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Mental Health Awareness in School

How schools can raise awareness and drive change

May marks Mental Health Awareness month and this year’s focus is on Risky Business. Mental Health America (MHA), the organization that started this initiative, explained risky business on their website saying, “These(risky behaviours) include risk factors such as risky sex, prescription drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, marijuana use and troublesome exercise patterns.”

One cannot help but notice the fact that a large number of the aforementioned risky behaviours are more likely to be observed in school and college students. Unsafe sex, prescription drug abuse and internet addiction are increasingly common among adolescents and young adults. In addition, there are a host of other problems like stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders that young students often grapple with.

Addressing mental health and helping raise awareness about it must therefore be carried out with strong impetus in schools and colleges, so that any imminent mental problems in students can be diagnosed early, enabling better solutions through counselling, intervention and support.

Here are some ways mental health awareness can be raised at the school level to give every student a positive environment and prevent or better address mental problems that affect students.

1. Empower school counsellors to better help students

The school guidance counsellor is the first point of contact at a school with regards to addressing mental health problems. When it comes to raising awareness about mental health, counsellors need to assume a more proactive role. It is in fact crucial that schools employ a school psychologist to exclusively address students’ mental health as the counsellor has other responsibilities such as to ensure a student does well academically and secures admission in a good college. With state support and funding, hiring a school psychologist for every school can significantly help.

2.  Train and sensitize teachers and staff

Schools must train and sensitize staff, teachers, principals and all other service personnel in school about the significance of mental health awareness. When the teachers and others who come in contact with students are well trained and aware, they become capable of identifying risky behavior and underlying mental problems in a student. If a student is showing symptoms of mental illness like stress, depression and anxiety, a trained teacher would work to alleviate the problem instead of brushing it aside.

3. Set up peer support groups

Students are more likely to approach and communicate with peers than teachers and family members. Enabling peer support groups like mental health awareness clubs or volunteer programs can be helpful in encouraging each other to open up and talk about any problems they are facing. Peers are in a much better position to detect problematic behaviour. They are also more in-the-know when it comes to identifying students who tend to stay in seclusion, hide away from participation and are likely to develop problems in the future.

4. Put up slogans and posters around the campus raising awareness

School premises must exude a positive energy and show that they are open places for talking about mental health problems. Posters and slogans, artwork, performances and other such means reinforce the message that it’s okay to have a mental illness and that the school welcomes a conversation regarding it. This can go a long way in helping students understand their own feelings and realizing that they may be at a risk. For many, such communication may be the reason they even realize that they have a problem and that they should seek help.

Most students at a sensitive age tend to blame themselves for the mental illnesses they suffer. They feel that there is something inherently wrong with them and that they just don’t belong with the other “cooler” kids. A positive atmosphere with open communication channels can help such students open up about their mental condition enabling proper diagnosis and treatment.

5. Collaborate with students’ families and organize home interactions

The two vital pillars of a student’s life are the school and the family. These two entities must work in unison to ensure complete mental wellbeing of a student. The parents or families and the teachers must actively engage in discussion about the student’s health. It has often been observed that students behave very differently at home and in school and hence, it is impossible to get a well-rounded view without the two collaborating. Parents and teachers must work together to provide better care.

6. Actively make mental health a primary concern

Despite massive amounts of work done towards making schools more sensitive, it is unfortunate that a large number of these institutions are still primarily obsessed with academic performance, grades and rankings. Students face tremendous pressure to score well, gain extra credits and get into a good college, where they can then face more pressure and eventually crumble.

Schools need to completely change this mindset and start focusing on a holistic growth and complete physical and mental well being. Time and again studies have shown that good grades, better college degrees and higher paying jobs do not necessarily mean a happy life. Not everyone earning six-figure salaries are necessarily happy and content. This churn must stop and the real-life skills that promote happiness and wellbeing must be promoted at schools and colleges.
Students must be taught that their health matters first. Skills of every student must be identified and chiselled instead of compressing everyone into the same mould. At the end of the day, success should be judged by an individual’s personal contentment and their ability to enrich the society.

In Conclusion

Schools are by far, the most important agent in driving mental health awareness among students. Students are highly vulnerable to mental illnesses and addressing this problem effectively at this stage can significantly boost diagnosis and treatment, preventing bigger problems in the future. If our students are healthy, our future is healthy. Effective solutions such as the ones mentioned above can help create a generation of healthy, happy and contented young people who will contribute towards a strong society and a better world—get involved in raising mental health awareness at your school.

 

Author Bio:

Swati Kapoor is a qualified dietitian at Practo. She has a Masters degree in Dietetics and Food Service Management. She is a strong believer in spreading the goodness of ‘nutrition through healthy eating’. As a responsible dietitian Swati examines her patients’ health history carefully before recommending any diet or workout regimen, because everybody has different requirements.

Further reading: Understanding Mental Health

Tips for Moving Out of Your Dorm

 Summer is FINALLY edging near, but with that comes the loathsome task of packing up and moving out of your dorm. The secret is in the organization, and Sharone Ben-Harosh, CEO of FlatRate Moving has shared with College News his top tips for stress-free moving.

Have a plan

Whether you are moving your belongings back home, to an off-campus apartment or into storage, you should have a plan before you begin moving out of your dorm. This can all depend on if you are taking summer classes, graduating, studying abroad or if your parents have enough space to house your extra belongings. Be sure to document everything, either in a notebook or on your phone. Through this process you are going to have to make note of important dates, times and prices. 

Declutter

There is no better time to declutter than when you are packing up and getting ready to move. This is one of the few times that you make a decision about each and every item you own—to keep or not to keep? There is no point in boxing away things that you are inevitably not going to use. To streamline the decluttering process, have a box or bin handy for donations while you are packing. 

Consider hiring professionals

Instead of renting and driving a truck potentially across the country, consider hiring professional movers. Be very careful and make sure you hire a well-established, reputable moving company that will be able to move all of your belongings with little risk of damages/loss of your items. Also, ensure that you ask for a binding or “not to exceed” price quote so you won’t be surprised with any hidden extras when you have to pay the check after moving out of your dorm.

Stay organized

In order to stay organized when packing, use translucent bins or labeled cardboard boxes so that when it is time unpack, your belongings are easily accessible. A trick Sharone often suggests, is instead of folding your clothes, keep them on the hanger and insert them into recycled garment bags or place a garbage bag over the top of the cluster of hangers and cut a hole in the top creating a make-shift garment bag. This ensures that your clothes stay clean and you can easily transfer them from one closet to another.

Coordinate the Details

Often times, many schools require students to coordinate a time and date for moving out with their Resident Assistant (RA). They will give you a move out time, tell you where to park your car or the moving truck and also let you know what checklist items you need to complete before your final departure from the dorms.

Do you have any tips for moving out of your dorm? Let College News know!

FlatRate has just launched a new moving program called MOVEU designed specifically for college students. It offers three different packages at discounted student rates, feel free to check it out here.

The LGBTQ Community in Schools

Are we providing enough space for the LGBTQ community in the academic sector?

Ex-President Obama has had a major impact on America and for various minorities living there—including the LGBTQ community in schools. Although Mr. Donald Trump is our new president which may mean changes related to those laws are in order. So it is up to the people of America who stand for equal rights and who feel that everyone deserves to be treated with respect to do something about it. These are the values that we were raised with and we will still uphold those values no matter whether the person who is in power approves of it or not.

This also brings the issue to blessing everyone with the privilege of educating oneself. People in America are blessed with great schools and colleges that others yearn to get admission into. So it only makes sense that we are more accepting of the students that are of a different sexual orientation. All people are human beings and our ex-president went to great lengths to demonstrate that through the laws he implemented, showing his support to the LGBTQ community in schools.

Read: Donald Trump’s First Days as President

 

It is understandable that colleges don’t want too many international students as it affects the population of local students coming in the colleges. But Americans with various sexual orientations should be considered equally just as any other straight American. College campuses have become more accepting of these students over the last few years. It can be compared to the 60 college LGBTQ centers in 2006 which have now increased to 100 centers that are even controlled by the college staff.

How colleges help the LGBTQ community in schools

There are even specialized options for members from the LGBTQ community in the academic sector to take up gender neutral housing schemes which can give them a safer environment. It boosts their own confidence and can open more communication with their own community members. There are also LGBTQ specified student loans that the government offers for the community. This helps people achieve their dreams, giving them better opportunities in the professional world.

Coping with bullies on campus

There are people who suffer bullying—even at the college level—and community members may not know whom to go to if that situation occurs. Certain measures need to be taken so that LGBTQ members can feel they are able to speak out against the verbal or physical abuse they receive. Also, if nondiscriminatory articles are included in the handbooks provided to students on campus, then the bullies may refrain from calling out to people of different sexual orientation.

College staff also need to take a stand against bullies to protect such students and report them, thus protecting the students and the school’s reputation. The schools and colleges have opened the doors to the LGBTQ community in schools with pen hearts, but people still need to be educated about respecting and accepting these community members in the academic sector. This is the only way that we can aim for a better, more accepting world.

You might also enjoy: Staying Safe on Campus in Not Necessarily a Right—Apparently

Author Bio:
Sherley Alaba is an eagle-eyed wordsmith; a writer and translator, always interested in ways which can help individuals (especially youth and women) reach their full creative potential. Her focus has been on writing, producing and editing stories on business, finance, interesting personalities, entrepreneurs, culture, the environment, gastronomy, lifestyle, and social issues.

Five Ways to Improve Your Memory

The demand for ways to improve your memory is higher in students than it is in adults. Students often come across new knowledge in different areas that they need to store to remember during exams and in future tasks. Some students suffer with memory problems and information retention like remembering instructions in class and directions they have just been given. Here are five effective ways to improve your memory as a student.

1. Use visual images when learning

Teachers should be teaching their students how to use visual images to improve their memory. One strategy that makes use of visual cues involves word substitution. This system is applicable in scenarios where a student cannot visualize information and make meaning out of it. You can turn a difficult word such as “”occipital”” into something familiar that can be visualized. For instance, the word “”occipital”” can be converted visually into an open space like a “hall.” The students can then visualize it in real-time. This can help to enhance the vocabulary stored in your brain.

2. Distribute learning

Research shows that learning activities that take more than two hours without a break are counterproductive when compared to those that take one hour or 30 minutes. Students are likely to retain things they learn over a short period of time. This is because the brain can only retain a limited amount of information at any one time; bombarding it with a lot of information only reduces its retention capacity. Make sure you take breaks between learning sessions to help improve your memory. Some students can take up to 50 minutes while others cannot go beyond 30 minutes.

3. Try to relax

Relaxing should be an integral part of your learning process. Scientists have proven that stronger and lasting memories can be achieved when a person relaxes. You need to use different relaxation techniques in order to improve your memory. Deep breathing is one of the most popular relaxation techniques. Establish a quiet environment in an open place and find a comfortable position with your back straight. Then go through a deep breathing process, akin to meditation, for at least 15 minutes.

4. Train the brain

Students should give their brains a workout in order to improve their memory. At times, the brain needs the right stimulation to keep growing and developing. Like a muscle, memory can stretch and grow with a workout. You need to come up with a brain-boosting activity that is suitable for you and must involve learning something new, be challenging and rewarding in the end.

For instance, you can prepare a list of items and try to memorize them. After some time, try to repeat the items you have memorized. Make the items as challenging as possible for optimal results. Print some words in different colours and try to name the colour each word is printed in. Write a short story and then try to use seven to nine words to describe it. You can also do games and puzzles to help improve your memory. 

5. Brain foods that improve your memory

The foods the students eat have a lot to do with their brain power. The foods can either take a toll on their brain or improve its functionality. You should try to change your diet and eat foods that enhance your brain power. Foods such as oily fish and walnuts have been proved to enhance the memory capacity in both kids and adults. You should research and learn about the impact of brain-boosting foods to help improve your memory.

In summary, a good memory is an important asset to any student who wants to improve his or her grades. The techniques discussed above will help you to improve your memory significantly.

You might also enjoy: Brain Food: Eating for Concentration

7 Books You MUST Read While You're Still in College

Ask anyone and they’ll tag college days as the best days of their lives without blinking even once; everything about college is dreamy, from friends to hangouts and even classes. During this phase, let books be your trusted companions because they are not only great sources of knowledge and entertainment, but they also expand your horizon by engendering better creativity, good vocabulary, and imaginative thinking.

When you’re in college, you’re getting ready to face the real world. Move over from the books you read in school and create space for the books you must read that help you prepare for life ahead.

Here are books you must read that can actually make a difference:

1) This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This book is a perfect example that states that age doesn’t define the limit of imagination. This cult classic was written by Fitzgerald when he was only 23 years old. Chronicling the life of Amory Blaine, the book captures the romance, struggles, and realizations of his life brilliantly. Once you’ve finished reading the book, you know that you don’t want to be that wealthy Princeton student, who had to look at himself differently because of the situations arising from his choices. His post-graduation disillusions are captured interestingly. The book grips you further when the protagonist finally realizes the hard way that life is different outside the secure walls of college.

2) Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No: Making Life Right When It Feels All Wrong by Herbert Fensterheim Ph.D., Jean Baer

An ideal read for every phase of life, this amazing book you must read teaches the importance of using the simplest, yet the hardest word: No. This must-read teaches you to “say what you mean and mean what you say.” By the end of the book, the author literally trains you to develop self-control that often gets overpowered in a dominating atmosphere. Sound familiar? The book promises to help you develop the ability to grab the best from life. Get your copy for a compelling read!

3) Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Most describe the author’s creativity in writing this book as mysterious and prismatic. Though the book can be categorized as dark, it has people drooling over and hailing it as a poignant study of memory, morality, and mortality. Although the author has woven the book around love, it’s not just a love story. Set in early 1960s Japan, the book elicits a universal emotion and those who identify with it, never want to put it down. The book is also adapted into a motion picture.

4) The Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Filled with insights, the book changes the way you perceive challenges and define your ambitions, and makes you more dedicated towards your goals. The book is known to profoundly change or fortify the way one looks at life and happiness. It allows readers to achieve a consecrated state of ‘flow’ under any situation.
The book is known to have broadened the perspective of life for many and helped others in realizing a clear vision of their goals and ways to achieve them. In the words of renowned Psychologist Howard Earl Gardner, “the book documents a set of scientific discoveries about human nature that actually illuminates the life experiences of all persons.”

5) Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

“”We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire.””
The book inspires you effortlessly. You don’t necessarily have to be an Indian to identify with the story of an extremely poor Muslim boy growing up to be the President of India, the largest democracy in the world. The story of a man, who continues to be an inspiration even posthumously, the autobiography is not preachy, yet caters to the subjects we know of, but don’t give much thought to. The book has the power to change the way you look at life and maintain the sanctity of your inner self.

6) The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama

It doesn’t matter whether you’re religious or identify with the philosophy of the Dalai Lama; this book brings you peace and calms you. It teaches you to value the little things in life and care about what really matters. This book is insightful but has nothing that’ll scare you away. The beauty of the book lies in its ability to make readers think of ‘happiness’ as a state of mind rather than a result of external events.

7) The Stranger by Albert Camus

Exploring the numerous possibilities of life, you must read this laudable book at least once in your lifetime. It is philosophical, yet different from the common rational reads. The short plot of this exemplary book leaves a lot to your imagination and much to be desired. It is a novel everyone should read as it leaves a mark on your consciousness.
When you’re in college, everything about life appears to be a bed of roses. But, what lies ahead depends greatly on the choices you make. These books help you stay rooted as they have a practical approach. As life continues to be a roller coaster, these books provide a much-needed breather and allow you to soak in some really good lessons.

You might also enjoy: 10 Best Books of 2016

Author Bio
Korie Cantor is a writer who writes about living and lifestyle. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and its latest trends. Follow her on twitter at @koriecantor

 

Donald Trump's First Days as President

January 20th saw business tycoon Donald Trump become the 45th president of the United States—for better or worse. Anticipation of Donald Trump’s first days as president has been building since the election process, being the catalyst to emotionally charged coverage in the press and conflicts around the globe.

From which celebrities refused invitation to play at the inauguration and Trump’s relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, to controversial cabinet choices and threats to women’s rights, the last few months have been eventful to say the least.

Trump and his wife had tea with the Obamas before the transition of power in Washington’s Capitol Hill. While the White House admits that Trump did not write the speech, his was delivered powerfully with patriotic and nationalist tones that he promoted throughout his campaign. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams,” Trump said. Fittingly, after the oath was taken Trump’s first dance with his wife was to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.

Changes to the White House website

The transition of power from Obama to Trump extended to the White House website with previous information archived so that all digital properties were fresh for the new Trump administration. Pages on the website that were once exclusive for LGBTQ rights and climate change policies have disappeared. Considering the Republican’s vocal lack of belief in climate change, this move seems a threat to the progression of climate change science and the future of LGBTQ rights.

A statement that replaced the information on the climate change page said: “”For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the US rule.””

You might also enjoy: The LGBTQ Community in Schools

 

The women’s march

On the day after the inauguration and Trump’s first day as president, women, men and children marched for the protection of fundamental women’s rights and the “safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events”. The march stemmed from the controversy surrounding women’s rights to abortion and the president’s casual bragging about sexual assault; the most famous quote being “grab them by the p****”. If a man with this attitude is now the president of the United States, what does this mean for women? Are we about to step back 30 years?

The Guardian reported that an estimate of two million women rallied in solidarity in the women’s march across America and around the globe, including Canada and the UK, with numbers still rising.

Trump responded to the women’s march with a surprisingly mature tweet:
“Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

First days

In his first days as president, Trump has already signed an anti-abortion executive order, also known as the global gag rule, which prevents US dollars funding organizations that “perform or actively promote” abortions. The witnesses for this signing were all male, unsurprisingly, sending a powerful message about the patriotic rule that men hold over women. This ruling severely impacts the lives of millions of women in underdeveloped countries, whose healthcare systems rely on US funding to deliver high standards of healthcare to its people. Activists have described the ruling as an “assault on women’s rights.”

You might also be interested in: Women’s Rights: Abortion

 

Trump is also likely to push forward with the Dokata pipeline that threatens to contaminate local waters and destroy sacred Native American sites. The $3.8billion plan garnered huge recognition around the world as hundreds of thousands of people—including Native Americans and celebrities—took to Sioux Rock to protest the introduction of the pipeline. The US Corps of Engineering had initially denied a permit to lay the pipeline with the support of Obama, but it is now likely that Trump will rescind. While Trump has shares in Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), he denies any personal interest and implores that the ruling will be to create jobs for the American people and to boost economic growth.

Trump’s first days as president have set a precedence for a Republican future in America. While it seems gloomy now, whether this future will benefit the everyday American remains to be seen.

 

Coping with Exam Anxiety

Exam anxiety is extremely common in students across the nation, included with around 40 million American adults who suffer with general anxiety each year. Anxiety can have a detrimental effect on your health with physical problems including headaches, fatigue and muscle tension. In some scenarios, severe anxiety can lead to depression.

While mild exam anxiety can be a stimulus for change which encourages us to study more efficiently, sometimes it can spiral out of control, making students avoid the study process altogether.

With many students suffering in silence, College News explores ways to help you overcome exam anxiety, before the big test day arrives.

Identify what exactly is making you anxious

Identifying the root of your anxiety puts you in a prime position to resolve it. Anxiety comes in many forms; fear of failure, fear of falling short next to your peers or pressure from parents, to name a few.

If the root of your anxiety stems from falling short next to your peers, resolve it by studying with them. Studying with classmates means you will be working on the same material, and anything you’re struggling to understand can be discussed as a group to help you clarify the details. Working with others in this way may help to reduce exam anxiety.

If pressure from your parents is causing exam anxiety, then talk with them about your concerns—you might be surprised at how supportive they can actually be! Ultimately, this learning experience is entirely yours and you should work with your own future in mind.

Eating a balanced diet

A healthy body makes for a healthy mind. Caffeine has been shown to impede the levels of serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling happy) that the brain produces. Lack of serotonin is what makes us irritable and low. Prevent this by cutting down on coffee, sugary drinks and food and make sure to get enough sleep to improve your mood and sense of wellbeing.

Read: Get More Greens In Your Diet

 

Talk to a tutor or therapist

Vocalizing your concerns helps you to solve the problem at hand. You’ll find that a tutor or school therapist can give you advice or might be able to further aid you in your progress—such as giving you a more private room to take your exam in, or extra time to do it in.

Organize yourself

Heidi Hanna, PhD and CEO of Synergy said “When we have chaotic surroundings or a fragmented mind set, the brain can perceive this as a sign that there is more demand for energy than our current capacity, which triggers the stress response,” in an article by dailyburn.com.

This is where organization tactics come in. Being organized connects you with your sense of control which ultimately reduces stress and anxiety. Make a timetable that divides revision needs into achievable chunks and reward yourself for every completed session. Rewards can be little, like a square of chocolate or an hour break outside, for example. Sticking to a timetable gives you an idea of when you are able to take in the most amount of information, so you can work towards a routine best suited for you.

What are your go-to ways to reduce exam anxiety? Let College News know!

You might also enjoy: Unsuccessful People vs. Successful People

Dear College Football: Stop Playing Playoff Games on New Year's Eve

As near as I can remember the timeline, it took the NCAA about 60 million years to finally agree to host a four-team playoff in college football. And as soon as they finally got it going, it was the best thing ever.

But after only one year of success, they managed to start screwing things up. In 2015, the NCAA held the national semifinals on New Year’s Eve, and cost themselves millions of viewers in the process. They did the same thing in 2016, although slightly improving things by having the games start at 3pm and 7pm eastern time to ensure they were both over before it was party time.

I’m a family guy who has two kids under the age of five and a host of relatives from all over place plus far-flung friends who try and get together over the holidays. Plus, my wife and I try to get out of the house once every two or three months for an actual date night.
So why, oh why, dear NCAA, must you continue to hold the best games of the year on New Year’s Eve?

You might also enjoy: Super Bowl 50 Recap

The TV ratings plummeted from 2014 to 2015 because of this scheduling glitch. Sure, people in bars across the country might have been watching the second game as they rang in the New Year, but the Nielsen numbers for home viewership titled under 10 million people, a staggering decline considering how many college football fans there are across the country.

Ratings were up during the semifinals this year, despite both being fairly one-sided games with both Alabama and Clemson holding Washington and Ohio State at arm’s length, respectively. The games paled in comparison to several of the lesser college football bowls, in particular the Rose Bowl, which were played on Monday, January 2, which, while a holiday recognized by banks and government offices, was back to work for millions of professionals and school districts meaning: streaming the game on your computer while your boss wasn’t looking instead of sitting on the couch devouring nachos and beer.

You’d think it would be hard to screw up something like what days to play the bowl games on, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about. Their biggest problem this year was a morbid fear of stepping on the NFL’s toes, since January 1 was a Sunday, the last week of the regular season for the NFL. In that instance, the logical thing to do would have been to play the other bowl games all day Saturday—with the late games being the sacrificial New Year’s Eve lambs. NFL games would follow on Sunday, allowing the NCAA to get the whole stage to itself by putting one game Sunday night and the other on Monday night, doubling their ratings and giving everyone a chance to see both winning teams in actions, thus driving the hype up for next week’s title game.

What the NCAA and the TV networks failed to recognize here is that as much as people like watching football, they like going out and consuming alcohol much, much more. Football is a niche sport, college football even more so since 99 percent of the viewing audience didn’t go to any of the four schools involved. But ringing in the New Year? Everybody can participate in that.

Further reading: Johnny Manziel’s General Maturity Brought into Question

 

Eccentric Gifts Perfect for College Students

Finding college students the perfect gift is one of the most time-consuming and stressful activities that almost everyone has experienced at some point. A great way to avoid giving a boring gift is to go for something eccentric, unique and extraordinary.

The unexpected and unconventional gift will be loved and cherished far more than an uninteresting one. Here is a list of eccentric gifts tailored mainly towards college students, but can be presented to anyone who appreciates uniqueness:

1. Unicorn-themed gifts

The unicorn is a mythological creature which resembles a horse and has a horn on its forehead. Called unicornis in Latin, one of the first descriptions of this magical creature is found in Greek literature. It is described as a single-horned animal with a white body, purple head, blue eyes, and a long horn on its forehead. A unicorn is thought to ward off evil and protect people from all types of poisons. In certain parts of the Bible, it is mentioned as the creature re’em.

In modern times, the creature is associated with magic and unicorn-themed gifts are perfect for anyone with a good sense of humor. These gifts range from gin made from “unicorn tears” to unicorn snot glitter gel and even canned “unicorn meat”. Regardless of the occasion, you can’t go wrong with a unicorn-themed present.

2. Visiting Vantablack

In 2014, Surrey Nanosystems created the darkest matter known to man and named it Vantablack. Vanta is the acronym for “Vertically Aligned Nanotube Arrays,” which refers to its structure made up of millions of small carbon nanotubes. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the world’s darkest man-made substance and absorbs up to 99.9 percent of radiation in the visible spectrum. It will be used for improved visibility in outer space in satellites and telescopes. Artist Sir Anish Kapoor announced in late 2016 that he had acquired exclusive rights to use this material, which led to the creation of this fascinating piece of art.

Currently, schools, universities and museums can order the substance for educational purposes and the sample will be sent in a sealed, crinkled-foil display-unit. The substance is said to be so black that the human eye is unable to see its exact shape and form. Although you can’t buy clothes or merchandise made from the material, you can visit the museum that houses it (UK). The visit will make for an eye-opening gift, especially for a science geek. It is said that staring at Vantablack is like staring at a black hole in outer space!

3. Body pillow

This is a large pillow, also known as ‘Dakimakura’ in Japanese, which translates to “hug pillow.” Popular among Japanese youth, these polyester-filled pillows have been around for centuries. Before the 90s, they came in simple prints with no images on them. However, with the rapid rise of anime and manga fans during the 90s, production of body pillows with illustrations of various anime characters on the front and back became common. An anime body pillow will be a unique gift for anyone, regardless of whether or not they are fans of anime, manga, or comic books.

4. Out of this world

Outer-space fans will love these perfect eccentric gifts. You can buy a galaxy umbrella, which comes with a high-resolution photo of the galaxy printed on it, so you are always under the stars. Another option is an infinity-mood cube; a mood light that creates amazing outer-space optical illusions. Jet black in color and cubical in shape, it is a rotating LED that will mesmerize anyone. Heat-sensitive mugs are another perfect gift idea. When you pour hot liquid into these innocuous-looking mugs, they light up in a range of patterns, showing the various constellations, a galaxy, the world map, or more.

You can also find a range of outlandish outer-space themed food products including donuts, cakes, wallpapers and even lollipops. A word of caution —avoid buying a gift where you pay to name a star after a loved one because this is essentially pointless. It will only be named in the company’s books where you buy this service from.

5. Carnivorous plant

Bored of seeing the same harmless house-plant in every home? Then gift the carnivorous Venus Fly Trap plant instead. Called Dionaea Muscipula in Latin, it feeds itself by luring and capturing prey, such as flies, inside traps that are lined with tiny hairs.

6. Caffeinated soap

Calling all coffee-addicts! If you want to give a coffee-lover the perfect eccentric gift, look no further. Even after gulping down a mug or two of their morning cuppa, they can continue to get their caffeine-fix from this caffeinated soap as they shower!

7. Souvenir from Hobbiton

If you know a huge Lord of the Rings fan, then get them a pair of shire slippers. These fluffy slippers are designed to look like hobbit feet—notoriously large and hairy. They’re funny, quirky and make for a great gift for a college student who is a Tolkien fan.

8. Nothing

Do you know someone who has everything? Then this is the perfect gift for them, the gift of nothing! Ingenious and strange, itis sure to be appreciated. Perhaps a last-resort option, choose this if you are unable to find anything at all.

The next time you go looking for the perfect eccentric gift for college students or loved ones, take a look at these weirdly wonderful options. There is no need to rely on tired options like socks, because now you can take your pick from dark matter, outer space and even unicorns! These gifts show that you put a lot of thought into them and will stand out from the rest, making you the king or queen of gift-giving!

Need some more ideas?: Eight Best Gifts for College Students

 

Author
Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to blog about fashion, beauty, travel, health, fitness, wedding and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time in traveling with friends and family.

10 Ways Being a Couch Potato is Detrimental to Your Health

Are you a couch potato? Here’s some bad news for you.

Studies have shown that besides the intrinsic lack of physical energy and mindless eating coining the phrase “couch potato”, this extra lazy behavior could actually encourage obesity. Sitting for long hours and watching your favorite TV shows has negative effects on your body from organ damage to problems with your back. Here are 10 ways being a couch potato is detrimental to your health.

ORGAN DAMAGE

1. Heart disease
Your muscles burn less fat when you sit idle for a long time. Blood flows more sluggishly, ultimately allowing the fatty acids to clog your heart.
Moreover, sitting for long periods of time can cause high blood pressure and higher cholesterol. People spending their time inactively are more likely to have cardiovascular diseases than their active counterparts.

2. Colon cancer
Extra sitting time increases chances of getting colon, endometrial and breast cancer, studies have revealed. The reason is that sitting for prolonged periods of time builds up excess sugar and insulin levels which can be detrimental to health.

3. Over-productive pancreas
The pancreas produces insulin, the hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin as in active muscles. As a result, the pancreas produces an excess of insulin which increases the chances of diabetes and other harmful diseases.

BRAIN DAMAGE

4. Vague brain
When you are in a state of motion, your body is able to drive fresh oxygen and blood through the brain which triggers the release of endorphins, including dopamine and serotonin—the pleasure and happiness receptors.
But idle muscles slow all bodily functions which can damage the brain. With a lack of endorphin produce, there’s a chance that sitting for a long period of time may increase levels of anxiety.

5. Regular pain in shoulders and back
Slumping forward overextends the back and shoulder muscles, especially the trapezius, which connects the shoulder and neck.

6. Stressed neck
If you are sitting for a long time, craning your neck forward strains the cervical vertebrae and this leads to everlasting imbalance.

You might also enjoy: Easy Steps to Get in Shape in the New Year

 

MUSCLE DAMAGE

7. Limp glutes
Sitting idly will slow the proper functioning of your glutes. Soft glutes will negatively affect your stability and maintenance of a powerful stride.

8. Mushy abs and tight hips
When you slump on a chair, tight back muscles and wimpy abs form a posture-wrecking alliance that affects your spine’s natural arch posture and you could suffer from swayback condition—pain in the lower back.
Couch potatoes rarely extend the hip flexor muscles which cause them to become tight and short which ultimately limits your range of motion.

LEG DISORDERS

9. Poor blood circulation to legs
One of the primary symptoms of leg disorders is poor blood circulation that occurs because of fluid retention from idle sitting. Problems range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots (deep vein thrombosis).

BACK PROBLEMS

10. Disk damage & inflexible spine
Being a couch potato means there is a greater risk of developing a lumbar herniated disc. The muscle psoas, is a muscle that travels through the abdominal cavity and, if tightened, pulls the upper lumbar spine forward. This can be harmful as a result because the weight of the upper body is totally on the sitting bones with half of your weight supported along the arch of your spine. Spines that do not move become inflexible and susceptible to damage in mundane activities.

So the detrimental effects of being a couch potato are clear. From organ damage to disk damage & inflexible spine, these above-mentioned evidences are enough for couch potatoes to get up and lead a healthy and active life.

Further reading: Four Basic Yoga Poses

 

Author Bio
Katey Marsh is a health consultant at Essay Writing Service firm and a nutritionist in hospital. Many celebrities are leading a healthy and fit life by following her diet plan. If you also want to stay fit, then you can contact her on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.