March 12, 2012

WELLNESS: It’s Not Just Physical

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College is usually the first time that we, young adults, live independently from our parents. This means we’re responsible for our own schedule, doing laundry, getting meals and taking care of ourselves. To most, taking care of their body means taking a daily multi-vitamin, working out regularly, eating a balanced diet and attempting to get the recommended eight hours of sleep nightly. Mental well being, however, is often left out of the discussion of general wellness.

Cornell students like us are driven to succeed in the classroom and determined to find success after graduation. But whether you are a freshman trying to find your group of friends, or a senior looking for a job, we are all subject to stress during our college careers. At a rigorous academic institution like Cornell, there is sadly a stigma of weakness associated with asking for help. It is clear from the suicides of past semesters that mental wellbeing was perhaps not at the forefront on campus, but that is definitely changing. Now the important thing is to make sure that students take advantage of the help available to them.

Taking care of yourself mentally should be viewed as another component in wellness, just like diet and exercise. According to Alison Malmon, founder of Active Minds, “We all may not have mental illness, but we all have mental health.” Malmon lost her brother to suicide during her freshman year of college and founded Active Minds, a non-profit organization working to change the conversation about mental health. Whether or not students are personally dealing with mental health issues or have friends and family that are facing difficult times, mental health is a component to general wellness, just like physical wellbeing. I firmly believe that before we can accomplish all our dreams of success in the world, we must first take care of ourselves. So if you’re ever feeling stressed, lonely or just need to talk, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone because your mental wellbeing is of utmost importance.

Catherine Kim is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at ckim@cornellsun.com. The Missing Link: Health, Nutrition and Wellness appears on Tuesdays. 

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Original Author: Catherine Kim

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