during the day sleep better at night. It also pumps endorphins into your body, uplifting your mood.
- Avoid stimulation right before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea with caffeine, Facebooking or eating a bowl of sweetened cereal.
Written by Gina Tang
Take a Time Out—
Outside, that is. The power of nature to bring you back into positive alignment is amazing. Reset your system—clogged with artificial light and glaring screens—by going out into the fresh air and sunshine, among the trees, grass, birds, and breeze…
Maintaining a strong connection with nature has been shown to reduce stress. It is also correlated with longer attention spans and an ability to think more clearly. It calms the nerves, soothes the spirit, and generally lightens the load.
Just because it’s winter time doesn’t mean you can’t explore the outdoors! Hit the beach, blaze the trails, or find yourself a nice tree to sit with. Listen to the birds, watch the squirrels. Nature is right under your nose.
Looking a person in the eye is the first step toward a positive impression and interaction. It establishes an instant cord of contact, a signal that says, “I’m here.”
Dr. Roel Vertegaal recently completed extensive research on the effects of eye gazing, and found evidence to suggest a strong link between the amounts of eye contact people receive and their degree of participation in group communications. The study shows that greater eye contact leads to increased conversation and group problem-solving ability.
In short, eye contact helps us feel connected to others. The impact this simple gesture has on happiness is profound: when we look at each other, we empower ourselves!
-Practice making eye contact when you say “hello.”
-Make eye contact at strangers as you pass (and smile).
-When listening to somebody speak, show your attention with eye contact.
“Basic human contact - the meeting of eyes, the exchanging of words - is to the psyche what oxygen is to the brain. If you’re feeling abandoned by the world, interact with anyone you can.” –Martha Beck
For many people — especially college students — the term, “long distance relationships” is most often affiliated with maintaining the bond between their significant other, whether it may be a relationship sustained between two university students, or even a partner who is older and working full-time somewhere many miles away.
But often times — especially for college students — we frequently forget the other long distance relationship that is as equally as important to keep together: the one with our family.
Too many times do we let our commitments — midterms, projects, club activities, work, social lives — become reasons or excuses not to call home and check-in with our parents; to see how our brother is doing at his new job; to make sure that our sister is surviving high school.
Everything that constantly goes on around us at school makes it just that much easier to subdue the feelings of home-sickness that we have all inevitably felt at some point during college.
It’s understandable — we all have busy schedules and a self-made promise to live up to the hype of “college life” — that we will make the next four years spent here the best and most unforgettable time of our lives before we head out to the real world. But we also have to remind ourselves that these four years spent away from home are four years of family-time we will never get back.
Maybe our family members will not explicitly say to us that they miss us, that they think of us often, hope that we are doing well and wish that we would go back and visit home soon. But these are all thoughts that constantly circle around their minds, a reoccurring worry about their children or siblings that they face day-to-day.
So why not put their mind and heart at ease? The Zone challenges you to give your family a phone-call at least once a week so they know how you have been doing, shoot them a text to let them know that you are thinking of them, send a care-package home with a hand-written letter, or maybe video-chat them so they can see your new place. Because to your family, every little effort that you make to show them that you love and care for them counts, and means so much more to them than your grades or accomplishments ever will.
College is a place where we learn how to take care of ourselves and become more independent. But, more than anything, college is also a time when we begin to learn and experience the importance of caring for others. And who else is more deserving of this affection and attention than our very own family?
Reply to this post with your favorite family photo and an accompanying caption completing the phrase: “My favorite family memory is…”
Sound Sleep, Sound Mind on Flickr.
Never underestimate the power of sleep!
In a study published by The New York Times, researcher Dr. Kahneman and colleagues found that, more than income or job security, a good night’s rest has the greatest impact on mood.
That being said, most people aren’t getting the sleep they need to feel their best—and the cell phone and/or computer may be a culprit. “Unfortunately, cell phones and computers, which make our lives more productive and enjoyable, may be abused to the point that they contribute to getting less sleep at night leaving millions of Americans functioning poorly the next day,” Russell Rosenberg, the vice chairman of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), says.
Consider this: exposure to artificial light before going to bed can increase alertness and suppress the release of melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone. In addition, wireless network devices operate at high frequencies, which can excite, and disrupt, living tissue.
Nearly 95 percent of people questioned in an NSF study said they used some type of electronics in the hour before going to bed, and about two-thirds admitted they do not get enough sleep during the week. Give your body and mind a break by unplugging from your screens in the evening. Turn Z’s into A’s!!
For a helping hand, check out: http://helpguide.org/life/sleep_tips.htm
Our blog post this week is located within the image itself. Read it, Inspire, Flourish.
Source: “AT&T Commercial - “Warming Up.” YouTube. Jul 16 2012. Aug 1 2012. <http://youtu.be/ew95aGGrWlg>.
From a nice hot shower to a jump into the ocean, water is nature’s natural healer!
…And it’s no surprise, considering that the body itself is mostly water—just like the earth.
When you take the plunge, nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body, where they work wonders: stimulating the immune system, influencingthe production of stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity.
The transformational power of water is based on temperature and tempo. Heat soothes and relaxes the body, while cold stimulates and invigorates. Something as simple as a hot compress on the back of the neck can do the trick when you’re tense, and a cold face washing can snap you into it when you’re out of it. The motion of water against your skin triggers touch responses, and has a messaging effect (like jet bubbles in a hot tub, or the gentle pushing and pulling of waves).
Yet another enlightening point to consider: When you’re submerged in a bath, a pool, or the ocean, your body is relieved from the constant pull of gravity.
Take a load off!
(Written by Gina Tang, former intern for The Zone)
Read more about hydrotherapy here: http://www.holistic-online.com/hydrotherapy.htm
IT’S SUMMER!!! That means parties, beaches, iced tea, time out in the sun- it’s also a time of increased temperatures and dehydration. What does that mean? WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER. We need to remember to drink water! Here’s a fun fact: The Zone was the first location on the UC San Diego campus to have the water hydration station! Since then, they have appeared in a number of places around campus such as Porter’s Pub, the dining halls, the Price Center Theatre, and more. The hydration station enables students to refill their water bottles easily, (and not have to take up a huge chunk of time using a slow water fountain as the line behind you gets longer and longer… yeah you know what I’m talking about) it’s filtered, and it helps encourage reduction of waste from disposable water bottles.
Hmm…WHY should I drink water?
The human body is mostly made up of water. According to USGS, “Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature”(1).
Water helps lubricate joints, keep muscles pliable; drinking cold water can actually help kick start people’s metabolism into gear and help burn more calories! (which should be reason enough to start drinking cold water, right?) Water can also help weed off headaches and help people manage their hunger. Furthermore, cups of water at restaurants are free, which can be easy on the pocket book & credit cards for us broke college students. With all this information, we have to be mindful of what kinds of things rob us of this unique and important element in our bodies: excessive salt & sugar intake, energy drinks, caffeine and alcohol are among the top things that dehydrate us college students. It is important to remember to consume water to compensate for the things listed above so we don’t end up with those headaches, excessive tiredness, and hangovers.
Okay… How much?
A good gauge is when you feel thirsty, however, our Zone intern’s wellness tip is “1/2 your body weight in ounces.”(recommended from a doctor). That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a fish and drinking water is your only source of hydration; You can also get your water from fruits and vegetables as well. Be mindful of the sugar content of the fruits you eat though!
Cool! What now?
So the next time you are about to take a sip of that soda, coffee, and or energy drink, or adult beverage, make sure to remember what your body has done for you and at least give it the hydration it deserves. The Zone has a hydration station in its facility for a reason! =)
(Written by Chris Higa, Senior) #goodlife
1. Perlman, Howard. “The Water In You”. 18 Apr 2012. 7 Jul 2012.
If there is one thing that all of us are looking for, despite our differing interests, goals, values, and interactions, that one thing is happiness. Happiness is an experience. Happiness is sometimes smiling, sometimes laughing, but always being filled with warmth. It is a power that transforms a black and white world into one of bright and vivid color. Happiness is pride in our achievements and in our efforts. At times, our sheer happiness gives us the goosebumps, while at others the intensity brings us to tears. Happiness can be dancing and singing, speaking and doing. And, happiness can be silence and calm, listening and seeing. Happiness feels good.
So, how can we be happier? How can we attain this state of euphoria? Let’s look at what some of the wise have said about pursuing this ever-elusive state.
“A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him”.
The Swiss philosopher Kierkegaard had a good point. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are physical beings. We find comfort in material things and this pushes us to believe that our sources of happiness are external, or in our environment. We love to buy luxury items like sports cars, we love to constantly upgrade to bigger and better houses, and we have an insatiable fondness for technology. But who’s to say that these things do not bring happiness? In actuality, we do feel good when we ride in our leather seated Mercedes Benz. We smile wholeheartedly when we give our friends a tour of our beautiful house. And we undoubtedly enjoy the accessibility of information and “fun” on our advanced smartphones.
But what happens when become mentally discontent? What if we are riding in our new Mercedes Benz and get a phone call alerting us of mortal news? What if we come home to find out that the home we considered a sanctuary was robbed? What if we receive a daunting email on an iPhone announcing termination from our job? All of these events happen, and when they do they cause mental discontent, worry, sadness, and depression. And, during this melancholic time, our material possessions become unimportant. What becomes important is the realization that the key to happiness is really inside of us.
What does this even mean, that happiness is inside of us? Basically, happiness will have ups and downs if we stay dependent on our surroundings. If we only like sunny weather, we are ensuring that we will be unhappy every day that it is rainy, or cloudy, or snowy. If tell ourselves that we will only be happy when we are successful, we are setting ourselves up for sadness any time we may fail. However, if we are at peace with ourselves, we can maintain some constancy in happiness. This peace comes with a satisfaction that we are making our own choices, a pride in the fact that we are doing our best, and the realization that though we may not have control on our world and our environment, we have control on both our perception of events and our response. True happiness stems from not material things, but from within, from looking at yourself.
“There is only one success - to spend your life in your own way.”
- Christopher Morley
Morley, an intelligent scholar and writer of the 20th century, so concisely put it. Life should be spent in your own way, with you as the artist and your life as your painting; you have ownership in it and taking that responsibility will lead to self-satisfaction and a state of happiness. But this is easier said than done.
Day to day, we are constantly making decisions. We make little decisions on what to wear, how to do our hair, what to eat, who to talk to, and where to go. And, we also make larger decisions more on the lines of goals. We decide how much we want to educate ourselves, what career we want to pursue, what kind of lifestyle we want to maintain, and what kind of relationships we want to have. When we were young children, our parents would make practically all of these choices for us, which was necessary as we did not have the experience or logical skills to figure those things our by ourselves. They would dress us in the morning, feed us throughout the day, arrange play-dates, and encourage us to be professions that they respected. But, ultimately we develop and transition to the point of independence where we are self-accountable, yet we are often still severely influenced by those around us and close to us; this is to the extent that we are no longer exerting our free will when making decisions. As a result, we blame our failures on our inability to decide and credit our successes to those who advised us.
But this is not the way! We are accountable for our choices and actions and must make them using our own judgment. We can take advice, but must evaluate the suggestions and ultimately be introspective. We must find our own passion, own interests, own aptitudes and own beliefs, from which we must create goals to pursue. And doing this will allow us to gain mental strength and be happy. Being at peace with yourself means making your own well-informed decisions and being satisfied with the outcome because of your pure intention.
“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
- Martha Washington
It is all about the attitude. As Martha Washington, first first lady of the United States, expressed, happiness is most dependent on our attitudes and least on our circumstances. This is very contrary to common belief and our natural way of thinking. It always seems like something happened that made us unhappy. My bike got stolen, and that made me unhappy. I didn’t do well on my exam, and that made me unhappy. I gained weight and that made me unhappy. I had a fight with my friend and that made me unhappy. But, this portrays us as passive, with no control on our situation. This is untrue. We may not have the power to control our circumstances, but we can control how we perceive and respond to them. If my bike gets stolen, I can take the action to report it and do some research to find out if there was anything that I can change (lock etc) to make sure that that doesn’t happen in the future. If I didn’t perform well on an exam, then I must figure out what the reason for the poor performance was and remedy it; that may be lack of preparation or extra needed help, which can easily be fixed by more practice or requesting the assistance of a tutor. If I gained weight, then I should assess my diet and exercise regimen, and make healthy changes to improve my weight and overall wellbeing. And, finally, if I have a fight with my friend, I must listen to the friend and understand where he or she is coming from; with this insight, I can then approach my friend amiably and come to a good compromise that satisfies both of our expectations as well as possible.
Of course, these issues may not be solved immediately or easily, but a positive attitude is empowering and brings the prospect of a solution to what may initially seem like a hopeless situation. This is exactly what they mean by looking at a glass half full instead of half-empty. If the glass was full, you can’t bring back the missing juice; all you can really do is enjoy what’s left! If you have a positive attitude, you have the ability to turn any situation around in a way that brings hope and happiness!
What you can do to get long-term gratification and happiness
1. Find your passion and pursue it. Take some time to really evaluate what you would love to do. Do love to draw? To argue? To help others? To alleviate others’ pain? When you figure this out, make a concrete goal and work towards it. Decide that you want to be an artist, a social worker, or a doctor and focus on that goal. You will enjoy all the time that you put towards achieving this dream and will feel so much pride and satisfaction at achieving it.
2. Find ways that you can use your talents to help others. Work in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a homeless shelter. Find some way that you can make the life of another individual better. This will not only give you the satisfaction of having helped another, but it will also help you to value the basics in your life.
3. Maintain a positive attitude. Staying positive helps you to develop a mental strength; one that gives you the power to overcome obstacles and make the best of every situation. If you every feel that you are falling prey to circumstance, think of what you can do to make the situation better and come out on top.
4. Make you own choices. You are accountable for your life, actions and behaviors. So make your own decisions. Take advice, but use your judgment to decide whether to implement it. At the end of the day, you will be happy, knowing that you are being you!
5. Work hard. Always do your best! If you put your all into everything that you do, you will never have any regrets. You will be very happy with yourself and with your abilities, a feeling that is truly priceless.
6. Play hard. Work hard, but make sure to take a break! Smile, laugh, play games, hang out with your friends. Treat yourself once in a while to tell yourself how great you are.
(written by Damini Tandon 2nd year student @ UCSD)
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent” - Victor Hugo
Join us for our 2nd Open Mic Night this quarter!
Wednesday, May 16th from 5-6pm at The Zone! Good coffee, music and company! And it’s all free!
May is Occupational Wellness Month!
Here’s the tip of the week on how to stay occupationally well:
“When you’re networking, keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.”
For more networking tips, visit here!
THE GOOD LIFE MAGAZINE LAUNCH
Check out the first edition of the Health, Recreation and Well-Being Cluster’s online magazine, The Good Life.
Formerly known as “LiveWell”, “The Good Life” is UCSD’s newest online publication created upon the collaborative efforts of the Health, Recreation and Well-Being Cluster’s staff and volunteers based on submissions from UCSD staff, students, faculty and alumni. Interested in submitting your stories, articles, poems, recipes, photos or artwork for the next issue of The Good Life? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details !
Need an incredibly fun and free way to relax and de-stress before or after midterms? Join us for UCSD’s first ever Good Life Festival!
On May 3rd, from 5-9pm in Matthews Quad and Towne Square, there will be endless games and activities, such as inflatable jousting, super mega obstacle course, beer goggle cart races and aqua bubble rollers!
In addition, there will be a live student DJ, live art wall, photo booth, henna tattoo artists, chair massages, free food/drink booths, prizes and giveaways!
For more information, please visit http://zone.ucsd.edu/goodlife/!
Brought to you by the Health, Recreation and Well-Being Cluster (The Zone, Student Health Services, Recreation, Counseling and Psychology Services, & Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention Resource Center!)
LET’S BE HONEST. We are under a variety of pressures to perform in ways that may or may not feel natural, or even pleasant.
With global warming, economic depression, rampant poverty, and toxic bioaccumulation…
Not to mention a pile of dirty laundry five feet high, arguing with a significant other, losing your keys again, overdue assignments, and upcoming exams…
You’re basically running the vehicle that is your body under extreme conditions. It’s perfectly predictable that at some point, you’re gonna break down. There will be a day where you just can’t go on with business as usual, because you’re feeling depressed, tired, anxious, or just plain angry. When you just want to stick out your tongue at the world and quit.
Because, despite what other people may say, it’s completely okay to unwind and let yourself have a bad day. Listen to what your body and emotions are saying and allow your feelings to speak for themselves. [Photo by Natalie Wong]
Our cultural standards for excellence seem to make us feel weak and useless in these moments of frustration. Like we are supposed to keep our chins up and our feet pumping at all times. So that, when we have a bad day, we actually feel worst about the fact that we feel bad; like we are letting ourselves or each other down. The expectation that an ideal life experience is always positive and happy and smiling isn’t reasonable. In fact, as Khalil Gibran points out, joy and suffering are two sides of the same coin. You can’t truly feel one without the other. The bad days carve the space within us to appreciate the good ones, and the good ones create the contrast that let the bad ones stink so much.
Here’s the question: when your body/mind is asking for a time-out, instead of feeling resentful, why not embrace it? Since you aren’t going to get much done anyway, you might as well announce, “I feel like %&@# today.” And then take care of yourself. Watch a funny movie, read a book for pleasure, make a fun social plan. If your frustration is the direct result of an outstanding issue that needs to be addressed, allow your feelings to guide you to an appropriate and honest response. You’ll find that the resistance passes much more quickly.
Then you can get back to work.
written by Gina Tang