Be Well: Mindful Yoga- Mindfulness of Thoughts and Feelings

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This week's Be Well: Mindful Yoga mindfulness exercises focus on feelings, emotions, and sensations. When we are mindful of our thoughts, emotions, and sensations, we aren't fighting against them or avoiding them altogether. This helps to reduce stress through acceptance and acknowledgement. Below is this week's exercise. If you would like a downloadable MP3, please email

Managing Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can happen to anyone, and it affects some people more than others. Some students sit down for a test and have their mind go completely blank and their stomach twist into knots. Test anxiety can occur for many reasons—fear of failure, past problems with tests, or even genetics. There are many different ways to cope with and overcome test anxiety- you can start before the exam.

  • Before exams:
    • Prepare yourself. This may seem obvious, but sometimes students confuse familiarity with deeper learning. Give yourself plenty of time to study and don’t wait until the last minute to try to cram. Set up a routine of good study techniques that work for you.
    • Get enough sleep. Staying up all night to cram, or a lack of sleep in general can have adverse effects on memory and overall well-being. Being exhausted will also affect your performance on the exam.
    • Eat well. This ensures that you have the energy to study and take the test.
    • Even light exercise during study breaks helps your mind focus on something other than schoolwork. Exercise also helps manage stress.
    • Be confident! Negative, irrational thinking might shake your confidence and self-esteem.
  • During the test:
    • Breathe! If you feel anxious, take a few slow, deep breaths.
    • Preview the test. Look through all sections and consider your time. Try to divide your time wisely.
    • Don’t rush. Take your time and make sure you check all answers before you turn in the test.
    • Focus on the test. Pay attention to what you are doing in the moment. Don’t start making assumptions about your grade or thinking that you are going to fail.
  • After the test:
    • Keep breathing. If you remain anxious and worried about your score, try to take more deep breaths.
    • Discussing test answers. Sometimes discussing test answers with peers can cause more anxiety if your answers don’t match. If you think talking to peers will cause more stress than relief, try to avoid it. Remember, your classmates don’t always have the correct answers.
    • Don’t globalize. Failing a test, or even getting a lower grade than you expect, does not mean you are a bad student or a bad person. There are ways to improve for next time.

If you find yourself struggling with test anxiety, or are having difficulty preparing for exams, SPU’s Center for Learning, located in Lower Moyer Hall, as many resources and staff to help you.


Be Well: Mindful Yoga- Mindfulness of Breath

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This week's Be Well: Mindful Yoga exercises focus on mindfulness of the breath. This introduction explains how mindful breathing helps us:

Here is the exercise. For downloadable MP3 files, please contact

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety might easily be confused with shyness—however, social anxiety is an extreme fear of being judged or scrutinized by others in social or performance situations. The unique experience of college may result in increased feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and shyness that may lead to social anxiety disorder. Being socially anxious during college can have adverse effects on academic performance—it may be difficult or impossible to give presentations in class, participate in discussions, or be engaged with clubs and activities on campus.

Here are some common signs of social anxiety:

  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Fear of situations in which others may judge you
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Avoiding doing things out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attentions
  • Difficulty making eye contact or talking to people
  • Experiencing things like blushing, sweating, trembling, racing heartbeat, or upset stomach before or during social situations
  • Worrying so much that it disrupts your daily routine

For someone with social anxiety, their experience might look something like this:

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If you believe that you may be dealing with social anxiety, contact the Student Counseling Center for information on treatment options. There are several ways to manage and alleviate social anxiety symptoms.






Be Well: Mindful Yoga- Body Inventory & Scan

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As part of the Be Well: Mindful Yoga program, we are able to provide audio files of the mindfulness and relaxation activities. These can be used to practice on your own at home. This week, we focus on taking a body inventory and body scan. These exercises are used to help us become aware of tension and stress in our body.

This is a more detailed description of the two exercises:

The next track includes the two exercises. For a downloadable MP3 version, please email

What is Anxiety?

Stress and anxiety are seemingly very similar, but the differences between the two are important.  Stress is a natural response of the body. In small to moderate doses, stress can be motivating, though chronic can have adverse effects on the body. Stress comes and goes depending on daily events.  Stress can be managed through changes in work, activity level,  diet, and sleep.

Anxiety and anxiety disorders involve chronic, debilitating, and unprompted feelings of apprehension, nervousness, and fear. It is normal to experience some anxiety, such as before an examination or during a presentation. However, anxiety goes beyond the feeling of stress to a deeper sense of worry. It may continue beyond the initial event and spill over to other areas of life. When the worry and anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with daily living, there may be a problem that requires intervention. For example, you might be experiencing difficulty with anxiety if you worry so much before a test that you can’t study well, you worry while taking the test, and then you continue to worry afterwards that it distracts you from other work.

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We’ll be talking about more specific types of anxiety throughout April. If you have concerns about anxiety, you can contact the Student Counseling Center for help and more information.

Faculty: Talking with Students

When you have a concern about a student, you may need to talk to the student one-on-one before you refer them for other services. Or, students may come to talk to you about difficulties and seek help. This could seem overwhelming, but we have some easy tips for the best way to talk and help students.

When talking with a student:

  • Speak to the student in private. Whether you approach the student or the student reaches out to you, it is best to speak to the student in a private, safe space.
  • Give the student your undivided attention. Allow for enough time to talk to the student without distraction. This helps assure the student that you want to help and you care.
  • If you have concerns about the student, express them directly and non-judgmentally. For example, you might say that you have noticed that the student hasn’t been as engaged in class during discussions as usually.
  • Listen to the student. Being attentive to what the student has to say shows general interest and care.
  • Reflect back what the student has said to you. For example, if the students has been describing problems with their sleep, you might say, ‘It sounds like you’ve been having a lot of difficulty sleeping lately, and that has made it hard to concentrate in class.’
  • Ask questions. Use open-ended questions to clarify what the student is saying or seek additional information. Make sure your questions are non-judgment and not critical.
  • Offer hope to the student. There are many resources on campus and within the community to help the student. Below is a list of specific resources you can offer to the student.

If the student…

  • Is struggling academically: The Center for Learning offers tutoring services, resources on study skills, and the writing center.
  • Needs help with finding a major or career direction: The Center for Career and Calling has many professionals that can help students explore options for majors and careers, find jobs and internships, and gain experience mentoring other students.
  • Has financial aid problems: Student Financial Services can help the student manage loans, grants, and scholarships.
  • Needs help managing a disability: As part of the Center for Learning, Disability Support Services can help students with physical, medical, psychological, or learning disabilities. This includes arranging accommodations for accessible classrooms and housing, alternative format books and class materials, sign language interpreters, use of assistive technology, and note taker services.
  • Is struggling with health concerns: The Health Center is staffed by Nurse Practitioners who are available for primary care needs as well as Wellness visits at a reduced cost.
  • Is struggling with mental health concerns: The Student Counseling Center is available for students; staff can also provide outside referrals as necessary for students.

If you still have concerns about the student, you can contact the Student Support Team here.

Mindfulness- What is it?

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”

--Jon Kabat-Zinn

Often, we find ourselves thinking about the past or the future. Mindfulness is a self-awareness practice that emphasizes being aware of the present moment, without making judgments about what you notice. Research has shown that mindfulness can help people cope more effectively with stress, depression, anxiety, and health problems. Though we can all pay attention to the present moment for a short while, mindfulness is a specific skill that can be developed. Here are four simple ways you can bring mindfulness into activities of everyday life:

  • Focus your awareness on your breath while doing a routine activity. This is something that can be done at any time, such as waiting for someone to respond to your text message, listening to music, or getting dressed.
  • Take ten slow, deep breaths. Notice the sensations of your lungs filling and emptying, your ribcage rising and falling. Notice the thoughts and feelings passing through your mind and body. Observe them without judging them as good or bad, trying to change them, avoid them, or hold onto them. Notice what it is like to observe your thoughts and feelings with an attitude of acceptance.
  • Focus your awareness on a physical habit that has previously been outside of your conscious awareness. For example, when you are walking take notice of the feeling of each foot hitting the ground. Listen to the sounds around you, and notice the sights, big and small.
  • Silently put words to your thoughts, emotions, and sensations by noting or describing them. For example, if you notice you are feeling anxious before an important test, you can silently note “that’s anxiety.” Don’t judge them as good or bad, or try to change them; just observe what you are thinking and feeling.


If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, join us for Be Well: Mindful Yoga this spring. Details below!



Suicide Prevention

The suicide rate among young adults ages 15-24 has triple since the 1950s, with 1 in 12 college students making a suicide plan at some point. It can be difficult to talk about suicide, but knowing common warning signs can help prevent suicide. Here are some of the most common signs of suicide among college students:

  • Withdrawal: A friend may withdraw from family and friends; they may talk to friends less or want to hang out less.
  • Changes in sleep and appetite: Someone may say that they are sleeping and eating a lot more or a lot less than normal.
  • Reckless behavior: The individual may act in ways that could be detrimental or dangerous and they may not seem to care about the consequences of their behavior.
  • Personality changes: You may notice that a friend’s normal behavior may shift from very laid back to irritable and short tempered.
  • Neglect of personal appearance: A friend may have unusual neglect of their personal appearance or lack of personal hygiene.
  • Physical pain: Someone may frequently express difficulty with physical symptoms, like headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.
  • Substance abuse
  • Loss of interest: A friend may say they’ve lost interest in activities they normally enjoy or they may drop out of their normal activities, ignore class assignments, and miss classes.
  • Sudden mood changes: You may notice your friend expresses feelings of sadness, stress, and hopelessness.
  • Giving away belongings: A friend may give away some of their favorite possessions or throw away important belongings.

If you notice any of these signs in a friend, let an RA or faculty member know. In King County, there is a 24-hour Crisis Line available at (206) 461-3222 or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.



Do Yoga | Learn Mindfulness | Be Well

7:15 PM

Be Well is a 4-week series of yoga classes that integrate mindfulness meditation. Each week, students will be led in a yoga class followed by a mindfulness practice. Students will also be provided with information about stress management and resources to develop a mindfulness meditation practice. Sign up at, and bring your own yoga mat.
Session 1: April 7, 14, 21, & 28
Session 2: May 5, 12, 19, & 26

For further information please contact Karly Murphy at