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The Importance of Health in College

College is a time of independence and new experiences. College is also a time of heightened stress and sometimes unhealthy choices. Be aware of your health and how to address problems that affect your health.

Mental Health

Mental health, although often ignored, is just as important as physical health. Mental health includes being able to recognize negative emotions or feelings and having a way to deal with them. It is beneficial to figure out the cause of your negative emotions or feelings and there are people that can help you do this. These people can also help you deal with your negative emotions and feelings. Reach out to a professional with any problems you may have dealing with your mental health. Many colleges provide assistance or resources in this aspect.


A major negative emotion felt in college is stress. Stress can be harmful when it is not dealt with. When you are in stressful situations you can often recognize that you are stressed. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand. Symptoms of stress may include headaches, irritability, a nervous stomach, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, and/or disrupted sleep. Outside of physical symptoms, there are also emotional and behavioral symptoms. Once you recognize these symptoms, it is important to begin to find a way to relieve your stress. Sometimes stress can help push you to get things done, but prolonged stress is unhealthy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged stress can have major negative effects on your emotions and behavior. The effects of stress on your emotions include anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, anger, sadness, and/or depression. The effects of stress on your behavior include over/undereating, angry outbursts, social withdrawal, or exercising less often. Stress can even lead to more serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

To deal with stress you can find a hobby you enjoy, meditate, reward yourself with something you enjoy, take mental breaks, and find and practice relaxation techniques. There are even certain apps that help you deal with stress. Stress caused by one event, such as an exam, can affect every aspect of your life if it is not properly dealt with.

Physical Health

Physical health includes many aspects and in regards to physical health, it can be beneficial to focus on exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep.


Exercising has many great benefits so try to set aside time to focus on doing exercises you find enjoyable. Start small by just walking around campus or your neighborhood. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart diseases, improve your mental health and mood, improve your thinking, learning, and judgment skills, strengthen your bones and muscles, reduce your risk of some cancers, improve your sleep, and increase your chances of living longer. At a stressful time in your life exercising can be a great coping mechanism.

Eating Healthy

Healthy eating can be hard to do, but it has many benefits. To eat more healthily, start adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Find a diet plan that works for you that can help you avoid unhealthy foods and drinks such as chips and soda. College is also a busy time so make sure to dedicate time to healthy eating.

Getting Enough Sleep

College students need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. College students also need quality sleep in which they are comfortable and do not wake up often throughout the night. If you are not getting enough sleep you can begin to fall asleep at unexpected times, have trouble focusing, excessively yawn, stumble more than usual, and feel sluggish. According to Medical News Today, sleep deprivation, or continued loss of sleep, can cause decreased effectiveness of your immune or cardiovascular system, changes in body weight, and make it harder to form new memories, focus, or control emotions. Getting enough sleep helps you to form new memories and learn, take care of your mental and physical health, improve your immune and cardiovascular systems, and enhance productivity and alertness. To improve your sleep habits, you can take 15-45 minutes naps, avoid all-nighters, turn off technology before you go to sleep, and sleep in a dark, quiet room.

Physical health and mental health are heavily dependent on one another so make sure to take care of both aspects of your health. The more healthy practices you adopt the better your overall performance.


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