How you feel and how you respond to those feelings are central to your emotional wellness. Emotional wellness includes both positive emotional experiences and responding to life's challenges and the painful emotions that may arise. To build emotional wellness, pay attention to both sides. Try to build positive habits and emotional experiences while also finding ways to understand and respond to painful emotions or symptoms of mental illness in a constructive way.
Tips for Building Emotional Wellness
Emotional Wellness begins with your awareness of thoughts and feelings. You can't change what you're not aware of to begin with!
A Simple Way to Begin
Building emotional awareness can start by simply noticing your emotions, both positive and painful, and giving them a name. Take a few minutes out of the day, maybe when you're standing in line or waiting for class to start, to ask yourself, "Where is my mind? How am I feeling?" and then just name what you notice without judging it. I'm feeling pressured... I'm feeling excited... I'm planning for what will happen tonight...
Journaling, talking more openly about feelings with trusted friends and family, guided meditation, and mindfulness apps are other ways you can build emotional awareness.
As you practice awareness, you'll begin to notice patterns in the way you think and feel. With time, you'll also get to know common triggers for these inner experiences and how you'd like to respond to them.
Explore these mindfulness resources to learn more about building awareness of your thoughts and feelings:
Headspace app: Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple
Stop, Breath & Think app: 5 minutes to peace
The Power of Postivity
While it's certainly normal to feel down or stressed or have negative thoughts, our emotional wellness takes a hit when we spend the majority of our time in those negative thoughts and emotions.
As you build awareness of your thoughts and feelings, notice how often you're dwelling on a negative thought, worried about the future, or complaining. Without judging the negative experience, ask yourself if there is another way of looking at this situation or a better-feeling thought you'd like to focus on. The goal isn't to be 100% positive all the time but rather to be aware of your thoughts and more deliberate in where you direct your attention.
A fun exercise for building on the positives is to practice a 3:1 ratio of 3 positives for every negative. Every time you catch yourself in a negative thought, see if you can come up with 3 positive things. Your positive thoughts can be about the object of your negativity or something completely unrelated. The only rule is that you come up with 3 positive things for every one negative.
Journal to Boost Your Mood
Gratitude and optimism journals are another easy way to practice building on the positive. To start one, take a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day to think of 3 things you're looking forward to and 3 things that have gone well recently. That's it!
Explore these resources to learn more about building on the positives:
CAPS Videos & Articles:
Information & Exercises:
Healthy social relationships are an important part of your overall well-being, especially emotional wellness. They are thought of as one of the primary building blocks of human flourishing.
Look for Face-to-Face Contact
Make a point of having quality face-to-face interactions in your daily life. Even if you feel you don't have a lot of opportunities, you can still have positive interactions with coworkers, classmates, acquaintances, or passersby. Try to make eye contact with the people you encounter throughout the day. Offer them a smile, a friendly comment, or small talk.
Build on Positive Friendship Qualities
In your closer relationships, make positive friendship qualities like validation, quality time, reciprocity, and conflict resolution a priority. Make a point of cultivating positive interactions built on these qualities and let the important people in your life know that you appreciate them.
When Quality Relationships Seem Hard to Find
When it feels like these qualities are lacking in your relationships, start where you can. Where it feels accessible, have a heart-to-heart with the important people in your life about ways you'd like to strengthen your relationship. Identify those people who feel good to be around and make an effort to build on that relationship. This could also be a sign that it's time to broaden your social circle. Try joining social groups, clubs, or volunteer organizations where you could meet new people sharing similar interests.
Explore these resources to learn more about building your social support:
10 Ways to Become a Better Friend on Psychology Today
28 Ways to Be a Better Friend on Thought Catalog
13 Essential Traits of a Good Friend on Psychology Today
200 Questions to Get to Know Someone on Conversation Starters World
39 Things to Do With Your Best Friend at Least Once on The Odyssey Online
Your body needs care to function well physically and emotionally, and sleep and nutrition are a great place to start. Changes in appetite and sleep are often some of the first signs that your emotional wellness could use some care. You've probably also noticed that you're not at your best physically, mentally, or emotionally when sleep and nutrition aren't on track.
The link between mood, food, and sleep is undeniable, but when life gets busy, it can feel hard to stay on track. Explore these resources to take good care of your nutrition and sleep:
Can Food Put You In a Happier Mood on Very Well Fit
Food and Mood on the American Heart Association
Food and Mood on Mind.org
Fundamentals of Nutrition on Very Well Fit
How to Cope with Sleep Problems on Mind.org
How to Improve Sleep Habits on Very Well Mind
Sleep, Anxiety, and Me on Mind.org
4 Things to Always Do In Bed on Living Wild
6 Tips to Design the Ideal Bedroom for Sleep on Sleep Foundation
Apps and Online Tools:
Omvana by Mindvalley: 500+ transformational audios for body, mind, lifestyle, productivity, relationships, hypnosis
Resources for Arizona Students:
Find out more about Taking Charge of Your Health and Well-Being in 2020.
Find out more about Physical Wellness through Pathways to Wellness.
PERMA stands for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement, and vitality. These are the building blocks of human flourishing. When each of these domains is expressed in your life, you feel better and do better.
If you're feeling off-balance, do a quick self-test. Is one area of PERMA lacking in your life? How can you bring it back into alignment?
Explore these resources to bring more PERMA-V into your life:
Greater Good in Action Science-based practices for a meaningful life.
The PERMA Model: Your Scientific Theory of Happiness on Positive Psychology
Ever felt like hiding away? Maybe after a stressful day or when you’re feeling embarrassed? Everyone’s felt that way before. Sometimes, it’s a sign that you need just that: an escape. And sometimes, it means it’s time to reach out for support.
At Campus Health, we want you to know that there are lots of ways to get support and so many people who want to help you because you matter. We also want you to know that many people find asking for help hard. If you're scared to get support, remember that feeling scared is okay and take it one step at a time.
Here are 12 signs it’s time to reach out (rather than retreat):
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, or helpless.
- Feeling panicked or obsessed about a situation in your life.
- Feeling increasingly disconnected from the people in your life.
- Dissatisfaction with solitary time but afraid or reluctant to reach out.
- Difficulty getting out of bed.
- Exhaustion even after getting a good night’s sleep or taking a break.
- Difficulty focusing even when you have all the right conditions.
- Loss of motivation, interest, or pleasure in the things you normally care about.
- Changes in your normal sleeping and eating patterns.
- Mood swings.
- Feeling paralyzed by responsibilities or obligations.
- Having thoughts of hurting yourself or being better off dead.
*If you or someone you know is an immediate suicidal crisis or emergency, call 911. Click here to see who to call if you're in crisis.
24-Hour Crisis Hotlines
Located in Tucson? Call the Community-Wide Crisis Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 520-622-6000.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from a secure online platform. Find out more about how it works at crisistextline.org.
- The Trevor Lifeline is a 24/7 suicide hotline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
- TrevorChat: Online instant messaging available 7 days a week, 3 pm - 10 pm ET (12 pm -- 7 pm PT)
- TrevorText: Confidential and secure resource that provides live help for LGBTQ youth with a trained specialist, over text messages. Text TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200 (available 7 days a week, 3 pm - 10 pm ET, 12 pm -- 7 pm PT)
Veterans’ Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline (Substance Abuse): 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
Project Lifeline Suicide Prevention at UA
Circle of 6: Prevent violence before it happens, stay safe, and stay close to your inner circle with the Circle of 6 safety app.
Calm Harm: manage the urge to self harm
More Ways to Reach Out:
Don't Suffer From Your Depression in Silence TED talk by Nikki Webber Allen
Get Immediate Help on MentalHealth.gov
What to Do if You Are Sexually Assaulted on Very Well Mind
10 Ways to Reach Out in a Mental Health Crisis on Healthline
How to Support Others Who Reach Out for Help:
7 Ways to Support Others During Tough Times on Huffington Post
10 signs you need some time to yourself:
- Feeling pulled in too many directions.
- Small social interactions make you feel exhausted when they normally don’t.
- You’re so caught up in other people’s lives that you haven’t taken care of yourself.
- You’re suddenly forgetting things, canceling plans, and showing up late.
- Confusion about what you want in life.
- Feeling annoyed or resentful for things that don’t make sense to you.
- Filling your time with activities to avoid being alone. (Surprising but true!)
- You’re constantly rushed or stressed.
- You don’t feel like yourself.
If alone time is what you need, begin here:
Ease into it with small periods of time every day or week to do something by yourself. Try building it into your existing morning, lunch, or bedtime routine.
Let other people know what you’re up to if this will be a big change. You don’t want anyone to be alarmed by a sudden change in your behavior.
Keep a “me time” wish-list. Include solo adventures, new skills, movies, music, or books.
Remember that recharging is productive! Alone time can be great for getting things done, but don’t forget about doing things you enjoy.
Explore what makes you you. Ask yourself what you want at this stage of your life or how your actions today will serve you tomorrow. You might also invest in a guided journal or keep a list of journal prompts you like.
Explore these resources to make the most of your solitary time:
15 Journaling Exercises to Help You Heal, Grow, and Thrive on Psychology Today
More journaling prompts by Happier Human:
College can challenge and change every aspect of your life. This can be hard, but hard doesn't mean you're failing. The process of exploration is the fire that forges a resilient spirit. When you remain open to learning from the growing pains of life, you come out stronger than before.
Explore these resources for building your resilience:
Resilience 101 on Student Curriculum on Resilience Education
Campus Health Service Stronger Than resilience initiative. Browse the Stronger Than library for tools and tips on building your resilience.
Online Resources for Emotional Wellness
Tips and Tools:
Campus Health's 30-Day Mental Health Project on Instagram
Campus Health's Mental Health Instagram stories
Campus Health's Tools Speaking Out Against Racism Resource Library
Campus Health's Coping with COVID-19 Resource Library
Positive Psychology: A Topical Collection of 45 TED Talks on Mappalicious
Calm Harm App manage the urge to self-harm
Greater Good in Action Science-based practices for a happy, meaningful life.
Mood Fit App Fitness for your mental health, including tools for tracking your mood, challenging negative thinking, positive reminders, and more.
Headspace App Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple
Mood Tools App Quick depression test, mood diary, and suicide safety planning.
Ipnos relaxation and sleep tools relaxation melodies, relaxation meditation, relaxing yoga music, wake-up and sleep-aid clock app
Omvana by Mindvalley 500+ transformational audios for body, mind, lifestyle, productivity, relationships, hypnosis
Shine App Inclusive meditations, diverse community, personalized affirmations, and gratitude journaling.
Stop, Breath & Think: 5 minutes to peace
Stressbusters Wellness, U of A Edition: audio tracks, relaxation, meditation, events.
Guided Meditations by Stop, Breathe & Think App
Binaural Beats for Relaxation, Sleep, and Study
Binaural beats are a form of sound wave therapy in which the right and left ear receive different frequencies and the brain perceives one tone. Studies on binaural beats show that they can be effective at reducing anxiety, inducing a meditative state, enhancing relaxation, and improving attention. Find out more about binaural beats and research on health benefits: Do Binaural Beats have Health Benefits? on HealthLine and What Are Binaural Beats, and How Do They Work? on Medical News Today.
Binaural Meditation Music YouTube channel
Brainwave Music YouTube channel
Free Binaural Beats Streaming by Gaia
Magnetic Minds YouTube channel
Counseling and emotional support services are available through Counseling and Psych Services as well as other campus programs, like Wildcats RISE, Life Management Counseling Services, and the Psychology Department Behavioral Health Clinic.
You can also find counselors off-campus through these resources:
The Shrink Space A referral website The University of Arizona has partnered with to help students connect with off-campus mental health care providers. Visit the website to search for providers who meet your particular needs.
National Associations for Mental Health
Campus Resources for Building Emotional Wellness
Counseling & Psych Services
Want to talk? We'll listen. CAPS offers a variety of counseling services. Begin with a mental health screening or free self-help program through TAO Connect, view our library of self-help tools and articles, or find out how to get started with counseling or psychiatry.
Stronger Than tools for resilience
Life Management Counseling
LGBTQ Mental Health Support
The Thrive Center serves students who have been historically underrepresented on college campuses, are low-income, and/or are first-generation college students. Their mission is to enhance students' wellness in and outside of the classroom.
Thrive Center resources include:
First CATS support for first-generation college students
Fostering Success supporting students in the foster care, housing insecure, and unaccompanied homeless youth.Find out more about the Thrive Center.
Confidential services for student survivors of sexual or gender-based violence understand their rights and their options. Advocates can help student survivors connect with resources for safety planning, academic and housing accommodations, navigating Title IX, mental health and emotional support, obtaining an order of protection, filing police reports, and medical accompaniment/education about medical forensic exams.
Find out about Oasis sexual assault and trauma services.Find out more about Survivor Advocacy
Center for Compassion Studies
The Center for Compassion Studies was established to encourage investigation of the impact of compassion and contemplative practices on individual, group and environmental well-being, as well as to promote the availability of education and training in the cultivation of compassion.
Find out more about the Center for Compassion Studies.
Counseling through the Psych Department
The Psychology Department Behavioral Health Clinic (BHC) offers scientifically-validated outpatient therapy to individuals, couples and families at low cost. Psychologists-in-training, supervised by licensed clinical faculty in the Department of Psychology, provide brief treatment for personal problems including anxiety, depression, coping with illness, relationship and family problems, alcohol and substance use problems, life crises, and other issues.Psychology Department Behavioral Health Clinic
Dog Days with the Dean
Come enjoy some puppy love! Lower stress, relax and connect with wonderful pets, their humans and one another. Offered remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.More Dog Days Information
Wildcats RISE offers free group and individual sessions offer UA students a chance to connect and talk with peers who are dealing with similar stressors. Because talking helps, especially when you’re talking to someone who gets it.More Wildcats RISE Information
Our Favorite Sites and Resources for Wellness
Good Good Good A newspaper, newsletter, and podcast about the good news in the world.
Greatist Covers the health and wellness stuff that matters — plus anything else that's cool, important, or maybe even life-changing.
Help Guide Guides to improve your mental health and wellness.
Living Wild source for wellness tips published by the Health Promotion and Preventive Services department at UA Campus Health Service.
Mindful A nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society. Resources include articles, videos, and online courses on mindfulness.
Take Charge of Your Well-Being in 2020 Tips and resources by UA Campus Health Service Health Promotion and Preventive Services
The Minimalists Podcast, books, and films that focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom.
My Wellness Coach App by the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.
Very Well Fit Library of more than 6,000 pieces of content, created and refined over the past 20+ years, that has been written by more than 100 healthcare professionals and industry experts including experienced dietitians, nutritionists, and personal trainers, and then vetted by board-certified physicians.
Very Well Health Award-winning library of more than 18,000 pieces of content, written by more than 100 healthcare professionals and industry experts including experienced doctors, nurses, and patient advocates, and is vetted by our panel of board-certified physicians.
Very Well Mind Online library created and refined over the past 20+ years, has been written by more than 100 healthcare professionals and industry experts including experienced doctors, therapists, and social workers, and then vetted by board-certified physicians.
Well Wellness articles by the New York Times.
Well and Good Articles, talks, and workouts about living a well life, inside and out.
Whole Life Challenge Blog Articles on improving health, happiness, and overall connectedness.