Being a student can be stressful, so it’s important for students to remember their mental health is important. October is Emotional Wellness Month, which is based on achieving and sustaining a positive mindset.
What does it mean to be emotionally well?
According to Sanford Health, “the deciding factor in determining if someone is emotionally healthy is how one decides to ‘mentally handle’ the situations and circumstances ‘dealt’ to them … People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings and behavior.”
Professor Kristin Stover is an adjunct professor for NSU’s College of Psychology.
“When I use the term ‘emotional well-being,’ I am referring to that general emotional state that the person experiences on an everyday basis and that series of feelings that guide the individual’s interactions with their family, friends and the world around them,” said Stover.
“Individuals who have greater degrees of emotional wellness have usually reported greater degrees of happiness and satisfaction with their overall place in life.”
-Professor Kristin Stover
Factors that interfere with emotional health
“Individuals who have greater degrees of emotional wellness have usually reported greater degrees of happiness and satisfaction with their overall place in life. They often find it easier to achieve goals and to maintain their focus on their goals, which is very important for college students,” said Stover.
However, emotional well being can sometimes be hard to maintain. Factors like stress, school, work, homesickness, social issues, self-esteem and even social media can interfere with one’s state of emotional well-being.
“There are a number of factors that can impact anyone’s emotional well-being and their physical well-being in turn. I think this is a particular concern for young adults who are engaged in education or enrolled in college courses,” said Stover.
Finding a balance between work and school
One of the main problems college students might face is trying to find a balance between working a job and course work.
“We can also find ourselves with a poor work-life-balance and that can be detrimental to emotional health. A good work-life-balance includes setting aside time and scheduling for work and scheduling time for activities that provide a relief from the anxiety that could be caused from those scenarios. Things like working out, hobbies, family, friends, etc. It is incredibly important to make sure that you do create time for yourself in order to maintain the positive outlook.”
Self-esteem and social media
When it comes to emotional well-being, low self-esteem and anxiety from social media can lead to unfavorable results. According to the Huffington Post, “social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills.”
“Social media comes with its own specific set of liabilities for individuals. It can be a source of comfort and support, as well as a source of distraction and discontent for a number of people. We can only control what we put into social media and what we ingest from social media. If it is upsetting to you, causing a distraction from your schoolwork, your family, your relationships or the people who are important to you, turn it off… A little time away can do wonders for your state of emotional well-being,” said Stover.
When it comes to improving self-esteem, Stover has the following advice:
“Improving self-esteem is often accomplished through introspection and questioning those negative things that we might have. A healthy sense of self-esteem is rooted in reality, but often has a tendency to be positive. It focuses on the positive attributes of the individual. By stopping the comparison game and understanding that each individual is different and we all possess individual talents, we can certainly work on building self-esteem or stop the destruction of self-esteem.”
Options offered for NSU students
Stover wants students to know that help is always there and that emotional well-being matters.
“Never underestimate the importance of emotional wellbeing. While we focus on the attainment of education in college, it is important to remember that you cannot achieve these goals at the sacrifice of your emotional state. So, it’s never a weakness to ask for assistance, and there are multiple organizations within the university and even outside the university who are happy to provide assistance to individuals who find that they might be struggling with their own sense of well-being or emotional health,” said Stover.
For NSU students hoping to improve or maintain their mental health, Henderson Student Counseling Center provides NSU students 10 free student counseling sessions every year. Henderson also provides a 24/7 crisis hotline, which students can reach at 954-424-6911. Students can find more information at nova.edu/healthcare/student-services/student-counseling.html