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Part of being mature is being able to communicate with others effectively. You should be able to clearly and effectively communicate how you feel and what you are thinking. There may be times when you can’t pinpoint how you feel.  You could experience a shift in how you feel.  The key is to be able to identify that a shift has occurred and why the shift has occurred.  Did something trigger the shift? Did you hear something? Did someone say something? The shift doesn’t have to be major deep psychological reason.  It could simply be that you are tired or hungry.

When you discover there has been a shift in your attitude and energy, tell yourself to HALT.  HALT is an easy to remember acronym to help you assess your mood and identify what is going on with you internally.





When your mood begins to shift, be quick to identify it and label it. Ask yourself “am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?”.

There are easy fixes for being hungry and tired.  Try to keep snacks with you at all times. Store something in glove compartment, in your backpack, in your room.  Having something available will prove to beneficial to your mood when you are hungry.  When you become hungry and do not eat you can become irritable.  Irritability can cause you to say things you don’t mean, lash out, and create hostile exchanges with those around you.  Similar effects occur when you are tired. A simple power nap could do wonders for your mood.  Taking a few minutes to recharge your battery and lift your spirits will also help your mood stabilize and remain consistent.

Anger and loneliness are a little harder to resolve and may take more time to resolve.  When anger is the answer to your mood changing, you have to ask yourself what happened (or didn’t) or what was said (or wasn’t) that caused you to experience a change in your mood.  The quicker you can identify the cause the quicker you can resolve and get back to normal. If someone is the culprit, confront the issue head on.  Let the person know that you are angry, why you are angry, and what you would like to see happen to resolve the issue. You cannot expect that the person will react the why you would like, agree with how you feel, or resolve the issue the way you would.  The point of confronting the issue is so you can feel better about getting it out in the open.  Once you have spoken your mind on the issue, let it go and consider the issue resolved. If the anger is not towards a person, identify what the issue is and how you can resolve it.  If you cannot resolve recruit help to assist you with solving.  If you solve the problem, great! If you are not able to resolve the source of the anger, accept that you may not be able to resolve the issue and/or give it time to resolve on its own.

Loneliness is probably the hardest to identify.  Being in a new place, without friends, and away from family could make college a very lonely place.  You may not readily identify that you are lonely.  You may have feelings that you are not able to easily see and put a label on.  Once you do identify you are feeling lonely.  Try to engage with others around you; see what your roommate is up to, see if there are any events happening on campus, or call a friend or family member. When feeling lonely you want to avoid interacting with the “wrong” type of company.  You don’t want to hang around those that will cause you to engage in behaviors you would not normally engage in or those that will take advantage of your lonely state.  If the loneliness persists, consider using on-campus resources to help you identify the sources of your loneliness and healthy ways to cope with the loneliness.

When you feel a shift in your mood simply say HALT! Identifying how you feel and what caused you to feel that way is a big part of maturation.  Keep snacks readily available, address your source of anger, find things to do and people to engage with you, or take nap.  HALT will help you stay consistent in your mood.

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It is just about time for midterms, you are just about half way through the semester. It is usually around this time stress levels begin to surge.  Before the stressful time commences, you should mentally prepare by finding balance, peace, and taking time for yourself.  Your mental health is the foundation for your academic success and overall well-being.  Be sure you are listening to what your body, mind and spirit are telling you. There are a number of things you can do to stay mentally fit as you navigate through the stressful times of the semester. Be sure to review helpful de-stressing tips below. These tips could be helpful to you or a friend as you navigate midterms. Be sure to keep your mental health in shape, but also check on the health of your peers.  Midterms and Finals bring out the lowest points in a student’s semester and having a good support system will be just what a peer may need. Be sure to build your support system and be open to being a part of someone else’s support system.

Exercise– take time to release some endorphins to help you look and feel better. Exercising will give you a chance to focus on something other than the stress of school.  Go to the fitness center on campus, take a group class, or simply walk around the campus.  The physical activity will help de-stress and will also help you sleep better.

Get some sleep– rest is the next most important thing to your academic success after studying. It is important that you try to regular full night of sleep. Attempt to sleep in a quiet dark room uninterrupted.

Prepare for the task ahead– be sure you have a plan in place on how you will successfully study for up to six tests at one time.  You cannot cram for all of the exams one day before the exam.  You must develop a plan to effectively dedicate enough time for each course.  Taking time to study prior to the week of the exams. Dedicating a little time each day to each class will help you take achieve little piece of the puzzle, by the time exams arrive you will have the whole picture.

Stay spiritually grounded– if you have a spiritual background, now is the time to dig deeper into your faith.  You want to stay spiritually fit before and during these stressful times.  Being spiritually fit will allow you to be calm and centered during the exams. If you do not have a spiritual background, now is a good time to explore your spiritual needs.  Don’t know where to start? Ask a friend, look at campus groups, or see if there are spiritual resources on campus.  Showing up is the first step and all you have to do is determine how you feel.  If you do not like what you see or hear you do not have to stay or return.  Just because you do not like one option does not mean you cannot explore other options.

Utilize campus resources– The campus has a wealth of resources available to you.  Your tuition covers the costs of these resources so feel free to utilize them.  Outside of the fitness center and the spiritual resources that may be available, you also have access to counselors and advisors.  Your advisor and a counselor can serve as sounding boards during stressful times. They can listen to your concerns, allow you to vent, and help navigate your steps.  Don’t be ashamed or feel like you are imposing, these professionals are on campus to be of service to you.  So if you need them just reach out and set up an appointment.