Mind, Body, Spirit

Fall 2019, Volume 20, Issue 1

Front Cover:

Staying Fit in a College Environment.

Feeling Lonely? Me Too! Exploring the causes of the loneliness epidemic.

Personal Growth in Friendships: Knowing when it’s time to let go.

Inside Front Cover:

Dean, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics: Diane Lyden Murphy

Senior Associate Vice President Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience: Rob Hradsky

Associate Provost for Academic Programs: Chris Johnson

Editorial Director: Luvenia W. Cowart, Ed.D., R.N.

Student Copy Editor: Cate Willing

Graphic Designer: Amy McVey, Syracuse University Division of Marketing and Communications

Student Editorial Board: Daniela Alsina, Alek Aman, Brooke Breton, Fabryce Fetus, Kinley Gaudette, Nicole Gutierrez, Rachel Jang, Kamryn Kanter, Briseyda Mendoza-Aguayo, Stephanie Pagnozzi, Margaret Rose, Alexis Schneider, Amanda Stanley, Zanai Venable, Gracie Virden

Contributing Writer: Janet Pease, Former Head of Collections and Research Services Syracuse University Libraries

Editing Support: Michele Barrett, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and George S. Bain

Contact Us: Healthy You Newsmagazine, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, White Hall, Syracuse New York 13244, 315.443.9808.

Healthy You welcomes letters to the editor and story ideas

Healthy You is a student-run health magazine of the Department of Public Health. It is a jointly funded publication of the Syracuse University David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and the Divisions of Undergraduate Studies, and Enrollment and the Student Experience. This publication enhances, broadens and supports the academic and social experiences of students.

The Student Editorial Board is responsible for providing work structure for the magazine’s production, which includes the content, design, production and distribution. The information contained in this publication is not to be constructed as medical advice. Readers should consult a medical professional before engaging in any activity described. The contents of this magazine may not be reprinted without the expressed consent of the editorial director.


1. In the Know. New research in health and wellness.


2. Mother Nature or Doctor Nature? The benefits of enjoying nature.

3. Social Media: How Much Is Too Much? Know the signs of addiction.

4. Peer Pressure: Think it Through. Managing peer pressure on a college campus.

5. Feeling Lonely? Me Too! Exploring the causes of the loneliness epidemic.

6. Essential Oils: Uses and Benefits. Alternative health methods.

7. Hug Me! How Hugging Can Improve Health. For best results, 12 times a day.


8. Vinyasa and Sun Salutations. The mental and physical benefits of yoga.

9. An Early Start to a Healthy Heart. Adopting early good health habits.

10. Staying Fit in a College Environment. Simple ways to promote fitness.

12. Calling all Vegans, Vegetarians and Pescatarians. Impacting your health and environment.

13. Meatless Mondays: Could This be the Answer for You? The health benefits of reducing your meat intake.

14. Green Tea: A Drink with Many Benefits. How it reduces rates of diseases.

15. Sunlight: Finding the Perfect Balance. Achieving optimal levels of sunlight exposure.

16. The Nail-Biting Addiction. Saying no to nail-biting.

17. Nailed It! Or Not? Examining the potential risks of gel manicures.


18. Staying Connected to Your Roots. The importance of strengthening and maintaining intergenerational relationships.

20. Promoting Diversity through Roommate Selection. The intersection of living space and cultural differences.

21. Personal Growth in Friendships. Knowing when it’s time to let go and why it’s important to do so.

In the Know. New research in health and wellness

By Janet Pease, Former Head of Collections and Research Services, Syracuse University Libraries

Use the 60/60 Rule to Prevent Hearing Loss!

The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion young people worldwide could be at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Recommendations for prevention from the Mayo Clinic include following the 60/60 rule—keeping the volume at no more than 60 percent of the maximum and listening for no more than 60 minutes before taking a break. The clinic also recommends using over-the-ear headphones instead of earbuds because headphones keep the sound further away from the eardrum and muffle background noises so it may not be necessary to listen at the maximum volume.

Source: mayoclinic.com

Take 5 for a Mental Boost

According to results of a research study involving college students, participants assigned to spend just five minutes sitting on a bench outside experienced an increase in positive emotions, while study participants assigned to an indoor location did not experience any change. Surprisingly, researchers also found that increasing the time spent outdoors to 15 minutes did not magnify the positive emotional effect.

Source: Journal of Positive Psychology

Handwashing—Better than Hand Sanitizer in Flu Prevention

In a study published in the journal mSphere, Japanese researchers found that washing hands under running water (even without soap!) was more effective than hand sanitizer in stopping the spread of flu germs. According to Dr. Ryohei Hirose, co-author of the study, wet mucus surrounding the flu virus protects it to a much stronger degree than expected, preventing the ethanol-based hand sanitizer from reaching the germs to kill them. But the rubbing action of hands under running water removes the mucus and washes away the virus.

Source: healthline.com

Mother Nature or Doctor Nature?

By Amanda Stanley, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

After a heated argument, a lot of people are told to go “take a walk,” which is usually meant as a criticism. But these critics don’t realize is that going for a walk is beneficial. People who feel stressed often go to see a therapist or go to the gym. They have other options. Instead of spending money and time on therapy visits, just stepping outside into nature reduces stress, anxiety and depression.

Every day college students are faced with extreme amounts of pressure; each student may handle their mental health differently. One way to improve mental health is to go outside, or bring the outside indoors. While shopping for dorm decor, we rarely decide to pick out a plant. According to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, “Research done in hospitals, offices and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.” A plant’s presence has a big impact on one’s mental health.

When people turn to therapy to help improve their mental state, they could spend a lot of money weekly, which is not feasible for most college students. Going out into nature for just a short amount of time can have just as big of an impact as going to therapy. No matter what it is, most people will jump at the opportunity to get anything for free, but when it comes to nature people forget its value. Tori Rodriguez writes in Psychiatry Advisor, “With the vast range of therapeutic tools and techniques at our disposal, mental health practitioners often overlook a key resource that has a multitude of mental, emotional and cognitive benefits, is generally accessible to most people and doesn’t cost a thing: the great outdoors.”

Walking around campus works for Jaime Gartenberg ’23. “After I finish hours of homework in my dorm room, going outside for a walk to the dining hall is a good way for me to clear my head,” she says.

Our beautiful Syracuse University campus offers so many spots to spend time outside: plenty of trees to sit under and do work, plenty of benches to eat lunch with a friend, plenty of open grass on the Quad to just chill alone. Many S.U. clubs also involve being outside. Setting time aside to do these simple things in nature will reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression that are common among college students.

For More Information:

University of Minnesota: How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?

Psychiatry Advisor: The Mental Health Benefits of Nature Exposure

Social Media: How Much Is Too Much?

By Stephanie Pagnozzi, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

College students find comfort in the easygoing nature of social media to escape face-to-face interactions. It has come to the point that it’s normal to constantly have your phone on you. Students and adolescents even face a lot of issues from older generations who don’t understand this is now the normal method of communication.

But how much is too much?

According to a Baylor University study, women were found to spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, men an average of eight hours. To break this down, women spent 41 percent of their day on their phones, men about 33 percent. The study also found that around 60 percent of students admitted to being addicted to their phones.

This proves problematic for students, who often go on their phones while studying or in class. A psychologist from the University of Michigan, David Meyer, says that “under most conditions, the brain simply cannot do two complex tasks at the same time…each of these tasks is very demanding, and each of them uses the same area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.” If students stay focused on the task at hand, they retain more information and perform better on exams.

Constant phone and social media use can also lead to many unhealthy risks and consequences, such as lack of sleep, shortened attention span, headaches, eye strain and dizziness. It is crucial that college students get enough sleep to stay focused and do well in classes. Sleep disturbances result when the bright lights a computer or phone emits prevent natural melatonin levels from rising. Reduced sleep has many emotional, physical and cognitive effects that can hinder a college student from doing their best work. As much as students love to stay connected, many don’t know the health risks associated with technology and social media addiction.

Social media have a strong influence on students’ mental health as well. In many cases, people compare themselves to unrealistic representations of famous influencers and models. Many popular role models edit their social media posts to show only an exciting life. This can cause young adults to become self-conscious and have social media anxiety disorder. Research has also found that spending too much time on screens can lead to depression, loneliness, paranoia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and impulsive disorder.

If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, contact the counseling department’s 24-hour support call at 315.443.8000 or visit the Barnes Center at The Arch.

Despite the many bad side effects of too much screen and social media time, social media and technology help to connect people of different backgrounds and cultures. Social media can also be an outlet for people who aren’t necessarily good at expressing their creativity. But be conscious about the amount of time you spend on technology, so you can live your life to the fullest.

For More Information:

PsychCentral: College Students In Study Spend 8 to 10 Hours Daily on Cell Phone

The Washington Times: Cellphones and unhealthy side effects

Peer Pressure: Think It Through

By Gracie Virden, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

College provides an environment built on temptations: procrastination, partying and peers. With these temptations come risks. Peers provide some of the greatest pressures. But when peer pressure makes you feel uncomfortable, you can find a way out.

“Peer pressure involves encouragement from others who are of similar age to participate in certain behaviors or activities,” says Alcohol.org, an American Addiction Centers (A.A.C.) resource. These behaviors, which may involve risk, include drinking excessively or doing drugs. Many students will engage in dangerous activities based on the expectations of what college entails. The A.A.C. says that teens are 75 percent more likely to drink alcohol if they view a peer on social media drinking or partying.

Going off to college offers students new freedoms along with the desire to fit in and not deviate from the social norm. Parental figures are no longer dictating the choices that you make. With this freedom comes responsibility. Western Kentucky University’s Counseling Center describes peer pressure as both positive—motivation to do well in school—and negative. It is up to you to decide what is the right choice.

What can you do to manage peer pressure? Here are some tips compiled from Western Kentucky University and the A.A.C.:

  1. Just say “no.”
  2. Let your morals guide your decisions.
  3. Find your crowd. There are so many groups of people in college, so find the group you can be yourself in.
  4. Understand social perceptions of drinking. Peers may not be consuming as much alcohol as they say they are.
  5. Try not to judge others for their actions. If you respect others, they will respect your decisions as well.
  6. Keep busy with clubs or activities that do not involve alcohol. At Syracuse University, a complete list of organizations can be found at: Syracuse University Student Organizations page.
  7. Talk with a respected adult about the risks of binging alcohol.
  8. Establish healthy relationships with others who do not force anyone to drink alcohol.

If you or a peer believes he or she is abusing alcohol or other drugs, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment at the Barnes Center at The Arch for substance abuse. It offers counseling, group therapy and educational workshops. Visit the Syracuse University Substance Abuse information page.

For More Information:

alcohol.org: Peer Pressure of Drinking

Western Kentucky University: Peer Pressure

Feeling Lonely? Me Too!

By Briseyda Mendoza-Aguayo, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

College comes with several changes that can be difficult to adjust to. Sometimes those changes can make you feel lonely or confused. It is important to understand that loneliness is usually temporary and can be dealt with in many ways.

Many studies indicate that students feel the loneliest during their first year in college, but not a lot of people are open to discussing it. If you feel lonely, you are not the only one. The National College Health Assessment survey conducted by the American College Health Association in 2018 reports that 64 percent of students felt very lonely in the previous 12 months and 68 percent were very sad.

Loneliness can arise from many characteristics. As stated by Joanna Clay, from the University of Southern California News, loneliness can result from excessive technology and social media use. Excessive use of social media can lead to more time spent indoors and less time socializing in person, which  may be followed by a lack of new friendships. Loneliness can also emerge from feeling out of place in a new setting or experiencing a culture shock, something many people experience during their first couple of days in college after their families leave. It can also develop from relationship status, parental relationship and other factors. Research conducted by Ugur Özdemir and Tarik Tuncay from Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health indicates that loneliness was higher in students who are not in romantic relationships and were not from married families, characteristics that many students cannot control. Additionally, the Art and Healing organization states that first-generation students are especially susceptible to loneliness, which can result from a lack of friendships in college and being part of a new experience that is unknown to other family members.

It is important to reach out for help when feeling extreme loneliness. Although it can be difficult, talking to someone about your issues is the first step. You can find immediate help at the Counseling Center in the Barnes Center at The Arch.

Katharina Diehl, Charlotte Jansen, Kamila Ishchanova and Jennifer Hilger-Kolb from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health mention that there is an association between loneliness and sleeping problems, short sleep duration, tobacco use, aggressive behavior and sexual risk behavior. It is vital to reach out to prevent these behaviors. Some steps to combat the feelings of loneliness include physical activity, yoga, meditation, and involvement in school activities. Next time, instead of indulging in social media, consider going to an Orange After Dark event or introducing yourself to the people in your residence hall. Transitions are tough, but they are a part of personal growth. It is important to remember that most students are in the same boat and feel the same way. Reach out and make some connections.

For additional information and resources, you can visit the counseling center at Barnes Center at The Arch, call 315.443.8000 for 24-hour support or visit the National Institute of Mental Health and the Syracuse University Be Mindful page.

Essential Oils: Uses and Benefits

By Rachel Jang, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Are you looking for an effective way to destress or relax? One way you might be able do so is through aromatherapy. Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants that represent the essence of each plant. They can be used to help treat a variety of physical and mental ailments.

For example, according to an article from healthline.com, many studies support the claim that essential oils can help combat stress and anxiety. It states, “Regarding aromatherapy, initial studies have been quite positive. Many have shown that the smell of some essential oils can work as a complementary therapy to treat anxiety and stress.” According to Medical News Today, specific essential oils that can aid in treating anxiety and stress are bergamot orange and clary sage. In studies testing the use of bergamot orange, anxiety levels in people awaiting minor surgery were decreased. Those inhaling clary sage before a medical procedure experience lower blood pressure levels and slowed respiratory rates.

Essential oils can also help combat physical ailments such as headaches and migraines. One article by healthline.com suggests “positive effects against headaches when applying peppermint and lavender oil to the skin.” Pure essential oils, however, can be potent and should be diluted with carrier oils when applied to the skin. While essential oils can be beneficial, it should also be noted that essential oils are not the only treatment plan you should go about and persisting problems should be addressed by a doctor. Additionally, according to hopkinsmedicine.org, “if you have atopic dermatitis or a history of reactions to topical products,” you are at greater risk for developing an allergic reaction.

For college students, essential oils may be helpful to those who need a break or just need to relax. Its help, while it is not the full answer, can provide many health benefits. Students struggling with insomnia may find that lavender oil can make a difference in their lives. Those struggling with stress from finals week may need to find some time to relax and could use essential oils to do so. However, if you are unable to access or purchase aromatherapy products, it is important to know that self-care can be done through alternative methods. For members of Syracuse University, self-care can be achieved easily at the new Barnes Center at The Arch. With services including but not limited to dog therapy, mind spas, and health and counseling services, it is important to use these resources through stressful times throughout the semester.

Essential oils might be the addition in your life that you did not know you needed. Try them!

For More Information:

The Essential Blog: The History Of Essential Oils And How Long Have Essential Oils Been Around?

Healthline: What Are Essential Oils, and Do They Work?

Hug Me! How Hugging Can Improve Health

By Cate Willing, Sophomore, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Think about the last time you gave someone a hug. How did it feel? Did you think that you were providing lasting benefits to the recipient of your hug?

A study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University says you did. If the person you hugged also faced a conflict event that day, they were less stressed.

The Carnegie Mellon researchers sampled 404 adults, interviewing them every night for 14 days. They were asked about conflicts in their lives each day, if they received hugs, and the positive and negative effects they experienced. The results of the study depicted a correlation between hug receipt and conflict exposure. Those who received hugs during the day—and were also faced with a conflict event—found the conflict affected their attitudes less.

Michael Murphy, Ph.D., one of the lead authors of the study, described this correlation by explaining that touch turns off the part of the brain that responds to stress, which makes the body respond with “less of a “flight-or-fight” response to stressful situations.

Why is this? According to Penn Medicine, the chemical in our brain called oxytocin is also known as the “feel-good hormone” because of its ability to boost mood through physical touch. When this hormone is released through hugging it out with a friend or partner, both of you may see mental and physical health benefits.

Receiving a hug, no matter if it is a platonically or romantically fueled one, betters your mood and can provide immune system benefits. A study published in Psychological Science examined the effects of hugging with susceptibility to upper respiratory illness and infection. The study hypothesized that perceived social support, in the form of hugging, could protect against the disease-causing agents associated with stress. The participants were all exposed to the common cold virus and those who had “greater perceived support and more-frequent hugs [among participants] predicted less-severe illness signs,” according to the study.

Nowadays, it is common to avoid physical contact with those around us because of the rise in technology use combined with our cultural norms. Despite this, asking for more hugs (and giving them) is an easy way to break down these norms and promote healthier living for both your mind and body.

If the evidence from these studies isn’t motivating enough to get you to start hugging your friends and family more, family therapist Virginia Satir had many suggestions on how often individuals should be hugging each other. She’s well known for saying, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

All in all, hugging, while it may seem trivial, has many health benefits. Because of this, try to be more cognizant of how often you give and receive hugs in the coming days. Hugging a random stranger without their consent probably will not be a mood booster for either of you, but hugging friends, family members and significant others (when appropriate) is a quick and easy way to feel relieved and even boost your immune system, and theirs too.

For More Information:

Psychological Science: Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support?

Receiving a hug is associated with the attenuation of negative mood that occurs on days with interpersonal conflict.

Vinyasa and Sun Salutations: Examining the Mental and Physical Benefits of Yoga

By Margaret Rose, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk School of Sport and Human Dynamics

Two well-known struggles college students face are how to deal with stress and how to get enough exercise. Yoga is an easy way to conquer both issues. Yoga can be used for both relaxation and stress relief while providing physical benefits of flexibility and muscular strength, even lessening chronic pain as a person approaches old age.

According to statistics compiled by New York University, stress is the No. 1 academic hindrance for college students nationwide and six out of 10 students report not being able to get work done due to high-stress levels.

Yoga provides both a physical and mental escape. Yoga is most commonly composed of meditation, breathing exercises and muscle stretches and flexes. It emphasizes a positive outlook on life, therefore helping to manage and cope with stress. In a National Institutes of Health study from 2005, 24 women who considered themselves emotionally distressed partook in a three-month yoga program. At the end, the women experienced lower levels of perceived stress, fatigue and depression. Their cortisol levels, a stress hormone, were also lower after participation in each class. The U.S. National Library of Medicine posted a similar study conducted with 64 women suffering from P.T.S.D. After taking a weekly yoga class for 10 weeks, 52 percent of participants no longer met the criteria for P.T.S.D.

The benefits of yoga extend to physical stress as well. Stress can manifest in the neck or back, and yoga targets those areas through stretching and posture poses. Other physical advantages of yoga include muscle toning, increased flexibility, weight reduction, decreased insomnia, improved respiration and a balanced metabolism. Yoga also helps manage chronic pain such as arthritis, lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. These benefits stem from the relaxation techniques and bodily awareness yoga promotes. Natalie Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician in California, said, “The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.”

The emphasis of bodily awareness also promotes positive body image and mindful eating habits. Yoga studios usually have limited mirrors. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the low number of mirrors encourages inward awareness of the body above physical appearance. Surveys have shown people who practice yoga are less critical of their bodies, and for that reason, yoga is beginning to be incorporated into many treatment programs for eating disorders. Similarly, those who practice yoga scored higher on mindful eating questionnaires, demonstrating healthy habits such as eating only until satisfied.

YouTube is full of videos taught by yoga instructors that can be done in a dorm room. Even simple poses such as downward dog can be helpful in reducing your stress. The recently opened Barnes Center at The Arch offers an array of different yoga classes throughout the week, all of which can be found on its website. Yoga is an easy and fun way to relieve your stress and help your body. All you need to do is give it a try.

For more information regarding stress, yoga and studies done on them, please visit the Syracuse University page on Yoga or read the following research article: Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial.

An Early Start to a Healthy Heart

By Kinley Gaudette, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

It is no secret that college students often struggle to maintain a healthy diet and find time to exercise. The choices made during the college years can heavily influence heart health later in life. Small changes such as cutting down on alcohol and fatty foods, managing stress and increasing exercise regimens can have a lasting impact on your health. While heart disease prevention is most often associated with older folks, having good nutrition and exercising regularly as a young adult are crucial for heart health.

Keeping blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol within healthy limits is key to preventing heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the habits associated with keeping these levels in a normal range are “eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking or using other forms of tobacco, and limiting alcohol use.” That goes for everybody, not just older adults.

Here at Syracuse University are ample opportunities for healthy eating. Through the SyracuseMobile app, students can see what will be served in the dining halls throughout the week and can plan out healthy choices.

Equally important to eating well is getting enough exercise. According to the Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation, “adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.” Luckily for S.U. students, the new Barnes Center at The Arch is available for use with a wide variety of options, depending on which types of exercise you enjoy most. For those who aren’t sure where to start, the Barnes Center offers free drop-in fitness classes such as cycling, yoga and strength training. Johns Hopkins exercise physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., says, “Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the most important for heart health.”

Many college students tend to participate in partying and clubbing. Excessive drinking imposes many heart risks, such as cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. Alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure, as well as levels of fat in the blood. The frequency with which alcohol is used on college campuses underscores the importance of understanding heart-healthy habits. If you or your friends are struggling with alcohol abuse, the Barnes Center at The Arch has licensed counseling professionals available 24 hours a day.

At the end of the day, making heart-healthy choices is a marathon, not a sprint. It is not necessary to completely give up pizza, to work out until you can’t possibly do it anymore or to stay in every weekend while your friends go out. Find healthy choices that you like in the dining halls and incorporate them whenever you can. Try to reduce your intake of high-sodium, high-fat foods. Exercise often and take it easy on the drinks. Your future self will thank you.

For More Information:

The C.D.C. Heart Disease Website

The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation.

Staying Fit in a College Environment

By Brooke Breton, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Have you heard of the terrifying “freshman 15”? Most likely, any student entering college has been warned over and over about the weight gain that is evidently coming their way. Although adjusting to college life can make it seem difficult to stay fit and motivated, walking everywhere, taking advantage of the fitness center and even exercising in your dorm room can make this process easier.

One of the easiest ways to stay fit on a college campus is to walk everywhere, even taking the long way to class. This may seem tiring and require extra time, but it can provide a few extra minutes of exercise that can be easily worked into one’s new schedule. On the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Monique Tello writes that she takes the stairs every time she changes floors in the hospital because she knows how important exercise is. Tello advises, “If you have to go to another floor, take the stairs.” Tello also says, “If you realize you haven’t moved much one day, then try to get up and move around more. Invent a reason to go for a walk. It can be motivating to see how your stamina [in steps and flights] improves over time.”

Julia Torres ’19 says she gained the ‘‘freshman 15’’ when she arrived at Syracuse University. “I think that the main cause of this weight gain was the fact that I never exercised,” she says. “I figured I was getting enough exercises by walking the stairs from Brewster-Boland-Brockway, but let me tell you I definitely was not.” She recommends you “try to create a routine as soon as possible. That way, you can find times that work best for you to work out.”

Taking advantage of the fitness center on campus and the fitness classes that it offers can be an easy way to do this. The fitness center gives students an opportunity to work out at any time of the day, even between classes. If it’s hard to leave your warm room in the dead of winter to get to the gym, doing exercises in your room is a useful option.

“During the winter you have to try especially hard to motivate yourself,” Torres says. “My friends would get dumbbells and a yoga mat for their room; that way, they could do arm exercises, squats, abs, yoga, etc. in their dorm room if they were too lazy to go to the gym that day.”

Staying fit on a college campus can seem intimidating, although by taking advantage of the opportunities the campus provides, exercising can seem enjoyable and convenient. Daily fitness classes are offered at the Barnes Center at The Arch and can be found on the Syracuse University drop-in fitness classes information page or call the Barnes Center at The Arch at 315.443.8000 and press 5.

For More Information:

Harvard Medical School: Fitting in fitness for busy people

Calling All Vegans, Vegetarians and Pescatarians

By Margaret Rose, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk School of Sport and Human Dynamics

There are many different diets, some highly restrictive and some not restrictive at all. Almost everyone has heard of the Keto diet or juice fasting. Even Carmelo Anthony, former Syracuse University basketball player, took part in a restrictive diet called the Daniel Fast, consisting of only vegetables and grains, during his time with the New York Knicks.

The most well-known, commonly practiced restrictive diets are being vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian. Veganism, vegetarianism and pescatarianism are each beneficial from a health and fiber standpoint as well as an environmental standpoint, but they can pose risks of nutritional deficiency if not done properly.

A vegan diet is environmentally friendly. The industry of raising animals for food uses large amounts of water, land, energy and food. The Smithsonian Institution estimates seven football fields of land are bulldozed every minute to make room for farmland. Pigs eat millions of tons of feed annually. Producing two pounds of beef releases more greenhouse gas than driving in a car for three hours. Not partaking in the consumption of animal products could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 75 percent, Oxford University researchers estimate. The vegan diet also comes with health benefits such as shedding fat quicker and reducing risk of cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. However, because the vegan diet cuts out so many food groups, people can be at risk nutritionally. If not dieting correctly, a person might not get enough protein, iron and certain vitamins—such as vitamin D—that come from animal products.

The benefits of a vegetarian diet are similar to the benefits of veganism but less extreme. The carbon footprint of a vegetarian is estimated to be reduced around 50 percent. The health benefits of a vegetarian are similar in that shedding fat is easier, cancer risks are reduced and fiber consumption is increased. However, the intake of products such as dairy and eggs also give vegetarians vitamins and calcium that vegans tend to lack, so the risk for nutritional deficiencies is reduced.

A pescatarian diet cuts out eating animal meat but includes seafood. Many pescatarians partake in this diet for animal cruelty reasons. A pescatarian diet reduces an individual’s carbon footprint and energy, water, land and food waste. But fish farms can be harmful to the environment due to potential overcrowding, increased spread of disease and disruption of ecosystems. Pescatarian diets are also expensive and hard to maintain, a major reason why it is a less common dieting choice. There are, however, notable health benefits to being pescatarian. Eating only fish and vegetables can lower high blood pressure and can decrease the risk of diabetes as well as promote cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of cancer.

A restrictive diet is not the only healthy diet out there and it is not for everyone. However, it is good to know how a restrictive diet could possibly affect your health and the environment. If you have a restrictive diet, make sure you are getting the nutrients you need, and if you are considering one, make sure you are educated on how to stay healthy. For more information about nutrition while at Syracuse, visit Syracuse University Food Services Nutrition page.


PETA: Veganism and the Environment

Down to Earth: Top 10 Reasons Why It's Green to Go Veggie

Meatless Mondays: Could this be the answer for you?

By Kinley Gaudette, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

We all have that one friend who swears that vegetarianism—or veganism—is the key to health, happiness and being an ethical person. Next thing you know, they’re three weeks into their so-called diet and they can’t resist the chicken tenders at Ernie Davis dining hall any longer.

That friend is on the right track. Cutting back on meat can improve your overall health and lessen your negative environmental impact. The key to success is dieting in a sustainable way. Going completely vegan or vegetarian seems impossible to many, but what most people don’t realize is that just cutting back on animal products once per week makes a difference for your health and the environment.

Monique Ryan, R.D., of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said it best: “Eating no meat one day a week is not only about subtracting from your diet, but adding to it.” According to Ryan, eating whole-grain, unprocessed carbs can help reduce your risk of a variety of diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, as well as some cancers. Of course, meatless diets involve health risks, too. According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, those practicing vegetarian diets must be careful that they are still getting a sufficient amount of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. This means you can’t just eat potato chips and Oreos (yes, they’re vegan) and expect to become a healthier person. You must incorporate nutrient-dense foods into your daily diet regimen.

Jenna Swetland ’23, who has been practicing vegetarianism for several months, says, “I try to make sure I eat other foods that have a lot of protein like beans and certain veggies to make up for the lack of meat.”

Swetland asserts that going meatless at Syracuse University is possible for anybody. “There are a ton of non-meat options at Syracuse,” she said. “Meat consumption is also one of the greatest factors contributing to environmental problems, so the more students learn about the benefits of reducing meat consumption, the better.”

How does the meat industry contribute to environmental damage? The World Resources Institute (W.R.I.) explains that farming requires cutting down miles and miles of trees, which causes C.O.2 emissions to rise. Additionally, most livestock animals emit methane, a harmful gas. According to the W.R.I., reducing how much red meat we consume could reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to food and land use by 15 percent to 35 percent by 2050 and vegetarianism could cut those emissions in half.

Many people going meatless once per week choose to do so on Mondays. This idea led to the Meatless Monday campaign, which says that Monday is a good day to go meat-free because research supports the idea that people will be more willing to try healthy behaviors at the beginning of each week. Whether you choose to cut back on Monday, Tuesday or every day, rest assured that you are making a good choice for both yourself and the planet.

For More Information:

World Resources Institute: 6 Pressing Questions About Beef and Climate Change, Answered

The Benefits of Meatless Monday

Green Tea: A Drink with Many Benefits

By Brooke Breton, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Have you ever wondered why green tea is raved about in the health world? The more often you drink green tea, the more likely you are to enjoy health benefits, such as reduced rates of cancer, heart disease and strokes. These benefits are due to the presence of phytochemicals and antioxidants that work to disarm free radicals from the harm they cause on the human body. Free radicals are extremely unstable atoms with an unpaired electron that can react and cause damage to the body’s systems. This damage can be seen in a variety of ways, including the natural aging process. These free radicals can be blocked by the antioxidants present in green tea, which interact with the unpaired electron and eliminate its ability to cause harm. Phytochemicals, while still being extensively researched, are also present in green tea and have been found to support antioxidant reactions. The presence of these two compounds is what gives this specific tea its restorative properties that can bring harmony back to the body.

“When tea is processed, [it] undergoes changes and that is what results in different colors. Green tea is supposed to be very rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, whereas others do not have as much,” says nutrition professor Sudha Raj G’85, Ph.D.’91. The phytochemicals present in green tea are actually what gives it the ability to change color. This property is also seen in the bright colored fruits and vegetables we enjoy.

The properties of green tea are continuously being studied, but researchers have seen a correlation between green tea consumption and reduced rates of cancer. Writing in Medical News Today, Megan Ware, R.D.N., L.D., said, “According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in tea have been shown to decrease tumor growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet U.V.B. radiation.” She continues, “In countries where green tea consumption is high, cancer rates tend to be lower, but it  is impossible to know for sure whether it is the green tea that prevents cancer in these particular countries or other lifestyle factors.” While no physical evidence proves that green tea reduces the risk of cancer, it can be inferred that the more green tea an individual consumes, the less likely they are to suffer from cancer-causing mutations due to free radicals. This information alone is enough to encourage green tea consumption on a consistent basis.

Green tea’s benefits continue. Ware cited a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concludes that “green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease.” Participants in this study drank at least five cups of green tea per day for 11 years, and results concluded that this population had a decreased rate of mortality. While other factors contribute to a long and healthy life, green tea could be an easy way for individuals to add years to their lives. Instead of a cup of fruit juice with breakfast, try a cup of green tea, iced or hot.

Ware also cited a study conducted by Yoshihiro Kokubo, Ph.D., that determined that green tea may have significant effects on reducing the risk of stroke. Kokubo wrote, “This is the first large-scale study to examine the combined effects of both green tea and coffee on stroke risks. You may make a small but positive lifestyle change to help lower the risk of stroke by adding daily green tea to your diet.” It is an easy way to engage in healthier living and become more mindful of what goes into our bodies.

Green tea can be found in the vending machines across the Syracuse University campus, and hot green tea is available in dining halls. For the most benefit, drink up to 10 cups a day.

For More Information:

Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of green tea?

M.D.P.I. - An Update on the Health Benefits of Green Tea

Chinese Medicine: Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review

Sunlight: Finding the Perfect Balance

By Rachel Jang, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

The sun is the star that is at the core of our solar system. It is the source of all energy entering the Earth’s atmosphere. It can be a great mood booster and a great source of vitamin D; however, its harmful effects could affect the quality of your life if preventive measures are not taken.

The weather is known to have an enormous effect on your mood. It can greatly affect the trajectory of how you feel throughout the day. This can be explained by the article, “What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?” from healthline.com. The article explains that spending time in the sun allows us to release serotonin, a hormone that can boost our mood and keep us calm. Lowering levels of serotonin, however, can put you at greater risk for seasonal depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

However, while daily exposure to sunlight can be crucial to your wellbeing, it might not always be available to students on the Syracuse University campus. Especially in Syracuse, New York, where sunlight levels can reach extremely low levels, this lack of sunlight can be a huge factor of the mental health of students. One Syracuse University student, who was recently diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, has explained how her transition to Syracuse has been difficult. She explained, “Coming to Syracuse has made me appreciate sunny days more.”

Although weather in Syracuse during the school season may make it seem like sunscreen is not necessary, the American Academy of Dermatology explains that sunscreen should be used whenever you go outside. It states, “Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful U.V. rays can penetrate your skin.”

Too much sunlight without protection can be harmful to your skin and to your future. The article “Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences” by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health explains that exposure to U.V. rays from sunlight is strongly linked to D.N.A. damage which consequently leads to skin cancer. The article also adds that the depletion of the ozone layer is causing more intense and harmful U.V. rays. Combined, it is clear now more than ever, that sunscreen use should be an essential part of your day.

For students at Syracuse University, a healthy relationship with the sun is achievable. The many cloudy and snowy days throughout the school year may be affecting your mental health but if you feel that poor weather is affecting your mood, consider purchasing a sunlamp. It can provide health benefits by helping you to produce serotonin, with minimal risk of U.V. radiation. If you are unable to purchase sunlight, consider a trip to the new Barnes Center at The Arch, where sunlamps are found inside the new Crowley Family Mind Spas.

The sun can provide amazing health benefits; however, certain precautions must be made in order to avoid its harmful effects. Next time you head outside, remember to fully embrace the wonderful effects of the sun while staying safe and putting on sunscreen.

For More Information:

Healthline: What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?

Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences: Human health in relation to exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation under changing stratospheric ozone and climate

Nail-Biting Addiction

By Fabryce Fetus, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Biting your nails is an addictive habit. You do it while solving challenging problems, when you are bored, or even when you are anxious or excited. Many times people bite their nails uncontrollably. But stopping this habit is easier than you think.

Why do people do it?

People bite their nails for many reasons. According to WebM.D., nail-biting can be a way to deal with emotional or mental stress. People who are nervous, anxious, insecure or just bored tend to bite their nails impulsively. Parents can even influence this habit. WebM.D. says that kids whose parents bite their nails are more likely to bite their nails too.

What happens when you bite your nails?

For one, biting your nails can damage your smile. A study from Texas A&M shows that continually biting your nails can shift your teeth out of their initial position, which could cost you thousands of dollars in dental repair. You can also chip or break your teeth while excessively biting your nails, which can result in damaged teeth enamel. The germs from your fingers can potentially infect your gums, along with causing bad breath. Millions of germs and dirt particles live under your nails and can enter your body when you bite your nails, which can weaken your immune system overall. You also risk the chance of paronychia, an infection of the nail. Seeing symptoms such as swollen red areas around your nails is a way to diagnose yourself with this. Lastly, biting your nails can even cause your nails to grow under the skin of your fingers. The severity of ingrown nails can cause swellings and infections that could require surgery.

Quit this nail-biting addiction.

Changing this habit might not be easy, but WebM.D. offers some ways that can help prevent you from biting your nails.

  • Short nails. You can start by cutting your nails short every week. That way, if you try to bite your nails, you would be practically biting air.
  • Wearing gloves. Yes, you might look like a superhero trying to save the day with your gloves on, but if your fingers are covered, then you are saving them from being bitten.
  • Coat them with a lousy taste. If you rub aloe vera, hot pepper or garlic on your fingers to keep them out of your mouth, that can help solve your nail-biting problem.
  • Keep your hands or mouth busy. Having a stress ball handy or even chewing gum can disrupt you from biting your nails.
  • Think about your nails. When you bite your nails, the result is not pretty. Next time you are anxious to bite your nails, ask yourself, “Do I want my nails to look bitten?”

Yes, it’s an addiction, but if you follow these tips, you may be able to have beautiful and healthy nails.

For More Information:

Vital Record: 5 Reasons to stop biting your nails.

WebM.D.: Why Do I Bite My Nails and How Do I Stop?

Nailed It! Or Not?

By Briseyda Mendoza-Aguayo, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Nothing is more pleasurable after a long exam than getting a manicure. Gel manicures are rising in popularity because of how long they last compared to a regular manicure. While they are not much different from regular manicures, they produce better results than regular polish.


Gel manicures are more durable, easy to apply and remove, and have no drying time. Your nails are painted and then sit under an ultraviolet (U.V.) lamp a couple of times to dry, producing good looking nails in less than an hour. Additionally, gel manicures make you feel great and improve nail appearance instantly. They are especially preferred by people who experience nail trauma or have nail disorders. Nonetheless, many of us wonder if the U.V. light used during the drying process is a potential hazard?


Gel manicures do have some potential risks. Sometimes gel manicures can be tough on the nail, especially if the nail is weak. Additionally, a U.V. lamp is used throughout the process. The effects of U.V. light on skin and nails are unknown. However, Dr. Chris G. Adigun and the American Academy of Dermatologists say that U.V. lamps emit ultraviolet A (U.V.A.) rays. Ultraviolet (U.V.) is a form of electromagnetic radiation that can come from the sun and man-made sources; the most common forms are ultraviolet A (U.V.A.) and ultraviolet B (U.V.B.). Although U.V.A. rays are not as harmful as U.V.B. rays, they can emit rays four times stronger than the sun’s rays, which can damage the skin and collagen. The emission of U.V.A. rays is also responsible for premature aging and increased skin cancer risk. It is important to realize that getting your nails done once in a while will likely result in minimal damage, but with more frequency, the potential harm increases. Even though the dose of U.V. light is brief, it is intense and its negative effects can accumulate on your skin and nails over time.

Prevention and Protection

Although research on the potential harm of U.V. lamps is limited, it is still important to prevent and protect your skin. Applying sunscreen on your hands with an S.P.F. of 30 or greater before the manicure can protect your skin from U.V. rays. In addition to sunscreen, you can wear a fingerless glove and try new techniques like nail dip, which does not utilize U.V. lamps, making it a healthier alternative.

As a college student, it can be hard to keep up with a nail care routine. At-home remedies can be easy and may include products that you may already have. Jacqueline Kilikita from Elle.com and Janice Taylor from NaturalLivingIdeas.com recommend taking vitamins and using cuticle oil to strengthen your nails. Massaging coconut oil on your nails and cuticles has a similar effect. Some products that may damage your nails are nail polish removers that contain acetone and the nail polish itself. It is important to use non-toxic products. Acetone-free nail polish remover is a better alternative.

Sara Angle from Healthline.com advises trying nail cleanses, letting your nails have a break every few weeks, which also has economic benefits. This technique allows your nails to breathe and can allow you to spot any abnormalities under your nails. Some indications of harm and signs to look out for are wart-like reddish sores and streaks on your nails.

Overall, you can keep your nails looking fabulous while still protecting yourself.

For More Information:

A.A.D.: Skin Cancer Awareness: Spot Skin Cancer

Staying Connected to Your Roots

By Zanai Venable, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

The importance of maintaining and strengthening intergenerational relationships.

When starting a new journey in life, I often get caught up in the lifestyle of adapting to changes on my own. Since my arrival at college, I’ve seen a decline in the amount of times I’ve attempted to call my family members and even found myself texting them less and less.

We try our best to reach out to people, but as time goes on, it is easy to forget. If they’re not calling us, then there’s a high chance we may forget to call to check in with them. I became busy maintaining a balance between schoolwork, being with friends and everything else that was thrown at me during this transitional phase in my life.

It wasn’t intentional, but being 238 miles from home makes staying in touch with my parents and grandparents much harder because I’m distracted by what’s going on in front of me rather than away from me. I realized I only call whenever I need something rather than simply checking on them, which starts to create a disconnection between us. Our conversations are usually not long when I do call, which further separates our connection while I am not at home. These experiences that college students often have highlight the importance of maintaining intergenerational relationships.

The diverse generational links among parents, adults, children and grandchildren are referred to as intergenerational relationships. As society has grown and changed, so have relationships within families. These connections within families represent the links between the generations of every family. Among all families, the ways that communication is maintained often differs. With the growth of technology, face-to-face conversations become minimal, and this only influences the separation through generations.

The importance of a family’s well-being and health reflects on intergenerational relationships. As time passes, younger and older people are becoming disconnected more frequently. Elizabeth Larkin wrote in Intergenerational Relationships: Conversations on Practice and Research Across Cultures, “The reciprocal interaction that occurs across all the generations is a sign of family well-being. The elderly can continue to provide care for their children and their grandchildren until they are no longer able. Middle-aged children receive love and aid from their parents and can also help their parents as needed. Grandchildren and children both give to and receive from the older generations.”

Personally, I struggle keeping in touch with people, and this could be due to the lack of communication and connectedness in my family’s history. My mom has minimal conversation with her father’s side of the family. Now, I have minimal or even any communication with my father’s side. The authors of “Intergenerational Relationship Quality Across Three Generations,” in The Journals of Gerontology Series B:  Psychological Science and Social Sciences, wrote, “As a consequence, individuals replicate the early parent-child relationship with spouses, children, and other significant relationships. These theories of transmission typically focus on how specific parenting behaviors are transmitted across generations. We extend these theoretical perspectives to examine whether feelings about one another (i.e., relationship quality) are transmitted as well.”

Let’s discuss ways to close the gap of distance between young adults and elders.

Call your grandparents, preferably on Facetime, to engage in conversations. I try my best to call my grandmother twice a week to ask how her day is going, to tell her about my day and what it’s like being in college compared to when she was in college. Furthermore, listen to all of the life lessons they have been waiting to tell you, laugh with them, send them letters and even gear from Syracuse. Also, invite them to school games so they’re able to share the excitement you’re experiencing. Try to create relationships with your professors and co-workers. Volunteer at a retirement home.

Lastly, call your parents as well. Check on them and ask about their college experience—if they had one—and ask them for advice on how to make yours better. I see myself calling my mom more because she’s able to relate to the troubles I’m encountering. It’s not hard. Put the technology to use and communicate with each other.

For More Information:

The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Intergenerational Relationship Quality Across Three Generations

Promoting Diversity Through Roommate Selection

By Gracie Virden, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

The Syracuse University student population includes students from all 50 states and 125 countries. This has created a diverse university in which students from all backgrounds can feel accepted and celebrated. Recent studies have displayed that living with a roommate of different heritage can promote students to develop inclusive attitudes toward members of all races. To fully understand this statement, we need to understand the driving force behind why students of differing races do not usually interact.

Natalie Shook and Russel Fazio, authors of the research article “Interracial Roommate Relationships,” which was published in the journal Psychological Science, define the contact hypothesis, stating that “prejudice stems from a lack of knowledge and exposure.” Shook and Fazio performed an experiment almost identical to Sarah Gaither and Samuel Sommers, authors of “Living with an Other-Race Roommate Shapes Whites’ Behavior in Subsequent Diverse Settings.” Gaither and Sommers’ experiment, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, entailed pairing a roommate with a peer of the same race and comparing attitudes to an individual with a roommate of a different race. Comfortability and racial attitudes were taken before and after the semester. The results for both experiments were the same. Sommers and Gaither explained, “Whites who lived with an other-race roommate came to have more diverse friends and believe that diversity was more important than did whites with a white roommate.” Participants in same-race rooms stated more involvement with his or her roommate, Shook and Fazio explain. “However, automatically activated racial attitudes and intergroup anxiety improved over time among students in interracial rooms, but not among students in same-race rooms.”

Why is this study so valuable? College serves as a melting pot for students with differing values, morals and backgrounds. This experiment displays a foundation for students to become more inclusive about diversity and interact with other students they would not have initially befriended. “Before entering college, I was never exposed to a person that isn’t my same race on such a personal level. I definitely understand the struggles most minority groups face now that I have started to live with her,” said Emma Dickson ’23 about her growing relationship with her roommate of Pakistani descent. Many campuses have considered pairing students with a roommate of a different race when going through the process of random roommate selection. However, here at Syracuse University, roommate selection is a voluntary process, and students can be willingly paired with a random student if desired.

Keith A. Alford, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Syracuse University, says, “Positive coexistence happens when each person feels deeply welcomed and appreciated. We value diverse identities. Cultural perspectives and worldviews matter to us. Difference should never mean devaluation nor should it result in discrimination.” Visit diversity.syr.edu for more information about inclusiveness on the Syracuse University campus.

For More Information:

Syracuse University Office of Student Activities

Psychological Science: Interracial Roommate Relationships

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: Living with an other-race roommate shapes Whites' behavior in subsequent diverse settings

Personal Growth in Friendships

By Zanai Venable, First-year student, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics

Life is full of seasons. Within each season are definable moments, whether that’s autumn foliage, winter’s bright white snow, spring’s blossoms or summer heat. Similarly, friendships have seasons, with some longer and more memorable than others. Within your growth as an individual, you’ll start to see a shift in the people around you. Since making friends is so important to young adults, it can be difficult to differentiate an unhealthy friendship from a thriving one. Trying to hold on to the former can harm one’s mind and spirit. Personally, the general concept of friendship has been a source of confusion. To get more insight, I’ve interviewed three friends from high school in New Jersey now at different colleges.

A first-year student at Howard University says, "I’ve learned that while you can have a great time and have great relations with people for three-plus years, that doesn’t mean it’ll last. However, that’s perfectly fine because they still played some role in your life, big or small.”

A second-year student at Rowan University says, "I have outgrown friends and it’s impacted me by becoming more successful and hardworking because the friendship I have outgrown was with a negative friend that never had anything good to say about me and my accomplishments. I was always doubted by them, which has motivated me to prove them and everyone else wrong. This has taken a negative toll off of me because I am now surrounded by people who motivate me just as much as I motivate myself. Those are the friends you need in your life.”

A first-year student at Penn State University says, "Making friends was always easy for me because of my outgoing and humorous personality. What I struggled most with was knowing when a friendship was bad for me and learning how to move on. One of my closest friends became one of my worst enemies. I never realized how much of a negative impact she had on me until I let her go. I realized I was always caught up with drama when I surrounded myself with her. Often times, she and I would argue with each other about little things or even us just being rude to the people around us for no reason. It wasn’t until I met someone else who was the total opposite. She was always nice to me, always complimenting me and always motivating me. This friendship soon grew on me, and I started to realize how I was less tense, nicer and being more productive with my schoolwork. I learned that just because you know someone for a long time doesn’t mean they’re worth keeping around for a long time."

An article in Time magazine cited research of Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, who said that your brain can’t hold a close connection with more than 150 people and that your 15 closest relationships—including family members—seem most crucial for your mental and physical health. Holding on to certain friendships can be toxic for the mind and the spirit, which is why you need to know when it is time to let go and move on.

For More Information:

Time: You Asked: How Many Friends Do I Need?

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Syracuse University

David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics and The Divisions of Undergraduate Studies, and Enrollment and the Student Experience

White Hall, Syracuse NY 13244

315.443.9808 | falk.syr.edu

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