Active Minds Blog » stress less week Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 25 May 2016 12:46:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Stress Less Week: 12 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Finals Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:05:46 +0000 This #StressLess Week, we challenged our social media followers to take extra good care of themselves by practicing self-care and then posting a #SelfCareSelfie. Once again, we were floored by the response (you guys are excellent selfie-takers) and want to keep this self-care train going.

Without further ado, here are 12 ways to practice self-care, as suggested by our stellar #SelfCareSelfie contributions:

1. Snuggle with a pet


2. Help out your community

3. Take care of your physical health

4. Play an instrument

SCS2 6. Spend some time in the sunshine


7. Spend time with loved ones (bonus points if it’s a kiddo)


8. Practice loving yourself


9. Take it easy


10. Get your nails done


11. Get some exercise

SCS10 12. Get a massage



]]> 0
Stress Less Week: Am I An Imposter? Thu, 21 Apr 2016 12:58:59 +0000 635799162532104738-236592369_208758e

Have you ever felt like an imposter?

Like any minute you’ll be found out for the fraud you really are?

That the extraordinary talent everyone says you have is really just average, and you can’t really achieve what they expect?

Me, too.

And it’s caused me anxiety my entire life.

Since I can remember I have been pushing myself to climb higher and reach further. At some point someone told me I was among the smartest kids in the room. I took that suggestion and made it my identity.

Through the end of my master’s degree I never earned anything less than an A-. And that whole time–with each assignment that came and went–I always felt like I was on the edge of imminent failure.

Anxiety disorders make you perceive threats everywhere. An anxious mind is uncomfortable with things been good and calm. So I stressed to the max. I wrung my hands over comma usage and word choice and proper citations. I thought by making those little things perfect, I could be perfect, too.

When I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in college one of my secondary diagnoses was obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I was obsessed with food and calories, and I felt compelled to exercise–every day.

Since then, the eating disorder voice is all but gone. Now when I feel like an imposter and totally incapable of success at work or in relationships, I project my anxiety onto activities I’m quite good at. For two years, I hated driving. I feared getting in the car. I imagined unknowingly causing accidents and just driving away completely unaware.

I used to love driving and although things are better now, I wonder if they’ll ever be the same as when I was 17.

Today, because of therapy and treatment, I can manage my anxiety. I can manage the fear of being “found out,” the mask pulled off, the imposter revealed.

If you think you’re struggling with anxiety, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders among college students. Reach out and get help if you need it. Talk to someone and invest some time in getting back to yourself.

Sometimes all we need to do is stress less and laugh more. But if you’re wired like me, sometimes you need a little more help.

And that’s ok.

]]> 0
Stress Less Week: Get Your Active Minds Coloring Pages Wed, 20 Apr 2016 12:13:20 +0000 ColoringBookPages-FBHappy #StressLess Week, folks! To help you de-stress during finals, we decided to jump aboard the coloring book bandwagon by working with a fantastic graphic design student to create some printable pages.

You can download these pages online and bring them to chapter meetings or hand them out while tabling.

Download the coloring book pages here and get coloring!

]]> 0
Stress Less Week: Podcasts to Help You Laugh More Tue, 19 Apr 2016 11:29:44 +0000

Anyone in the Active Minds National Office will tell you that I’m obsessed with podcasts. It all started several years ago with This American Life and Planet Money and really hit its stride when the first season of Serial emerged.

But, as much as I love the aforementioned podcasts, they can be suspenseful, require specific attention, and even a little stressful. So, I’ve amassed my list of my favorite podcasts that make me laugh and are just all-around entertaining. Do you have a favorite I missed? Tweet it to us @Active_Minds!

1. Dear Sugar Radio

Ok, so this is an advice podcast that can sometimes deal with heavy subjects, BUT who doesn’t want to be saturated with the unique brand of wisdom and love that Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond bring to any conversation? Oh, and yes–I’m talking about that Cheryl Strayed. The author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things. I mean, who among us don’t want Cheryl Strayed to be our cool aunt?

2. Not Too Deep (with Grace Helbig)

Do you watch YouTube videos that aren’t about cats, puppies, or seemingly painful human follies with any regularity? Then you probably know Grace Helbig. Helbig is a comedian who has published two best-selling books, starred in films like Camp Takota, and even had her own show on the E! Network. This podcast is all about dumb stuff. Seriously. The deepest question entertained on the show is who the guest would want to throw cold spaghetti at if given the opportunity. You need this in your ears.

3. The Nerdist

Chris Hardwick has made his way in entertainment as a master host and great business dude. But for the last 6+ years he’s also been doing this interview podcast with his friends Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. They interview comedians, entertainers, and other random famous folks for an hour and the back catalogue is vast. Scroll through and you’re sure to find at least 10 episodes with people you adore right off the bat.

4. Girl on Guy

Ok, so this is a little deeper interview show, but Aisha Tyler (of FriendsArcherThe Talk, and Criminal Minds fame) is literally the cool chick you always wanted to hang out with, and you didn’t think you ever could, but she came up to you one day, put you at ease, and you ended up talking well into the night and forging a life-long friendship. A bunch of the old episodes are now behind a pay wall, but I would recommend subscribing and just seeing what pops up next for free. It’s sure to be great.

5. Unqualified (with Anna Faris)

Ok, I realize people have kind of a love/hate relationship with Anna Faris’s characters, but after listening to this podcast you can’t deny that she’s super authentic, hilarious, and incredibly nice. Each week she’s joined by a celebrity friend and they give their unqualified advice to listeners. It’s not always politically correct, but if you can look past those moments, it’s definitely entertaining.

6. The Dead Authors Podcast

This sounds boring, right? But it’s actually comedian Paul F. Tompkins portraying H.G. Wells in conversation with another comedian portraying–you guessed it–another dead author. And it’s hilarious. Start with the one where Kristen Schaal portrays Tennessee Williams, and if you don’t laugh out loud at least three times, tweet me @maggiebertram, and I will personally apologize.

7. Another Round

I am in love with this podcast. It’s one of the new Buzzfeed podcasts and the hosts, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, are literally two of the most engaging and charming podcast hosts I have heard in a long time. They take on all kinds of social issues (with guests like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Melissa Harris Perry), but they do it in a very approachable way that weaves in humor masterfully. Oh, and as I’m writing this, the week’s guests are Eugene Mirman and John Roberts from Bob’s Burgers, so how can you really go wrong?

8. Sampler

I love all of Gimlet Media‘s podcasts, but Sampler is a treasure. It’s literally a podcast about what is happening in podcasts (meta, right?). Host Brittany Luse (of the podcast For Colored Nerds) leads listeners through the latest and best must-hear moments in podcasts. How do you think I heard about The Dead Authors Podcast?

Other awesome/funny/lighthearted stuff to plug into your ears:

The Indoor Kids — Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani plus a guest talk about video games

Mystery Show — Starlee Kine solves mysteries that can’t be answered by the internet

The Dinner Party Download — a potpourri of the week’s arts and leisure news bites from NPR



]]> 0
Stress Less Week: Is it Stress or an Anxiety Disorder? Sat, 16 Apr 2016 10:16:30 +0000 We often talk about stress and anxiety disorders as if they’re interchangeable. This isn’t surprising. A lot of the physical symptoms we experience with stress and anxiety are the same. Heart palpitations, sweating, rapid breathing, muscle tension, and headaches are all common symptoms.

Stress, of course, is a regular part of each person’s day–no matter how laid back they are.

Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are not part of everyone’s experience. That’s why I think it’s important to clarify the distinction–especially as we head into finals season.

Stress enables us to get things done efficiently.

Most of us are motivated by things like deadlines, grading criteria, and page limits. They give us a framework for getting things done and help us understand the scope and expected quality of work. Can it be agitating to have to work under these parameters? Absolutely. Does it mean we produce a quality product on time? Usually.

Anxiety disorders prevent us from getting things done efficiently.

Unlike stress, anxiety disorders stop us in our tracks. They make us question every little decision. Sometimes our anxiety ensures that we are finished with a project way before the deadline, but that we’ll fixate on whether the most minute details are correct right up until the minute it is due. In other words, we might get our work done, but we put way more effort into it than we need to. This is neither productive, nor efficient. Other times it prevents us from acting at all for fear that we’ll do something wrong, be embarrassed, or fail entirely. That’s definitely not productive or motivating.

Stress passes.

Once a project is completed, a conflict is resolved, or a solution is found, the stress around that event dissipates. This is because stress typically has an external cause. So, once that cause is gone, so is the stress.

Anxiety persists.

Even after the deadlines have long passed, the fight you had with your friend has been smoothed over, or you’ve come to an answer to a life-changing question, the tightness in your chest, the shallowness of your breathing, and your constant thoughts about it all persist. You can’t do anything about it anymore. The external source of stress is gone, but your mind keeps going back to it–even days, weeks, and months later. Why? Because anxiety is perpetuated by persistent fear–not just passing stressors.

We can control stress.

With proper awareness of stress management techniques (and usually just listening to our bodies), we feel a sense of control over our stress. A walk, workout, meditation session, or sitcom binge helps us to bring our equilibrium back.

We have no sense of control over anxiety.

Anxiety is characterized by a feeling of helplessness. We are at a complete loss as to what we could possibly do to make the feeling go away. Maybe a workout or meditation session is helpful in the moment, but the feelings come flooding back after. We try all kinds of things, but nothing seems to help.

In reality, we can take control over stress and anxiety.

Throughout Stress Less Week, we will be sharing innumerable ways to relieve and manage stress as you finish up the academic year. But if you think you might be experiencing an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. The sooner we seek help for a mental health issue, including anxiety, the more likely we are to find relief and find ways to live our lives more happily and successfully.

Yup, it’s true. Onset of anxiety disorders often starts between the ages of 18 and 25. Don’t be afraid to seek help on campus, or find a local mental health professional who can get you back on a path to success.

Interested in reading more? Check out this Huffington Post article.

]]> 0
6 Awesome Ideas for Stress Less Week Tue, 29 Mar 2016 12:00:57 +0000 unnamed

It’s one of the toughest times of the year: papers and projects are due, you’re running solely on caffeine and there just isn’t enough time for sleep. That’s why Active Minds is hosting Stress Less Week from April 17-23. We’ve developed tons of resources and programs to help you get through finals with as little stress as possible.

Here are some awesome Stress Less Week programming ideas from your fellow chapters:

* Laugh More: Stand-Up to Comedy: Active Minds at UC Riverside featured a diverse group of local comedians to promote the benefits of laughter and provide education about mental illness. They partnered with Student Recreation to provide free massages at the event, with the Counseling Center to provide mood screenings, and with the Health Center for dental care kits and sexual health supplies.

* Treat Yo’Self Self Care Workshop: Active Minds at UCLA provided students an opportunity to explore self-care through coloring, horticulture, journaling, painting, and stress ball making.

* Stress Less Gift Bags: With an Active Minds Chapter Development Grant, Active Minds at UT San Antonio distributed bubble wrap and free stress less gift bags with chocolates, pencils, tea, stickers, and other goodies.

* Pancake Bar Fundraiser: Active Minds at Loyola University of Maryland collaborated with RAs to set up a late-night pancake bar for freshmen in a dorm lobby during mid-terms. They accepted donations and provided resources about Active Minds.

And here are two ideas from the national office, too:

Practice Self-Care & Snap a Pic: We’re bringing back one of our most popular social media campaigns for Stress Less Week! From April 17-23, take a picture of yourself practicing self-care — maybe practicing yoga or cuddling with a pet — and share it on Instagram with #SelfCareSelfie. We can’t wait to see what you post!

New Stress Less Coloring Pages: We worked with Alyse Ruriani, a fantastic Maryland-based artist, to design printable coloring pages that you can download and pass out attabling events and more. Grab some crayons or colored pencils and start de-stressing! You can find the pages in the online Chapter Action Kit.
]]> 0
Text, Talk, Act. Because Mental Health Matters. Wed, 09 Mar 2016 14:55:30 +0000 TTAOften, the most necessary conversations are the ones that are most difficult. Text, Talk, Act (TTA) makes at least one conversation a little easier by assisting students to share their mental health stories through a very familiar platform: text messaging.

Once again this semester, Active Minds is excited to partner with TTA on April 19 as part of Active Minds’ Stress Less Week. Chapters that register to host a TTA event on April 19 are eligible receive a $1,000 cash prize. Past winners have included Active Minds at Coppin State University, Ithaca College, and UCLA!

To participate, all you need is to gather at least three or four friends on April 19, and text “89800” for mental health discussion prompts. You and your friends will be guided through a series of conversation-starters, from videos to polling, along with many other chapters participating across the country.

Want to join this movement? Get started with the three simple steps below:

  1. Register your event and receive an organizer code.
  2. Share your organizer code with everyone you reach out to and ask them to enter it when they are prompted to do so during Text Talk Act on April 19.
  3. Get as many people as you can to Text Talk Act on April 19. Gather your friends, classmates, family, and community members and have them text “START” to 89800 to begin.

REMEMBER: Be sure to share your unique organizer code with your participants to enter at the prompt!

Want to increase your chances of winning and get freebies and materials for your event? Get everything you need for your event here.

For more information, visit


]]> 0
7 Chapter Fundraising Ideas for the Spring Semester Thu, 03 Mar 2016 14:51:25 +0000 unnamed

There’s still time to earn more FREE swag in your fall awareness campaign kit. Raise $300 for the national movement by June 30, and help reach 2.3 million+ students!

We need every chapter member to play their part in reaching the growing number of students who need critical mental health education and resources provided through Active Minds, Inc. Participation in fundraising is required, and every dollar counts! Read more about the fundraising requirements.

Here are seven ways to round out your fundraising this spring:

1. Send letters in March to five friends and family to share the impact Active Minds has had on your life and request donations of at least $20 each.

2. Charge a small fee for a popular Stress Less Week (April 17-23) activity or two. Hosting a stress-ball-creation station? Charge $1 to cover your costs and bring in a little cash! Passing out healthy brain food in the quad? Advertise a suggested donation.

3. Request Insomnia Cookie donations to go along with a Stress Less Event you’re hosting and allow students to pay $1 to send a cookie with a “good luck” message to a friend ahead of finals.

4. Apply for a Chapter Development Grant to support a fundraising idea. Here’s one: Sell self-care packages (with donated items from a local business) to parents who want to support their students during finals.

5. Partner with a local restaurant in April to share profits one evening from all customers who mention your chapter at check-out.

6. Organize a raffle fundraiser with donations from local businesses or the campus bookstore, and sell 50 tickets for $1 each to earn a total of $50.

7. In lieu of graduation gifts, ask friends and family members to donate to your chapter’s online fundraising page. Here’s how to set one up!

Don’t forget to share your fundraising success in our Program Bank. Contact the Chapters Team to talk more about fundraising and learn more about the resources and support available to help!


]]> 0
Stress Less Week: #SelfCareSelfie Success! Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:07:17 +0000 Thanks to all of you, more than 200 #SelfCareSelfie pictures were shared across Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook during Stress Less Week — and we reached more than 200,000 people! Check out some of our favorite posts from the week and don’t forget to keep practicing self care every day of the year.



AuburnSCS (2) AuburnSCS (3)
AuburnSCS (5) AuburnSCS (6) AuburnSCS AuburnStudents beaudstheboxer
buttskittles calixcore colleencam Cristian dancinglaners elfity est19xx_effiner Faythemage figuresk8mp H_Bevs heatherloves2shop JamieSepulveda1 K_Chuck3 (2) K_Chuck3 (3) K_Chuck3 KendraRenee6 lauralcswc lauraporter12 laurred lo_gall lucyamar22 megannightfire Mimi and Lee mollysmoore montanap_157 mschmi450 MSU_Clinic (3) MSU_Clinic 2 MSU_Clinic MyDaughtersMind ohleahdarling princesscathleen revolutionaryinpinkpumps robynsuchy3 rough_uncutdiamonds scibunny SistahInTheRaw societymademegetinstagram symoneantoinee thegingar therubycharlotte toastteathreads TransLifeLee utsa_counselingservices warsaurus






]]> 0
Stress Less Week: Download These Mental Health Apps Today Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:25:59 +0000 mental-health-apps-SFWADDealing with a specific mental health issue? Anxious at work? Just feeling more down than usual? There’s an app for that!

Thanks to Active Minds at the University of Rochester for putting together this extensive list of mental health-related mobile apps. Refer back to this list whenever life gets tough!

Reminder: These apps are not substitutes for clinical assistance. If you’re feeling suicidal or are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK. 

Anxiety and Stress

  • Beat Panic
  • Beat Social Phobia (iTunes/Android)
  • BellyBio Interactive Breathing
  • BioZen
  • iStress
  • Worry Box- Anxiety Self Help
  • Stop Panic & Anxiety Self Help
  • SAM – Self Help for Anxiety Management
  • Panic Aid


  • AutisMate
  • Emotions and Feelings – AutismFeelings Book

Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipol-App
  • eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker
  • WhatsMyM3

Drug and Alcohol Addiction

  • 12 Steps AA Companion (iTunes/Android)
  • Control Alcohol (iTunes/Android)
  • ImQuit – Quit Addiction
  • Sobriety Counter
  • Stop Drinking (iTunes/Android)
  • iPromises

Eating Disorders

  • Eating D
  • Body Beautiful
  • Take Control

Mood Boosters

  • Beating the Blues
  • iMoodJournal
  • Mood Tracking Journal and Diary
  • MoodGYM
  • MindShift
  • My Mood Tracker
  • Live Happy
  • Mood Panda
  • Life Mood
  • Optimism
  • Sad Scale
  • Depression CBT Self-Help Guide


  • PTSD Coach

Recovery (general)

  • Operation Reach Out (iTunes/Android)
  • Recovery Box
  • Recovery Record
  • Rise Up + Recover


  • LifeLine Response
  • Circle of 6
  • OnWatch (iTunes/Android)
  • Safe Helpline
  • STOP!T
  • Teen Hotlines
  • Watch Over Me – Personal Safety App

Self-Harm Prevention

  • SAFE Alternatives
  • StopSelfHarm
  • Project Toe

Self-Help Therapy

  • Alura: Cognitive Therapy
  • Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help
  • Cognitive Enhancement Therapy
  • Constant Therapy
  • CBT Referee
  • DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach
  • DBT Self Help
  • Self-Esteem Blackboard
  • Self Help Classics
  • iCBT
  • iCounselor
  • eCBT
  • PSSCogRehab
  • This Way Up

Social Anxiety

  • SAS – Social Anxiety Support
  • Overcoming Social Anxiety

Suicide Prevention

  • ASK & Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)
  • HELP Prevent Suicide (iTunes/Android)
  • QPR Suicide Crisis Support
  • Suicide Lifeguard
  • Safety Plan
  • Wingman Project
]]> 0