Financial Wellness in the Holiday Season

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Regardless of what holidays we choose to celebrate, December can be rough on budgets, especially for college students. Between travel expenses, winter break plans, going out with friends to celebrate the end of the semester, and buying gifts, we often quickly spend much more money than we may have planned. Americans spend more during winter holidays than any other time of the year. Back-to-school shopping and sales during winter holidays make up about 20% of all retail throughout the year!

It’s especially important during this time of the year to prioritize financial wellness, which involves setting and achieving both long and short-term personal financial goals. Everyone’s financial status and goals are different, depending on income, wealth, spending, debt, values, etc., and are situated within our society’s financial and economic context.

Take some time to think about your finances.

How much do you have to spend?

How much do you need to save?

What are the most important things for you to spend money on or save money for?

Here are some ideas to keep your budget happy this season!

  1. Practice mindfulness. Being mindful means paying attention to what you are doing, noticing your thoughts, sensations, and the world around you without judgment. Research shows that mindfulness can actually help you make better decisions.
  2. Set a budget. What’s important to you? What are you going to need/want money for? Decide what you are able to afford based on your priorities and values, and then stick to it. Check out this list of apps for budgeting tools.
  3. Make a list and check it twice. This will help you stay focused on what you need and avoid purchasing on impulse. Check out these strategies to avoid impulse purchases!
  4. Try DIY gifts! Homemade gifts are wonderful both for your budget and for adding that personal touch to let your family and friends know how much you care. Need some inspiration? Here are 50 of the best DIY gift ideas.
  5. Give of your time. Some of the best gifts are things you can do for or with another person. For those of us that are craft-challenged, here are some great alternatives.
  6. Host a potluck. If you want to get together with friends, consider having a potluck instead of going out for an expensive meal. This way, you don’t have to get everyone to agree on a restaurant, and you’ll spend a lot less. Maybe try out a pizza potluck – everyone brings their favorite ingredient to share (just make sure someone brings the crust!). Instead of spending $20+ on a meal at a restaurant, you’ll spend less than $5 on your topping—plus, it’s a lot more fun!
  7. Be careful with credit card purchases.Having a credit card can be great for building credit, but it’s especially important during this time of the year to make sure we’re able to pay off the card on time at the end of the month. It’s also a time of year when our schedules are different than normal, so be sure to set a reminder for when you need to pay your bills. If you struggle with spending too much when you use a credit card, try only taking cash when you go shopping.

The end of the semester can be stressful with exams and final papers, and worrying about money can just make everything more complicated. Do yourself a favor and lessen some of the stress by prioritizing your financial wellness!

This blog was updated from November 2015 and written by Kaitlyn Brodar. Kaitlyn was the Program Assistant for Resiliency Initiatives at UNC Student Wellness and a Master of Public Health graduate student with a focus in Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She previously worked in cognitive psychology research on post-traumatic stress disorder after earning her bachelor’s in Psychology at Duke University.

Don’t Overdo It! – Preventing Burn-Out at the End of the Semester

Although we know that self-care is an important part of maintaining holistic wellness, oftentimes it is difficult to truly engage in this practice. Being a college student is not always easy. Many times, competing interests are at work including courses, clubs, organizations, and other activities. It is extremely easy to look at peers and think, “They are doing so much! I’m not doing enough! I need to do more!” This thinking can be destructive for a number of reasons. We are all unique individuals with different aspirations and talents. My talents and interests may not align with my peers, but that does not necessarily mean that I am not doing enough. This means that I am strengthening and utilizing my skill sets in areas that interest me. Each activity and organization that you involve yourself with should be something that you are passionate about. Aside from thinking about what you can add to the organization, as a participant/member, it is perfectly okay to consider what the organization can add to your life as well. For example, will you gain the necessary skills and expertise which will help to guide you along your path?

Being over-involved can lead to fatigue and burnout.

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Burnout image by dskley at Flickr Creative Commons

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress (http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/preventing-burnout.htm). The dangerous truth about burnout is that it is a gradual process which manifests differently in everyone. It also directly impacts holistic wellness. Symptoms of burnout include but are not limited to the following:

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time,
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits, sense of failure and self-doubt,
  • Loss of motivation,
  • Isolating yourself from others, and
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities

One of the primary ways to avoid and manage burnout is engaging in self-care on a regular basis. Below are some tips:

  1. Set aside at least 15-20 minutes per day after classes or other responsibilities in which you can sit alone and process the day. Alone time is essential for recharging!
  2. Find a hobby unrelated to school and schedule that time weekly (weekends usually work really well).
  3. Make friends! Don’t underestimate the power of these bonds!
  4. Be kind to yourself and others. Adjusting to the college is a process and everyone’s experience is going to be different. I know it is difficult, but avoid comparing your experience and journey to the next person’s.
  5. Embrace your individuality!

If you are having difficulty with any of the topics discussed in this blog, please feel free to stop by UNC Student Wellness or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) https://campushealth.unc.edu/services/counseling-and-psychological-services or call 919-962-WELL.

 

Millicent Robinson is a 2nd year MSW/MPH dual degree program student and Program Assistant with Student Wellness. Millicent went to UNC as an undergrad, earning a B.A. in Psychology with two minors in Spanish for the Professions as well as African and Afro-American Studies. Millicent is interested in holistic health and academic wellbeing, particularly in minority students. She has worked with the Upward Bound program at UNC for three years, and approaches health disparities and inequities using an interdisciplinary approach. 

Why Therapy Is Not For Me (but actually might be)

1. I want to get through it on my own.

We live in a society that places a lot of value on independence, but in truth, we are interdependent. Each of us does need other people to some degree. Participating in therapy is not a passive process. You are not “attending therapy”, or “getting therapy”.  Therapists are not administering something to you. Therapy is an active, collaborative process of figuring out life. Therapists do have some specialized knowledge about mental health, but we act as guides, not fixers. In fact, but of the unique aspects of therapy is that therapists act as guides, not as fixers.

2. If my friends and family can’t help me, how will someone I don’t even know help me?

Friends and family play extremely vital roles in our lives, and there is no substitute for those types of relationships. Often the people in our life have a vested interest in what we choose to do or in what direction we move. The role of a therapist is very different. When you go to therapy, the first task is for the therapist to be able to understand your hopes and goals, because your agenda is our agenda. Sometimes family and friends have the tendency to try to make things better for you. Therapists are trained to help you find the tools to make things better for yourself.

3. It’s not that bad. I’m not crazy. Therapy is a last resort for me.

People participate in therapy for a wide variety of reasons.

Sometimes things in their lives are pretty bad when they initiate therapy.

Sometimes they start treatment because they aren’t feeling fulfilled, or because something in life feels “off”. They want to not simply get through each day, but instead want to thrive. Sometimes students come to therapy because they are aware that academic stress is unavoidable and they want to learn strategies to manage it before it starts to create problems. At UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), we work with people throughout the whole spectrum, between preventing problems before they start and treating issues before they begin.

Mental Health is similar to physical health in that it is often a quicker, easier process if you take a proactive approach. I often hear from students who have recurrent depression that the first episode was the worst, in part because they didn’t know to take action until things felt completely unmanageable.

Stigma is real. Often times we are socialized to have some negative feelings towards individuals with mental health disorders and towards seeking mental health treatment. Where have you heard some of those messages? What do you believe? How might you overcome the stigma associated with seeking services?

4. Therapy is too _____________________ (Expensive, Time Consuming)

There is no arguing with that. Participating in therapy definitely takes time (typically 45-60 minutes weekly). It also may require a financial investment. Although CAPS brief therapy services are free, there are times when students may start off with or transition to a community provider, where there will likely be a copay.

Often when I meet with students, their symptoms are impacting their ability to be as successful as they could be academically. Their friendships or relationships with loved ones may be impacted. Anxiety, for example, could make it extremely difficult for a person to concentrate and learn new material, and to seek frequent reassurance from friends, or to avoid social situations altogether.  Also, some of the symptoms they are experiencing are painful. They are in real distress. Can you relate to this? How are the issues you are having impacting your quality of life?

If one part of the equation is the cost/time/effort, please remember to include the other side of the equation- the impact the symptoms are having on your well-being.

In Conclusion

Therapy is not for everyone. But therapy is helpful for some people, and it just may be that it could be helpful to you. But don’t take my word for it! See if therapy can help you. The best way to get something out of therapy:

  • Come in with some goals in mind.
  • Ask your therapist questions.
  • If you don’t feel as if the first person you see is a good fit, work with someone else.
  • Monitor your symptoms and your progress toward your goals, and work with your therapist to get the most out of your time together.
  • Be open with your therapist about any concerns you have about the therapy process.

If you would like to initiate therapy or simply talk with a clinician more about your options for mental health services, please walk in to CAPS between the hours of 9*-12 and 1-4 M-F (8-5 if you have urgent concerns). *Friday morning initial appointments begin at 9:30 a.m. 

 

Originally posted August 6, 2013. Revised and updated 2016. 

Practical Lessons from Theatre: Creative Ways to Deal with Stress

Folks in theatre know a thing or two about stress and stress relief–it’s our primary excuse for playing all of those silly games. Since there is a lot of tension inherent in meeting multiple deadlines, collaborating with a team, and performing in front of people, a lot of theatre training involves cultivating awareness and practicing relaxation. Academic atmospheres hold similar tensions—especially at this time of year. What are your strategies for moderating the physical and emotional effects of stress?

Colorful CrayonsIn Interactive Theatre Carolina’s scene on stress management (Coloring for the Chronically Stressed by student ensemble member, Noel Thompson), an overburdened protagonist meets a fellow student in Davis Library late one night and flips out when he realizes his new friend is coloring.

Victor: NO! This is an important point! Why are you coloring?

Sunny: (Sighs) Ok, if you really want to know. You know how when some people need to unwind, they run? Or some people do drugs, some people play music, some people get as far away from the library as possible? I don’t adhere to that structure. As some form of cosmic middle finger to the universe, I come to Davis, the place where I do all my work, and I do the least productive thing I can think of.

Victor: So you come here, and you…color?

Okay, but really: have you tried this lately? Coloring is way better than you probably remember. Furthermore, there have been numerous studies showing the benefits of music, expressive writing, and art for mental and physical health. Engaging in these activities has been shown to lower heart rate and boost the immune system. Also…they’re fun.

Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artistic person. It doesn’t matter. When you’ve been toiling in a performance-driven academic environment, part of the beauty of taking on a creative endeavor is that it can be valid and helpful no matter the “quality” of the product.

If you’re someone who already engages in a creative pursuit, consider switching mediums. It can be liberating to get back to a beginner’s mind where the stakes are low and your identity isn’t tied up in the work.

So sometime in the coming weeks, take a break, find some crayons, and color. Or sing, and sing off-key. Finger paint. Invent a game. Keep a gratitude journal. Make a collage. Try to draw a portrait of your cat or a representation of your brain. Pull out that old Casio keyboard and make up a tune.

Here are some links that might help get you started: http://journalingprompts.com/ http://www.happyhealthyher.com/mind-spirit/art-therapy/

Allowing your brain some variety and opportunity for expressive outlet shouldn’t be considered a waste of time—it’s an important, healthy release. If you need a little more convincing, check out this study: http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338.full

Of course, we recognize that crayons aren’t a cure-all.  If your stress or anxiety levels escalate, you can always find support at Counseling and Psychological Services

This blog post was originally published on April 16, 2013 and was written by Sarah Donnell. It has been updated and reposted for clarity.

You Forget It All the Time, and It’s Probably Stressing You Out…

Okay sure, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely breathing already, I’ll give you that, but what is the quality of your breath?

Breath is at the root of everything our bodies do. And even though I know this–and I even teach this–I regularly forget to really breathe. Multiple times a day, I’ll check in to find myself holding my breath or breathing only into and out of the top part of my chest.

Breath and Behavior

When I work with actors (as a part of Interactive Theatre Carolina) or when I teach yoga, I start exercises with or even center entire lessons around the breath. New actors will often glance around wondering if I’m for real. I can see the wheels turning in their heads: “What does this have to do with being onstage and laughing and yelling and crying and looking believable?” Well…

What happens when you get onstage? People look at you. It’s stressful. You get nervous. What happens when you get nervous? Your breath gets shallow and fast. What happens when your breath gets shallow and fast? Your voice gets softer, your movements are compromised, and your attention is less available to the people trying to interact with you.

Even if you have absolutely no theatrical aspirations, our breath is linked to stress, and being aware of our breath can help us manage stress.

Breath and Health

It’s not news that our muscles, organs, brains, and other innards function best when they’re provided oxygen and rid of carbon dioxide. Think of the unhealthy chain reactions that can happen when we regularly shortchange our physical selves of the breath we need.

The sympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for the “fight or flight” response), while evolutionarily useful for getting us through dangerous moments (like…if you find yourself needing to outrun a lion), still gets triggered when we’re stressed (like…when your printer jams 5 minutes before you’re supposed to turn in that thing that’s now crumpled in the paper tray), and when engaged too often, this reaction takes an understandable toll on our bodies.

 AND HERE’S THE THING:

If we’re not breathing to the best of our abilities even in times when we are NOT stressed, it still makes our bodies feel like we ARE stressed.

Life is stressful enough, y’all. Why would we do that to ourselves?

I can’t answer for you, but I can speak for my own bad breathing habits. I’ve started to watch and I notice I hold my breath when feeling guilty, when pretending to listen to someone but thinking about something else, when trying to walk quickly because I’m late, when avoiding something, when not being present—just to name a few. See if you can notice your own sticky moments. It can be revelatory. And shifting the experience of those moments is as simple as inhaling deep into your stomach and letting the breath slowly out.

AND ANOTHER THING:

As a young woman, I was taught–like many others–to suck in my stomach to keep myself attractive. I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve totally gotten over that, even though I know it doesn’t feel good, it robs me of breath, and it’s a messed up idea. Why should I stress my body out daily in an attempt to satisfy some unhealthy thin ideal I don’t even agree with? But letting go of these habits and these old ideas takes practice.

Ever gotten the advice to change the way you react to things you cannot change? Depending on the situation…that can be really annoying advice. And I’m not seriously going to tell you that deep breathing will solve all of the things that stress you out or even dismantle the social structures that perpetuate a thin ideal.

But breathing deeply is good for you. And it’s a little thing you can definitely do. And it will help to keep you healthy so that you CAN do the important stuff…like dismantle the social structures that perpetuate a thin ideal 🙂

 

But you don’t have to just take my word for it…

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update1006a.shtml

http://www.oprah.com/health/Benefits-of-Breathing-Breath-Exercises

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/stress-management/deep-breathing.htm

Student Springtime Stress: Balancing academic, personal, and pre-professional life

Spring can be a stressful time for any student.  From first years looking for summer work to seniors searching for long term jobs after graduation, the anxiety that comes with searching for opportunities and applying for positions is something everyone experiences.  It can often feel like you have sent out dozens of applications and resumes without receiving any sort of validation from your efforts.  Balancing Spring semester academic work with job hunting further complicates our lives.

stress-meme

Here are some tools you can use to both be a more competitive candidate and practice self-care during this hectic season:

Continue reading

Let’s talk about STRESS

You’ve probably heard it said already today or thought it to yourself: “I’m so stressed out.” Stress is that all-consuming feeling of being anxious, tired, overwhelmed, emotionally run-down, and physically tense. It’s not pleasant, and yet a lot of us live with stress on a daily basis. Especially as students, with constant assignments and deadlines, it’s easy to feel stressed out. So if this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. In fact, at Carolina stress is one of the most common health concerns reported. So let’s talk about it! By learning about what happens to the body as it reacts to stress, we can identify some helpful ways to cope with stress and mitigate some of the negative consequences of carrying around too much day-to-day stress.

stressed woman

What is Stress?
What we often call “stress” is an automatic response from our body kicking into high gear. This automatic response stems from our ancient ancestors as a way to protect themselves from predators and harm. You might have heard this called the “fight or flight” response in Psych 101. Faced with danger the body releases hormones that may elevate heart rate, increase blood pressure, and boost energy in order to prepare you to deal with the situation. While we have little fear of getting attacked by animals on a daily basis now, this reaction still occurs when we are faced with every day challenges, such as meeting an assignment deadline, taking a test, or going on an audition or try out. This is what we call stress.

While some stress is good and can actually be motivating, remember everything in moderation. Ongoing or chronic stress can be harmful to your wellbeing.

Why does Stress Hurt?
It’s exhausting to have your body on high alert. You may have noticed physical symptoms of stress such as fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, or muscle tension. Other symptoms may include catching a cold often, eating too much or too little, or being nauseous or dizzy. And you may have also felt more emotional, easier to anger, or unhappy. These are all signs of the body trying to tell you that you are thinking too much. While it is a natural response to get amped up about an upcoming event that you are nervous or unsure about, once that event is over (your paper submitted or you make the team) your body expects to return to its normal state. However, when we are constantly overloaded with “flight or fight” situations the body remains in a continuous elevated state. This produces unpleasant symptoms in the short run, but can also produce harmful effects long term.

Chronic stress, or when stress starts interfering with your ability to live a productive life, can have long-term health implications. People with chronic stress are more likely to develop certain diseases later in life such as coronary disease; they tend to have persistent sleep problems; are more likely to be depressed; and tend to have a shorter lifespan. Ok, wait a minute, let’s not stress about this yet!

What Can I Do?
So now we know what our body is trying to tell us and how we can better recognize the symptoms. But a lot of us already know constant stress is just down right not fun. So if we are feeling too stressed we need to change some things in order to help our bodies and minds better respond to the situations around us.

reclining_frog

Identify the Cause. This may be harder than you think and it may be a combination of things. But if you can pinpoint why you are feeling stressed you can make a plan to better address it. Making a plan may include setting reasonable expectations about the outcome, breaking down an assignment into smaller tasks, or better prioritizing items with looming deadlines.
Lean on Supportive Relationships. While some relationships may be a source of stress, reach out to people who will listen and who care about you. You may want to talk through your stress trigger and have your friend help you through some options to feeling less overwhelmed. Or you may just need to call mom and talk about anything else besides what is stressing you out.
Rest Your Mind. When you are tired you are more likely to get stressed because your brain loses the capability to think clearly and function with good judgment. As we know, it’s easier said than done, but 7-8 hours of sleep may just be the best thing you can do for your body. Check out this blog post for ways to get more rest.
Get Creative. Color (yes even in a coloring book), write just for yourself, put on music you enjoy and haven’t listened to in a while, dance, or hang out with a furry friend. These are all fun and unique ways to relieve stress and help put life back in perspective. For more ways to get creative about managing stress, check this out.
Get Help. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a great resource. They can help you assess what is causing your stress and work with you to find a plan to manage it. They see hundreds of students each year with stress related concerns. All first-time appointments may walk in during 9-12 and 1-4 Monday through Friday. More information about CAPS.

For other stress tips, check out these blog posts here and here.


Information compiled from the American Psychological Association and helpguide.org. Images: zengardner.com and huffingtonpost.com.

Practical Lessons from Theatre: Creative Ways to Deal with Stress

Folks in theatre know a thing or two about stress and stress relief–it’s our primary excuse for playing all of those silly games. Since there is a lot of tension inherent in meeting multiple deadlines, collaborating with a team, and performing in front of people, a lot of theatre training involves cultivating awareness and practicing relaxation. Academic atmospheres hold similar tensions—especially at this time of year. What are your strategies for moderating the physical and emotional effects of stress?

Colorful CrayonsIn Interactive Theatre Carolina’s scene on stress management (Coloring for the Chronically Stressed by student ensemble member, Noel Thompson), an overburdened protagonist meets a fellow student in Davis Library late one night and flips out when he realizes his new friend is coloring.

Victor: NO! This is an important point! Why are you coloring?

Sunny: (Sighs) Ok, if you really want to know. You know how when some people need to unwind, they run? Or some people do drugs, some people play music, some people get as far away from the library as possible? I don’t adhere to that structure. As some form of cosmic middle finger to the universe, I come to Davis, the place where I do all my work, and I do the least productive thing I can think of.

Victor: So you come here, and you…color?

Okay, but really: have you tried this lately? Coloring is way better than you probably remember. Furthermore, there have been numerous studies showing the benefits of music, expressive writing, and art for mental and physical health. Engaging in these activities has been shown to lower heart rate and boost the immune system. Also…they’re fun.

Maybe you don’t consider yourself an artistic person. It doesn’t matter. When you’ve been toiling in a performance-driven academic environment, part of the beauty of taking on a creative endeavor is that it can be valid and helpful no matter the “quality” of the product.

If you’re someone who already engages in a creative pursuit, consider switching mediums. It can be liberating to get back to a beginner’s mind where the stakes are low and your identity isn’t tied up in the work.

So sometime in the coming weeks, take a break, find some crayons, and color. Or sing, and sing off-key. Finger paint. Invent a game. Keep a gratitude journal. Make a collage. Try to draw a portrait of your cat or a representation of your brain. Pull out that old Casio keyboard and make up a tune.

Here are some links that might help get you started: http://journalingprompts.com/ http://www.happyhealthyher.com/mind-spirit/art-therapy/

Allowing your brain some variety and opportunity for expressive outlet shouldn’t be considered a waste of time—it’s an important, healthy release. If you need a little more convincing, check out this study: http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338.full

Of course, we recognize that crayons aren’t a cure-all.  If your stress or anxiety levels escalate, you can always find support at Counseling and Psychological Services

Ten Commandments for Managing Stress

As the semester continues it is so easy to get overwhelmed with mounting responsibilities: classwork, homework, tests, group work, projects, student organizations, jobs, friends, family, relationships, and the list goes on and on. In hustle and bustle of busy college life it seems impossible to take time to relax, even though stress management is an important skill to develop for your personal wellness. Isn’t important skill development what being a college student is all about?  Below is a list the stress experts at Student Wellness put together for managing stress.

See if you can add a few to your daily routine!

Thou shalt…

  1. Organize Thyself.
    Take better control of the way you’re spending your time and energy so you can handle stress more effectively. Need help? Check out some time management strategies on our website.
  2. Control Thy Environment by controlling who and what is surrounding you.
    Do you have study buddies or are your friends always encouraging you to go out when you have work to do? Pay attention to how your friends influence your habits.  In this way, you can either get rid of stress or get support for yourself.
  3. Love Thyself by giving yourself positive feedback.
    Remember, you are a unique individual who is doing the best you can.
  4. Reward Thyself by planning leisure activities into your life.
    It really helps to have something to look forward to. Seek out healthy ways to spend your free time.
  5. Exercise Thy Body since your health and productivity depend upon your body’s ability to bring oxygen and food to its cells.
    Therefore, exercise your heart and lungs regularly, a minimum of three days per week for 15-30 minutes. This includes such activities as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, and more!
  6. Relax Thyself by taking your mind off your stress and concentrating on breathing and positive thoughts.
    Dreaming counts, along with meditation, progressive relaxation, exercise, listening to relaxing music, communicating with friends and loved ones, etc. Want to try something new? Check out our iTunes Relaxation Audio Files!
  7. Rest Thyself as regularly as possible.
    Sleep 7-8 hours a night. Take study breaks. There is only so much your mind can absorb at one time. It needs time to process and integrate information. A general rule of thumb: take a ten minute break every hour. Rest your eyes as well as your mind.
  8. Be Aware of Thyself.
    Be aware of physical signs such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, lack of concentration, colds/flu, excessive tiredness, etc. Listen to your body and give it the rest and care that it is asking for.
  9. Feed Thyself / Not Poison Thy Body.
    Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie foods that are high in fats and sugar. Don’t depend on drugs and/or alcohol. Caffeine will keep you awake, but it also makes it harder for some to concentrate. Be careful about drinking coffee in the afternoon it can lead to trouble sleeping. Remember, a twenty minute walk has been proven to be a better tranquilizer than some prescription drugs.
  10. Enjoy Thyself.
    It has been shown that happier people tend to live longer, have less physical problems, and are more productive. Look for the humor in life when things don’t make sense. Remember, you are very special and deserve only the best treatment from yourself.

When you trying out some of the commandments for size, the following resources might be helpful!