Student Resources

Self-Help Resources

Here are some resources to use on your own. Learn more about some concerns or download some great apps for concentration or anxiety management! Keep checking back. We will be adding new resources throughout the year.

If you have questions or concerns about your own unique situation, please call the Counseling Center and make an appointment to speak with a therapist at 937-229-3141.

Below is a link to many counseling virtual pamphlet that discusses issues facing young adults today.

Dr. Bob's Virtual Pamphlet Collection


Kognito is an interactive role-play simulation for faculty/staff and students that builds awareness, knowledge and skills about mental health and suicide prevention, while preparing users to lead real-life conversations with individuals in distress and connect them with support. Users are introduced to conversation skills and learn effective techniques to approach a student showing signs of distress using non-judgmental language in a manner that avoids giving unsolicited advice. The focus is on expressing care and concern while connecting individuals to resources.

To successfully complete this module, users should anticipate taking at least 30 minutes to appropriately review content and respond to interactive questions.

Access Information:

To access the module visit
You will need to create an account if you're a first-time user with your University of Dayton User ID.  
To access the Faculty/Staff module use enrollment key: udayton
To access the student module use enrollment key: udaytonstudent

We hope you help us enrich the community of care that is an intrinsic piece of our institutional identity. To be successful as an institution, all within the UD community must be involved and take an active role to model an ethos of wellness that destigmatizes mental health issues and educates around mind, body, and spirit issues.  

For questions please contact Sarah DeWitt, Coordinator of Health Education and Wellness Promotion at

Mental Health Does Not Define Me!

Tips for Adjusting to College Life

For many first-year students, the University may be their first experience living away from home for an extended period of time. It is a definite break from home. The individual's usual sources of support are no longer present to facilitate adjustment to the unfamiliar environment. Here are tips for students which may provide realistic expectations concerning living arrangements and social life on campus. In addition, students may benefit from information concerning resources available to them at the Counseling Center.

  1. The first few weeks on campus can be a lonely period. There may be concerns about forming friendships. When new students look around, it may seem that everyone else is self-confident and socially successful. The reality is that everyone is having the same concerns.
  2. If they allow sufficient time, students usually find peers in the university to provide structure and a valuable support system in the new environment. The important thing for the student to remember in meeting new people is to be oneself.
  3. Meaningful, new relationships should not be expected to develop overnight. It took a great deal of time to develop intimacy in high school friendships; the same will be true of intimacy in university friendships.
  4. Increased personal freedom can feel both wonderful and frightening. Students can come and go as they choose with no one to "hassle" them. At the same time, things are no longer predictable. The strange environment with new kinds of procedures and new people can create the sense of being on an emotional roller-coaster. This is normal and to be expected.
  5. Living with roommates can present special, sometimes intense, problems. Negotiating respect of personal property, personal space, sleep, and relaxation needs can be a complex task. The complexity increases when roommates are of different ethnic/cultural backgrounds with very different values. Communicating one's legitimate needs calmly, listening with respect to a roommate's concerns, and being willing to compromise to meet each other's most important needs can promote resolution of issues.
  6. It is unrealistic to expect that roommates will be best friends. Roommates may work out mutually satisfying living arrangements, but the reality is that each may tend to have his or her own circle of friends.
  7. College classes are a great deal more difficult than high school classes. There are more reading assignments, and the exams and papers cover a greater amount of material. Instructors expect students to do more work outside the classroom. In order to survive, the student must take responsibility for his or her actions. This means the student needs to follow the course outlines and keep us with the readings. The student must do the initiating. If a class is missed, it is up to the student to borrow lecture notes from someone who was present. If the student is having difficulty with course work, he or she needs to ask for help--ask to do extra work, request an appointment with an academic advisor, or sign up for tutoring.

Remember that leaving home and attending college can be filled with new challenges and increased responsibilities.  Many students become homesick and lonely.


  • Feelings of sadness or loneliness
  • Sense of loss
  • Frequent thoughts or worries about important people back home
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Feeling more vulnerable than usual
  • Feeling unsure if you want to make friends or set up roots at college
  • Experiencing otherwise manageable stressors as much harder to deal with
  • Questioning if you have what it takes to succeed on your own
  • Questioning if going away to college was the best decision
  • Missing the comforts of home (meals, laundry, advice, easy social outlets and support)
  • Feeling “out of your element”

If you have experienced any of these concerns, the good news is that you’re not alone and homesickness typically fades with time. While homesickness is often temporary and in most cases occurs over the first few weeks away from home, some students experience feeling homesick later in the semester, especially after long absences from loved ones or upon concluding brief visits over weekends or holidays.

Often, joining social groups and finding connections on campus can help ease the stress of homesickness. However, it can take time to become comfortable with your new surroundings. We often forget how long it took to create our friend groups at home, so patience is key. Good self-care (sleeping, eating, exercise, and relaxing activities) is essential and finding some support during this process can make a huge difference.


Practically all of us have felt lonely at different points in our lives. At college, this experience is very common, especially if we are just getting started in a new environment. Thus, many students may fear they are not making friends quickly enough and may question how they will ever feel connected on campus. The experience of loneliness is different for each of us, although common themes include feeling: 

  • Unappreciated, unwanted, or undesirable
  • Excluded or alienated from others or activities
  • A lack of support to discuss your concerns and experiences
  • Stuck being alone and pessimistic about improving your friendships
  • A perception that others seem to be “happy” and “have it all figured out”

Because social connection is such a key part of our feelings of happiness and self-worth, people may experience depression, worry, and other negative psychological symptoms if lonely for prolonged periods of time. Loneliness may also contribute to:

  • Low self-esteem or feeling “not good enough”
  • Self-criticism or self-blame for difficulties connecting
  • Self-consciousness and assuming others simply do not want to get to know you (even if you have not really “put yourself out there” to make friends)
  • Withdrawal from potential social opportunities
  • Feelings of isolation, sadness, and anger 

Many of these kinds of reactions are perfectly normal. We often forget that our routines and support systems that served us well in the past took years to grow and develop to our satisfaction. It would be unrealistic expect everything to “click” right away. It may be best to allow ourselves time to adjust and re-evaluate what we might be able to do to help in the meantime.

Easing the Adjustment 

Try out some of these strategies:

  • Plan out and begin to establish routines – know that you may have to adjust these over time
  • Reach out to others in your residence hall
  • Consider joining various campus organizations or clubs
  • Adjust your expectations/timeframes
  • Find room in your schedule for a healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Think back to how you’ve coped with similar situations in the past
  • Try to think more positively – often, this leaves us more open to positive experiences
  • Use campus resources, including the Counseling Center

Starting college has its own set of rewards and challenges.  Below you'll find some great articles to help you have a successful college experience. is designed to be a helpful resource for both students and their parents.

For many first-year students, friendship-building skills can be rusty. This site has good suggestions on how to make friends at school:

This site gives some suggestion to help ease the transition for international students that are trying to adjust to a new school and a life in the U.S.


What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.  It typically begins in childhood and often persists into adulthood

Some symptoms include:

  • Making careless mistakes
  • Not appearing to be listening when spoken to directly
  • Forgetfulness
  • Distractibility
  • Fidgeting
  • Excessive talking
  • Impatience
  • Problems with planning, organization and time management

What if I want to be tested for ADHD?

Qualified professionals use several types of procedures and assessments in testing, like gathering an individual’s developmental and social history, including input from others, such as family, friends, partners, and instructors and formal written and/or computerized assessments. Testing is likely to take some time and financial investment but can be worth it if you have been struggling with symptoms that are affecting your performance in school and other areas of your life.  The UD counseling center does not do any type of assessment for ADHD, provisional or long-term.  We do have an outside referral list for students in need.  The counseling center will see students after they have been diagnosed with ADHD to help with coping skills.

Other Resources:

Dr. Bob's Virtual Pamphlet Collection

Alcohol & Drugs

Drinking a six pack after class. Smoking a joint to unwind. Popping a couple of pills to stay awake. Consuming alcohol or drugs might seem like an acceptable way to relax or cope, but it’s easy to overlook the potential dangers.

Even the “experimental” use of alcohol and drugs can negatively impact a person’s life. Blackouts, overdoses, and accidents can happen even when it seems like things are under control. Alcohol use can slide into abuse and then dependency. People who are dependent on alcohol or drugs may build up a tolerance and need increasing amounts to feel the same effects. They may spend more time obtaining and using them, as well as recovering from their effects. They may find themselves repeatedly unable to quit using substances, even once they recognize that they have a problem.

Could your drinking be a problem?

  • Do you drink or use for a quick pick me up?
  • Do you drink/ use because of boredom?
  • Do you drink to the point of "brown or black out"?
  • Do you drink/ use to fit in?
  • Do you sometimes drink more than you intended?
  • When you drink - do you find yourself in situations you later regret?
  • Do you sometimes feel guilty about your drinking/ use?
  • Do you become angry or agitated when others mention your drinking/ use?
  • Do you drink/ use more than you used to - to get same effects?
  • Do you find yourself skipping work and classes or putting things off because of drinking/ use or thinking about it?
  • Have you been unsuccessful in cutting down?
  • Do you ever drink/ use first thing in the morning?
  • Do you continue drinking/ use despite negative consequences?

If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above or you are concerned about your alcohol use please call the Counseling Center at 937-229-3141 or Community Wellness at 937-229-1233 to schedule and appointment.

If you're still unsure, try taking one of the following free, anonymous self-screeners:

Emotional Wellness Screening

Resources on alcohol & drugs:

UD Community Wellness Services

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Narcotics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous

Dr. Bob's Virtual Pamphlet Collection

Rethinking Drinking

Anger Management

Anger Control

Anger is a very common, normal, and, at times, reasonable response to events in our life. Anger itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but the toll it takes on ourselves and others can be quite harmful, especially when we do not express our emotions in healthy ways. Anger is a powerful, but often poorly handled, emotion. Frustration, hurt, annoyance, disappointment, harassment and threats may all trigger anger. Knowing how to recognize and express it appropriately can help you handle emergencies, solve problems and even protect your health. However, failure to recognize and understand anger may lead to a variety of problems.

Some experts believe that suppressed anger may cause both anxiety and depression. Unexpressed anger can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behavior patterns, and cause physical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart trouble, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive issues. Uncontrolled anger correlates with crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behavior.

Common Strategies to Manage Anger

First, recognize when you are becoming angry before it builds. If you can, remove yourself from environments that trigger intense anger. It is important to recognize that you anger is a distress signal, not a weapon for attack.

Notice what is going on in your body: blood pressure rising, feeling as though your internal temperature is increasing, tension all over, racing thoughts and a need to do something about it (this is often what gets us into trouble). Anger, like anxiety, provides our body with signals to prepare for something and so, according to our design, it builds and builds. Because anger builds up tension in our bodies, we can counter it by doing the opposite – relaxing and taking a break from the anger. 

  • Go for a walk or exercise
  • Take slow, deep breaths- Count backwards from 10
  • Think of a relaxing image and concentrate on this, imagine waves of calm.
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation- tense individual or whole muscle groups for a few seconds and notice what your muscles feel like immediately after, when not tensed.
  • Practice meditation, yoga or mindfulness

How do I know if I have a problem with anger?

  • You feel (or fear) being out of control when you are angry.
  • You often feel tense, irritable or frustrated.
  • You find yourself frequently gossiping or complaining about others rather than speaking to them directly about what is bothering you.
  • You frequently feel hurt or resentful that others treat you unfairly.
  • You hurt others, especially those you care about, by demeaning or putting them down, cursing at them, or being verbally abusive. You end up regretting something you said or did when angry.
  • You take out your anger on someone or something else rather than the person or situation that is bothering you.
  • You have physically lashed out when angry (e.g. destroyed property, hit someone, etc.).
  • You have lost or are in danger of losing a relationship, job, or something else important to you because of your anger.
  • You have been arrested or have legal difficulties because of your anger.
  • You use alcohol or drugs to try and calm your emotions.
  • Others (e.g. friends, family, professors, academic administrators, and bosses) have expressed concern about your anger.

 Anger Resources:

Controlling your Anger Before it Controls You

Anger and Aggression

10 Tips to Tame your Temper

Introduction to Anger Management

Anxiety Disorders & Panic

Nearly everyone experiences some degree of stress during their college years. The multiple obligations of studying for exams, writing papers, friend or relationship issues, family concerns, participation in athletics, Greek life and other campus activities can contribute to feeling pressured and anxious. Anxiety can be a completely normal response to stress. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it’s out of proportion to what’s going on or is impossible to control. Everyone feels anxious in certain situations. Some people become nervous or jittery when they’re talking to strangers, taking a particularly hard exam, or waiting to hear whether a job will pan out. Anxiety that pops up now and then is a natural part of life, and can be a completely normal response to stress.

However, anxiety disorders differ from normal stress in that symptoms such as worry, panic and/or physical discomfort are more intense and frequent and persist even when the situational pressures of life lesson. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it’s out of proportion to what’s going on or is impossible to control. Anxiety can feel so overwhelming that it can interfere with working, studying, interacting with people or inhibits you from relaxing and experiencing a sense of enjoyment and well-being.  It can be a real medical condition, developing from a complex set of biological and environmental factors, including genetics, biochemistry, and traumatic life events.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders comprise the most common mental health diagnosis in the U.S. Approximately 1 in 9 people suffer from an anxiety disorder at any given time. It is important to diagnose and treat an anxiety disorder that develops or worsens during the college years to help prevent the problem from becoming chronic and continuing into later life. There are several types of anxiety disorders, and each has its own set of common symptoms:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People with generalized anxiety experience excessive and uncontrollable worries about everyday things. GAD sufferers spend a lot of time dwelling on “what if?” and imagining the worst possible outcomes. Their anxiety is usually disproportionate to the source of worry—concerns that most people find manageable can feel like insurmountable obstacles. This anxiety interferes with day-to-day life and can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, trembling, and fidgeting.

ADAA Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People with OCD experience intrusive, repetitive thoughts called obsessions. In turn, the obsessions can sometimes trigger compulsive or routine behaviors meant to prevent an imaginary dreaded event. For example, OCD sufferers may wash their hands repeatedly because of an irrational fear of germs, or will check doors over and over to be sure they’re locked. OCD can be an extremely disabling illness that interferes with work, school, and social obligations. A person with OCD knows that their thoughts and behaviors don’t make sense, but is unable to control them adequately.

What is OCD?

Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks, in which a person feels extreme physical anxiety that can last several minutes. Symptoms of a panic attack can include shortness of breath, sweating, and feeling disoriented. Many times, people don’t realize they’re having a panic attack, and will show up at the doctor’s office thinking they’re very ill. Panic disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood, but not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Many people have just one attack and never have another.

Panic Disorders

Screening for Panic Disorders

ADAA's Panic Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, or violent assault. Brain imaging studies show that a part of the brain critical to memory and emotion appears to be different in people with PTSD. These changes are thought to be responsible for intrusive memories and flashbacks that occur in people with this disorder. PTSD flashbacks may be so strong that individuals feel like they are actually re-living the traumatic event.

A phobia is the excessive or unreasonable fear of something that actually presents little or no danger. Phobias can take many forms; common forms are fear of heights and fear of animals. A person suffering from a phobia may go to great lengths to avoid the feared object or situation, which can prolong or worsen the phobia. Approximately 5 -10% of the US population has one or more phobias. People with phobias, particularly social phobia, may also have problems with substance abuse.


Phobia Screening

ADAA Phobias

Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder causes a person distress in social situations. It’s an extreme form of shyness. The socially anxious person can’t relax or “take it easy” around people. They feel so self-conscious about being judged by others that they’ll go out of their way to avoid talking to people or mingling in a group. Social anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as trembling, nausea and sweating in social settings.

Social Anxiety

Signs and Symptoms

Because anxiety appears in so many different conditions, it can look very different from person to person. Some people express their anxiety emotionally while others show signs of physical distress. The unifying factor, however, is a sense of overwhelming, irrational fear. Here are some signs that someone is experiencing anxiety:

  • Excessive worry with an inability to control it
  • Intense episodes of fear or panic
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Repeated, unwanted thoughts or obsessions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Upsetting, intrusive memories of a traumatic event
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, rapid heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, shaking, dizziness, numbness, or difficulty breathing

Getting Help

If you or someone you know may have an anxiety disorder, contact the Counseling Center for tips on anxiety-management techniques especially if thoughts of suicide are present. With proper treatment, an anxiety disorder shouldn’t stand in the way of a successful, productive life.

Tips for Coping with an Anxiety Disorder:

  • Get enough sleep, good nutrition, and regular exercise.
  • Avoid or limit your consumption of caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants. Likewise, limit your alcohol intake, as alcohol interferes with your sleep.
  • Relaxation exercises.
  • Stress management techniques to reduce anxiety.
  • Guided imagery, deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety.
  • Reach out to people who care about you and talk about what's making you anxious.
  • Counseling and medications are also effective.
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Contact the Counseling Center for tips on anxiety management.

Anxiety Resources:

Anxiety Disorders

APA Anxiety Disorders

Understanding the Facts of Anxiety Disorders


Everyone feels down or sad from time to time and these feelings usually pass within hours or days. However, for a person who has depression, these feelings are intense and interfere with daily living. Unlike a case of the blues, depression often involves persistent feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and irritability. People with depression tend to lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, feel fatigued, have trouble concentrating, and have problems with sleep and appetite. Sometimes they even have thoughts of not wanting to live anymore. When sadness becomes too much to handle or lingers for a long time, it may be a sign of depression.

Depression is a medical condition that can affect people’s ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves. It can be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry. But it can also be triggered by stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, loss, and school or relationship difficulties. Tackling the root of depression through counseling and sometimes medication is important for the well-being of the person. In fact, depression not only causes emotional changes but also affects behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity and the ability to handle everyday situations.

Not everyone experiences depression in the same way. Depressed people may appear withdrawn and despondent, or they may be aggressive and self-destructive. Some people may be depressed about a specific problem, while others feel deeply unhappy without knowing why. Sometimes, a depressed person may even appear “fine” to their friends and family. The common thread, however, is an overwhelming, persistent feeling of despair.

Depression affects about 19 million people in the United States every year. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer depression. It can occur as a one-time incident during a time of distress, or it can recur throughout a person’s life. The first episode of depression often appears during the young adult years.

What causes depression?
Not all causes of depression are known, but scientists generally agree that certain biological and environmental factors increase the likelihood of depression. Studies have shown that individuals with depressed family members are more likely to develop the disorder. Biological factors include personality traits, chemical imbalances in the brain, and changing hormone levels. You are more likely to suffer depression if you are pessimistic, have poor coping skills, or have low self-esteem.

What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression isn’t always easy to spot. Some people primarily experience behavioral changes, some experience mostly emotional changes, and others mainly physical changes. If you experience symptoms of depression for more than two weeks it’s very important to seek help.  Here are some warning signs that a person may be depressed:


  • Persistently sad, anxious, irritable or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety, guilt
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Physical Changes

  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pains that don’t respond to medical treatment

Behavioral Changes

  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Impaired ability to concentrate, remember, or make decisions
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Abusing alcohol and/or drugs to feel “better”

What is the treatment for depression?
The good news is that depression is highly treatable. There are many available methods to treat depression, including counseling and medication, if necessary. A good therapist can help you modify behavioral and emotional patterns that contribute to your illness. Between 80 and 90% of people who are treated for depression experience significant improvement and almost all individuals gain some relief from their symptoms. It’s important to realize that depression can last months or even years, if left untreated. If you or someone you know may be depressed, contact the counseling center at 937-229-3141 to speak with a therapist.

People who are depressed sometimes think about suicide. It’s important to seek help immediately if you or someone you know is having these thoughts.

What can I do to relieve feelings of depression?
Many find exercise helpful in relieving depression. Others find help through laughter, perhaps from a funny movie, and hanging around people they like. Avoid pessimists who worry excessively. Participate in activities you enjoy, write a journal and keep pictures of your favorite people with you. Do something that you enjoy or have enjoyed in the past!

How can I help a friend who may be depressed?
Having support from friends and family is essential for individuals suffering depression. Remember that you aren’t responsible for your friend’s depression, but you can help alleviate the symptoms. Show you care and want to find help for your friend, your most important role is as a listener. As you listen to your friend, be supportive – don’t deny or minimize your friend’s pain. Be honest that your friend’s behavior worries you because it’s not a trivial problem, but remind him or her that depression is a highly treatable disorder that affects many people. When discussing the subject, stay calm and reach out to the counseling center if you start getting frustrated by your friend’s denial or lack of change.
With intervention, people can successfully recover from depression. If you or someone you know might be struggling with these kinds of feelings, please consider the Counseling Center as a resource.

Not sure if you are depressed?
Take a free anonymous self-assessment.

The following links are intended to provide additional support and information, these resources are not a substitute for counseling.


Eating Disorders and Body Image

What is Body Image?
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:
• What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
• How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
• How you sense and control your body as you move. How you feel in your body, not just about your body.

Negative Body Image
• A distorted perception of your shape--you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
• You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
• You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
• You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.

Positive Body Image
• A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
• You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
• You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
• You feel comfortable and confident in your body.

Body Image and Eating Disorders
People with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss.  We all may have our days when we feel awkward or uncomfortable in our bodies, but the key to developing positive body image is to recognize and respect our natural shape and learn to overpower those negative thoughts and feelings with positive, affirming, and accepting ones.

Ten Steps to Positive Body Image
One list cannot automatically tell you how to turn negative body thoughts into positive body image, but it can help you think about new ways of looking more healthfully and happily at yourself and your body. The more you do that, the more likely you are to feel good about who you are and the body you naturally have.

1. Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you: running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
2. Keep a top-10 list of things you like about yourself -- things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about you.
3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
4. Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you – as a whole person.
5. Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
7. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
8. Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest these messages: write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message.
9. Do something nice for yourself -- something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, and find a peaceful place outside to relax.
10. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others. Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

Eating Disorders
Society emphasizes the importance of physical appearance for success, a goal most college students strive for. Unfortunately, many of the qualities, such as perfectionism and self-discipline that helped students receive admission to UD are also risk factors for the development of eating disorders. Thus, while researchers estimate eating disorders affect 1-2% of the general population, up to 30% of college students experience eating disorder symptoms during their college years.

The development of an eating disorder is not simply the result of a desire to be thin, but the manifestation of deeper emotional and psychological problems. Most notably, people with eating disorders have low self-esteem and lack effective coping mechanisms for dealing with such a distorted self-image. Eating disorders can provide a sense of control and escape, allowing sufferers to temporarily forget depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and guilt. Low self-esteem also plays a role in eating disorders. Anorexics and bulimics often have high expectations of themselves. If they fall short of these expectations, they experience low self-esteem. They often overvalue physical appearance in self-evaluation.

Although eating disorders affect people of all races, genders, sexualities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, they predominantly arise in middle and upper class women. In fact, over 90% of eating disorder patients are women, who are often smart, attractive, and successful. Men involved in weight specific sports, dieting or bodybuilding are at risk of developing disordered eating problems as well.

Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia is an eating disorder where the individual becomes preoccupied with an unhealthy pursuit of weight loss that eventually leads to distortion in body image. No matter how thin they may become, anorexics continue to believe they need to lose weight. To accomplish this desire, they starve themselves, maintain rigorous exercise regimes, and sometimes purge by vomiting, laxatives, or diuretics. Even when weight loss endangers a sufferer’s health she/he may not understand she/he has a problem that must be solved.

Most anorexics desire a sense of control, especially if they experience changes in their lives over which they have no power. Changes that can trigger anorexia may include divorce of one’s parents, receiving unexpectedly low grades, rejection in a peer relationship, having a sports injury, and entering a new school.

What are the signs and symptoms of anorexia?

Behavioral signs include:
• Starvation and restriction of food
• Obsession with food, calories, recipes (cooking for others, but not eating anything themselves)
• Obsessive exercise
• Purging by vomiting, or using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics
• Eating junk food, particularly candy, and drinking a lot of coffee or tea, and/or smoking
• Unusual eating habits (e.g. picking at food, spreading it around the plate, cutting food into tiny pieces)
• Excuses to avoid eating (e.g. “I already ate,” “I’m not feeling well”)
• Hiding food they claimed to have eaten
• Suddenly becoming vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain foods
• Social withdrawal
• Wearing baggy clothes to hide weight loss and keep warm

Physical signs include:
• Weight loss
• Fatigue, muscle weakness
• Always being cold
• Irregular menstruation or amenorrhea (loss of period)
• Fainting spells, dizziness
• Headaches
• Pale complexion

Emotional signs include:
• Persistent concern with body image
• Complaining of being fat, even when thin
• Depression, irritability, mood swings
• Perfectionist attitude

Bulimia involves binge eating followed by purging or fasting. Someone who is bulimic eats an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time and then fasts or purges using laxatives, diuretics, or self-induced vomiting because he or she feels overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Another method bulimics use to cope with such emotion is excessive exercise. Through purging, fasting, and exercise, bulimics hope to regain a sense of control they lacked while bingeing, but unfortunately they end up suffering such hunger that their cravings for food will take hold once again, making binge eating more likely. In contrast to anorexics, bulimics tend to be around average weight and realize they have a problem. The most dangerous health risk posed by Bulimia is cardiac arrest or heart attack due to an electrolyte imbalance of the mineral potassium. Individuals who abuse laxatives will find they can no longer have natural bowel movements, resulting in constipation.

What are the signs and symptoms of bulimia?

Behavioral signs include:
• Binge eating
• Secretive eating
• Going to the bathroom after meals
• Vomiting
• Laxative, diet pill, or diuretic abuse
• Intense exercise regimen
• Fasting

Physical signs include:
• Red, puffy face and watery eyes (from vomiting)
• Weight fluctuations (usually between 10 and 15 lbs.)
• Swollen glands
• Fatigue, muscle weakness
• Tooth decay
• Irregular heartbeats
• Chronic sore throat

Emotional signs include:
• Mood swings
• Depression
• Low self-esteem
• Persistent concern with body image
• Feelings of guilt and shame

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder is similar to Bulimia, but doesn’t involve purging or other compensatory behavior. Patients feel out of control as they ingest large quantities of food without regard to hunger or fullness. Like bulimics, they feel ashamed, disgusted, and guilty afterwards. Binge Eating Disorder may be difficult to detect because sufferers prefer to eat alone due to embarrassment and guilt. Without behavior to compensate for the calories consumed during an episode of bingeing, patients become overweight, suffering health complications similar to those of obesity. In fact, about 25% of obese individuals experience Binge Eating Disorder, which affects slightly more women than men.

What are the signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder?

Behavioral signs include:
• hiding food
• going on many different diets
• secretive eating patterns
• avoidance of social situations where food will be present

Physical signs include:
• weight gain
• fluctuations in weight

Emotional signs include:
• feeling out of control over eating
• low self-esteem
• depression
• anxiety
• loss of sexual desire
• feelings of guilt and shame
• disgusted with self
• suicidal thoughts

Compulsive Eating
When an individual no longer eats food for nutrition or enjoyment, but for emotional reasons ranging from happiness to depression, he or she probably suffers from Compulsive Eating. Similar to victims of other eating disorders, compulsive eaters use eating habits to cope with difficult emotions, or even to celebrate joyful events. They frequently suffer from low self-esteem and depression, hoping food will fill the void, or at least help them escape from feelings of stress, anxiety and anger. Compulsive Eating involves addictive behavior with food.

Parenting is a major factor in the development of Compulsive Eating. If friends and family members offer comfort in the form of food, children will be less likely to develop more effective coping mechanisms. Learning to associate food with emotion initiates a tragic cycle in which the individual turns to food for comfort, but then feels ashamed for gaining weight and not being “good enough.” The more weight that’s gained, the more a victim will try to diet, which unfortunately causes hunger that will lead to another bingeing episode. This cycle of dieting and binging can go on forever unless the emotional attachment to food is broken.

Medical complications of binge eating disorder and compulsive eating:
• obesity
• menstrual irregularities
• diabetes
• high blood pressure
• high cholesterol
• decreased mobility
• shortness of breath
• heart disease, as a result of high triglyceride levels
• gallbladder disease
• cardiac arrest and/or death

Compulsive Exercise
Many people struggle with symptoms associated with compulsive exercise. If you are concerned about your or a loved one's relationship with exercise, please speak with a treatment professional.

What is Compulsive Exercise?
• Exercise that significantly interferes with important activities, occurs at inappropriate times or in inappropriate settings, or when the individual continues to exercise despite injury or other medical complications.
• Intense anxiety, depression and/or distress if unable to exercise.
• Discomfort with rest or inactivity.
• Exercise used to manage emotions.
• Exercise as a means of purging.
• Exercise as permission to eat.
• Exercise that is secretive or hidden.
• Feeling as though you are not good enough, fast enough or not pushing hard enough during a period of exercise.

Warning Signs
• Overtraining.
• Exercise takes place at inappropriate times and places.
• Exercise takes place despite injury or fatigue.
• Depression, anxiety and/or irritability.
• Feeling guilty if not exercising or if a workout is missed.
• Withdrawal from friends and family.

Health Consequences
• Bone density loss.
• Loss of menstrual cycle (in women).
• Female Athlete Triad (in women).
• Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S).
• Persistent muscle soreness.
• Chronic bone & joint pain.
• Increased incidence of injury (overuse injuries, stress fractures, etc.)
• Persistent fatigue and sluggishness.
• Altered resting heart rate.
• Increased frequency of illness & upper respiratory infections.

Did You Know?
• An estimated 90-95% of college students diagnosed with an eating disorder also belong to a fitness facility.
• An estimated 3% of gym-goers have a destructive relationship with exercise. Some studies have found that number may be even higher, including a 2008 Paris study that found that up to 42% of gym-goers have a destructive relationship with exercise.
• A study involving fitness professionals revealed that 100% of the participants believed that they would benefit from further education and guidelines for identifying and addressing eating disorders.
• There is a strong link between exercise compulsion and various forms of eating disorders.

Helping a Friend
Plan to approach your friend directly. Pick a time when both of you are feeling calm and have plenty of time to sit down and chat. Accusations, confrontations, or pleas to change will only result in closing any potential lines of communication. Be sure to tell your friend why you suspect there’s a problem, using “I” statements to point out specific eating and exercise patterns that worry you. Helping a friend with an eating disorder requires a lot of patience because the person is not going to change his or her behavior overnight. However, just talking with your friend and being supportive is an important first step. If you start to get frustrated, ask if you can continue the conversation at another time. Try to anticipate what kind of response your friend is likely to give. It may be one of relief and admission of the problem, but it could be defensive and angry.

Do not ignore symptoms of binging, such as open containers and empty food wrappers. Although bulimics and binge eaters eat secretly, they frequently leave clues about their unhealthy habits, kind of like a cry for help.

It’s important to understand that eating disorders stem from a variety of psychological and emotional issues, and that recovery means far more than breaking habits of starving, bingeing, compulsive exercise, and purging. Sufferers must not only learn how to eat healthy, but also discover and correct the underlying problems that contributed to the development of an eating disorder. Complete recovery can only be achieved with the help of professional doctors and therapists, but you can play an important role as a supportive and encouraging friend.

Reach out and let your friend know that you are concerned, and that there are better ways to deal with life’s problems than stuffing and starving. Encourage professional help, but expect denial and resistance. Don’t dwell on weight or appearance, but discuss health, relationships, and mood. Your friend likely has a distorted body image and will not be persuaded to find help by comments that suggest she is too thin (in fact, she may celebrate such a remark). Be a good listener, don’t give advice unless it is asked for, and be prepared to suggest where your friend may go for help if she wants it.

Finally, you may refer your friend to the Counseling Center.

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can emerge in people of any gender, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, and socioeconomic status. They are potentially life-threatening and involve an array of emotional, cognitive, and physical complications. While eating disorders are centered around extreme behaviors around eating and attitudes about weight and/or shape, they are not just about food-- they typically represent a way for people to avoid or manage difficult emotions, low self-image, protection, or an expression of the person's inner experiences. They are complex, challenging, and worthy of recognition. It is important to remember that even if a person does not meet full diagnostic criteria for a specific eating disorder, their eating concerns may still be serious and warrant treatment.

Getting Help
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for eating disorders, such as counseling and/or medication. To successfully treat an eating disorder, both the emotional and physical symptoms should be addressed. Treatment deals with any medical or nutritional problems, as well as promoting a healthy relationship with food and teaching more positive ways to cope. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, contact the Counseling Center to make an appointment to see a therapist.

From the National Eating Disorders Association

Emotional Health

Ever felt so down you couldn’t concentrate in school or enjoy social activities with your friends? If so, you are not alone. In a recent survey, half of all college students said they had been so stressed that they couldn’t get their work done or enjoy social activities during the last semester. But all of us have the power to take control of our emotional health in order to improve our moods and get the most out of life.

Taking control of your emotional health involves realizing that choices you make about sleep, diet and exercise can have a direct impact on your emotions and state of mind. It also means being proactive when you are concerned about your thoughts or feelings. When unaddressed, mental health problems like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and addiction can make it hard to do well or feel good. The good news is that these problems are treatable and getting help is the first step towards feeling better and moving forward.

Signs and Symptoms
Here are some common signs that a friend needs help dealing with emotional issues or a mental health problem:

  • Depression or apathy that interferes with obligations or participating in social activities
  • Lack of coping skills around day-to-day problems or extreme reactions to certain situations
  • Extreme highs, referred to as mania, that may include rushed thoughts, bursts of energy, sleeplessness and compulsive behavior (like excessive spending or promiscuous sexual behavior)
  • Severe anxiety or stress
  • Constant feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Increased or regular use of alcohol or drugs

Getting Help
The key to taking control of your emotional health is to listen to your body and understand its needs. Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Stay active. Research has shown that people dealing with mild to moderate depression have experienced up to a 50 percent reduction in symptoms after exercising on a regular basis. Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid stressful situations whenever possible and make sure you have the right tools to deal with the situations you can’t avoid. Know your limits when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
Above all else, it’s important to speak up and get things checked out if you are concerned about your thoughts, feelings or behavior.

Below are some helpful self-care tips that are important to remember for staying healthy, both physically and emotionally.

  • Stick to a routine. Get dressed, go to class, keep to the structure you normally have during your day.
  • Eat healthy food regularly. Skipping meals robs you of the energy you need to cope.
  • Talk to supportive friends or family members. Isolating yourself can make things worse.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Note any patterns or questions you’d like to discuss in counseling.
  • Get some sleep. Most people need from 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Do some kind of physical activity that you enjoy. This can be running, swimming, playing sports, working out. Even walks around the campus and neighborhood can help you feel better emotionally and help reduce stress.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to “self-medicate.” This includes caffeine.
  • Find activities that are relaxing or soothing to you. Listen to your favorite music, practice taking deep breaths throughout the day, take hot baths, meditate, or take a long walk.
  • Find humor in life. Spend time with those who make you laugh. Watch a comedy, YouTube or read a funny book.
  • Distract yourself temporarily from your difficulties – watch TV, text a friend, play a game, go outside.
  • Recall what has helped you before in similar situations. Make a list of these things and try to do them.
  • Take an Online Emotional Wellness Screening on the Counseling Center’s website: The screenings are quick and anonymous. Following the screening, you will be able to watch videos and get other tips on how to manage your stress more effectively.
  • Follow the Counseling Center on Twitter @UDStressLess for tips on stress management and maintaining good mental health and emotional wellness.
  • Try an App for anxiety and stress management, relaxation or attention/concentration. Look at our website to see suggested apps or turn this page over.

Grief & Loss

At some point in our lives we all experience loss and with it a time of grief and mourning. Whether through the death of a loved one, divorce or relationship breakup, loss of a pet, loss of a sense of home due to geographic relocation, losses are a part of life. Understanding these emotions is important to moving on.Grief is often experienced as a host of many different emotions; sadness, anger, or happiness when remembering the past.  In addition, there may be complicated feelings of guilt or remorse surrounding times of conflict. Sleep and appetite may also be disrupted during times of grief or mourning.  Many people may experience a numb feeling in the initial days and weeks of loss, with strong feelings emerging weeks or months following the loss. What is important to know and remember is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. While there are common elements in the grief process, we all experience grief differently.

Grief is often experienced as a host of many different emotions; sadness, anger, or happiness when remembering the past.  In addition, there may be complicated feelings of guilt or remorse surrounding times of conflict. Sleep and appetite may also be disrupted during times of grief or mourning.  Many people may experience a numb feeling in the initial days and weeks of loss, with strong feelings emerging weeks or months following the loss. What is important to know and remember is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. While there are common elements in the grief process, we all experience grief differently. In addition to these reactions previously listed, below are some additional reactions that may occur during a time of grief.

Emotional reactions: shock, anger, sadness, blame, numbness, anxiety, loneliness

Physical reactions: fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, sleep changes, appetite changes

Behavioral reactions: seeking support and help, substance abuse, social withdrawal, irritability/shortness with others, clinging to or avoiding reminders of the loved one

Cognitive reactions: forgetfulness, confusion, feeling “out of it,” difficulty concentrating

Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief

These are five typical stages that individuals will encounter when faced with grieving over a loss. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way and they can be in any order.

1. Denial

  • May be the first reaction – disbelief of the news of the death, especially if sudden.
  • Serves to protect us from feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of the news all at once.
  • Gradually decreases as we come to recognize the loss.

2. Anger

  • Sign of upset and wishing the loss did not occur.
  • Often a response to feeling powerless to change the outcome.
  • May be directed at the lost loved one, oneself, or others for not doing enough to prevent the death.

3. Bargaining

  • Wishing one could change what happened and, sometimes, appealing to a higher power to find a way to “make it right”
  • Characterized by feelings of remorse or guilt

4. Depression

  • Once the weight of the loss begins to feel real, these symptoms may occur.
  • Includes sadness, loneliness, low motivation, low energy, poor sleep/appetite.
  • Usually temporary and focused on the impact the loss has on one’s life and future.

5. Acceptance

  • A growing awareness that the loss occurred and cannot be changed.
  • Accepting the loss does not mean that it is acceptable, just that you are aware of it and recognize it carries an impact in your life.

Suggestions to Help Manage Grief

  • Be gentle and patient with yourself, as well as others in their grief.
  • Do not judge yourself for how much/little you are feeling or for how grief impacts you – everyone is different.
  • Avoid making major life decisions during a time a grief,
  • Expect that you may not be as productive at work and that changes in concentration, sleep, energy, motivation and pleasure may all be side-effects of the grief process.
  • Try not to keep all of the emotions in – it helps to talk and get support.
  • Only you know when you’re ready to talk to friends or family, although they may also benefit from your support.
  • Keep up with healthy self-care (sleep, exercise, hobbies, social life).
  • Write down recollections of the loved one you would like to be sure to remember later.
  • Turn to your faith.
  • Consider a support group or counseling – especially if you find yourself feeling particularly down or struggling to manage daily tasks.

Helping Others with Grief

  • Listen with patience and kindness.
  • Often, there is no “right” thing to say – just being present with those who are grieving is helpful.
  • Ask for or offer specific tasks that can help, but do not push and be prepared if nothing comes to mind for the individual.
  • Give the individual time to experience their emotions and do not judge them for how they should be feeling or coping. Remember that everyone grieves differently.
  • Encourage self-care for the individual (e.g., suggest lunch or a walk).

During times of tragedy, it can be hard to know how to cope and/or help others cope. Below are some resources compiled by the Counseling Center to help those affected by tragedy. 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Managing Traumatic Stress: Tips for Recovering from Disasters and Other Traumatic Events

Coping with Grief and Loss

Consider the Living with Loss Support Group run by Campus Ministry if you prefer a group setting with other students who have experienced loss.

Need someone to talk to?

Sometimes talking to family and friends isn't enough. If you are finding this to be true, consider getting professional help to work through your grief. We offer personal counseling at the Counseling Center. Click here to learn how to make an appointment.

Healthy Relationships

Feeling socially connected (to family, friends and the campus community in general) is an essential aspect of the college experience. Having these connections, and therefore a supportive network, can make it easier to handle stressful tasks and deal with emotional setbacks. A lack of meaningful connections with others can have a negative impact not only on your health and wellbeing, but also on your adjustment to college.

If you feel socially disconnected and/or are new to college and looking to meet people, consider joining an organization or a club. UD has a plethora of different groups to choose from, so think of activities and interests that are important to you and look for groups that fit your interests. Reach out to people who are already members to learn more and get a sense of whether or not it’s the right fit for you. We host activity fairs in the beginning of the school year to introduce students to the various organizations and clubs on campus, but don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more at other times, too.

Sometimes we have trouble developing connections and friendships with other people and we aren’t sure why. Try speaking to a therapist at the Counseling Center about your concerns and for a new perspective on why making friends might be a challenge for you.

College can also be a time to develop romantic relationships. Relationships aren’t always easy, but there is never an excuse for violence or abuse in a relationship. If you’re worried that your current relationship might be abusive, visit for information and resources that can be helpful. If you’ve experienced relationship abuse in the past, please visit healing from abuse  for ways to feel better. If you’re worried that your anger and actions might be making someone else feel abused, check out information on breaking that cycle here.

How to tell if you're in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

Abusive relationships occur across racial and socio-economic lines. The "abuser" may be either male or female. Abuse can occur in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

Common characteristics of abusive relationships include:

  • emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse
  • aggression
  • intimidation and control
  • economic domination
  • minimizing, denying, and blaming

The following checklist gives some examples of specific behaviors common in abusive relationships.

Does your partner:

  • Act jealous of your friends, family, past partners, or others in your life?
  • Not see you as an equal (e.g., because he or she is older, or sees him or herself a superior socially or more intelligent)?
  • Prevent you from getting or keeping a job, having access to money, or participating in making financial decisions?
  • Drink or use drugs excessively?
  • Ridicule, embarrass, or humiliate you with bad names, put-downs, or belittling comments?
  • Berate you for not wanting to have sex?
  • Easily lose his or her temper?
  • Make all the decisions, "take over" things you want to handle on your own, or sulk or become angry when you initiate an action or idea?
  • Try to get you drunk or high, or berate you for not wanting to get drunk or high?
  • Lead you to like yourself less or feel bad about yourself after you have been with him or her?
  • Engage in sex with you in a way that feels degrading or humiliating?
  • Throw or break things or destroy your property when angry?
  • Think that in a relationship there are times when violence is okay?
  • Invade your "personal space" (e.g., sits too close, touches you when asked not to, speaks like he or she knows you much better than he or she does)?
  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • Try to run or control your life, such as what you do, where you go, whom you see or talk to, whom you are friends with, or how you should look or dress?
  • Use looks, actions, or gestures that make you scared?
  • Seem like "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," that is, kind one minute and cruel the next?
  • Force you to participate in sex ora sexual act against your will?
  • Get angry if you are not always giving him or her your attention?
  • Threaten to hurt or kill your pets or other people?
  • Use guns, knives, or other weapons to intimidate you?
  • Act angry and threatening to the point that you have changed your life to avoid angering him or her?
  • Acknowledge hitting previous partners?
  • Keep you confined or prevent you from leaving?
  • Use weapons or objects or otherwise act aggressively during sex in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • Ignore you or withhold love and affection in order to get his or her way?
  • Talk negatively about your gender (e.g., "All women are stupid.")
  • Push, shove, slap, kick, bite, choke, pull your hair, throw you across the room or down on the floor or hit you?
  • Play mind games with you or make you think you are crazy?
  • Think that you are "cheating" if you talk to or dance with someone else?
  • Threaten to harm or kill you?
  • Blame you for his or her abusive behavior, act like it is no big deal, or deny it happened?
  • Force you into dropping, or never filing, criminal charges against him or her?

If you recognized any of the characteristics described above in your relationship, you may be in an abusive relationship. It may be important to take some steps to begin the healing process and to plan for your safety. To begin this process, seek the support of a professional (e.g., therapist, support group), call a hotline, or talk to trusted friends or adults.

If you are an abuser, there are people who understand and can help you, if you want it. Tell trusted friends or adults about your problem, call a hotline, or find a therapist or support group.

When to seek additional help:

Therapy is advisable when:

  • You think you are in an abusive relationship or an abuser.
  • You are unhappy in a relationship. Aside from abuse, there are many other reasons why a relationship may be unhealthy, or an unhappy one (e.g., Your partner is: unfaithful, abusing drugs or alcohol, depressed, unable to be emotionally supportive, not wanting the level of commitment that you want, etc.). Also, at times you may discover that you are both wanting very different things out of life or from your relationship, or that your personal goals may be incompatible or incongruous with each other's needs.
  • You are unsure of whether or not you should end a relationship, or when you decide you should end a relationship but are unable to do so.
  • You recognize you have a pattern of staying in bad relationships but you have been unable to change that pattern by yourself.

In addition, even in healthy relationships, intimacy may stir up anxieties and concerns rooted in earlier or previous significant relationships (e.g., fears related to experiences with family members or previous partners, "leftover issues" from childhood). Therapy can help to sort out and understand how anxieties in past relationships get re-experienced and played out in current relationships.

Also, couples may see a therapist together to improve their communication and understanding of each other, and assist in conflict resolution, when the couple's previous attempts have not been successful.

At the Counseling Center, you can have the opportunity to talk with a counselor about your particular relationship difficulties. A consultation with a therapist may help determine whether your relationship difficulties are best addressed individually or in couple’s therapy, and/or provide referrals to other resources.

Stress Management

Stress and Burnout

As a college student, you are certain to be familiar with the term “stressed out.” While you may have a basic understanding of stress, this article will provide you with detailed information on the causes and concerns of stress and how to avoid burnout.

Causes and Concerns
Stress is your body’s physical, emotional, and mental responses to change. People need a certain amount of stress for day-to-day functioning. In most situations, stress is a positive motivation. It provides the extra energy and adrenaline we need to accomplish mental and physical tasks. In excess, however, stress works against the body. If you compare stress to a rubber band; positive stress is just the right amount of stress needed to stretch the band and make it useful. The rubber band snaps when stress is negative and excessive. Negative stress may be caused by things like a strenuous study load or having too many tasks for a short period of time. When conditions like these are compounded by poor sleep and dietary habits, the rubber band gets stretched too far!

When the body is exposed to high levels of negative stress it reacts in several different ways. It has been alluded to that excessive stress may be a key element in half of all illnesses, ranging from the common cold to heart disease. Studies suggest that your stress level affects your immune and nervous systems, heart function, metabolism, and hormone levels. Listed below are a few physical symptoms of stress:

  • Problems eating or sleeping
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Increased boredom or fatigue-the “blahs”
  • Increased procrastination
  • Anxiety or confusion over unimportant events
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to get organized
  • Weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath: “anxiety attacks”
  • Persistent hostile or angry feelings; increased frustration over minor events
  • Nightmares
  • Overpowering urges to cry or run and hide
  • Changes in exercise habits/feeling of lethargy
  • Frequent headaches, backaches, muscle aches, or stomach tightness
  • Frequent indigestion, diarrhea, or urination
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Frequent accidents and minor injuries

Coping with Stress
As a student, you may have experienced some of the symptoms listed above or know someone who has complained of some of these problems. Listed below are several short-term and long-term ways for handling stress. Also, remember the Counseling Center is available for further help.

Short-term Ways for Relieving Stress

  • 5 minute vacation. Take five minutes to relax in an imaginary vacation. Close your eyes and breath deeply while visualizing yourself in a soothing setting. Concentrate on releasing tension in your neck, shoulders, and back while continuing to breath deeply.
  • Take a break. Remove yourself from the stressful situation. Get some exercise and fresh air or go somewhere private and yell or cry.
  • Analyze the seriousness of the situation. Ask yourself if it’s worth getting upset over. You can choose to stay calm. If the issue is important, confront it directly, talk it out with a sympathetic friend, or write it out in a letter.
  • Make a list. List all the things you think you need to do right away. Then prioritize the list and do only the top five. The rest can be first priority tomorrow.

Long-term ways for Relieving Stress

  • Set goals and determine your comfortable level of stress. Don’t live out choices others have made for you, set your personal goals and recognize the level of stress that is comfortable and healthy for you.
  • Take care of your health. Exercise regularly (even when you have papers and finals – that’s when you need it most!), eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and avoid mood-altering drugs, including excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Manage your time. Prioritize and plan your schedule so that you allow enough time for the healthy activities mentioned above. Keeping a calendar with daily appointments is the best way to track the amount of time you’re spending on various activities.
  • Take time for yourself. Make yourself a priority. Find time to relax-even if only for a few minutes every day.
  • Anticipate potentially stressful situations and prepare. Decide whether the situation is one you should deal with immediately, postpone, or avoid for a while.
  • Live in the present. Learn from the past and move on.
  • Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others.
  • Expect some problems reaching your goals and realize that you can solve most of them with practice.
  • Accept what you cannot change. If a problem is beyond your control, you are better off accepting it rather than spinning your wheels worrying about it.
  • Think positive. Your mind is a powerful tool. Thinking positively can decrease your stress level, where you will be able to approach a situation calmly and obtain a better outcome.

Counseling Center

Gosiger Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0910