You are here

Understanding the Healthy Habits

This year our theme is Happiness, and you’ll find that many of our Healthy Habits are focused on improving participants’ happiness and mental wellbeing. We hope that by participating in the 2017 HUWC you will find yourself motivated to effect positive change in yourself and in those around you.

wellness wheel

Click on the healthy habits below to learn more about the importance of the habit and to find resources to help you achieve your goals.


Try holding each of these stretches for at least 30 seconds after waking up each morning this week. Your heart rate is the slowest when you first wake up; by stretching you’re helping your blood move faster and circulate to your muscles after being sedentary all night.

Why do you stretch after sleeping?

This week make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep can put you on the fast track to major health improvements, such as an improved immune system, memory, metabolism, and mood.

How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?

Try standing up and moving around for 5 minutes per every hour of sitting that you do this week. Research shows prolonged sitting can contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease, while standing engages muscle groups that can trigger the metabolism of fats and sugars.

What are the risks of sitting too much?

Don’t just get up to become more active, also try to get out! According to a Harvard study, spending time outdoors can boost your mood, improve your concentration, encourage more activity, and even help your body heal faster after an injury. Although weather can be a limiting factor, even the winter months can provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy yourself outside with a little strategic layering and waterproofing!


When you crave sweets try eating fresh fruit, nuts, or low-fat yogurt instead. Make that switch at least 3 times this week and you’re on the road to a well-balanced diet! Most of us enjoy desserts such as cookies, candy and ice cream, but these foods contain high amounts of sugar and contain “empty calories” with little nutritional value.

Tips for Avoiding Added Sugars

Eat at least 2 cups of raw or cooked vegetables 5 days this week. Though all produce has health benefits, vegetables tend to contain more fiber, protein, and less sugar than fruits. Try sneaking some vegetables into your eggs in the morning or blending leafy greens into a smoothie for dessert!

All About the Vegetable Group

Make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 50 fluid ounces of water every day this week, and make sure that pure water makes up no less than half of the fluids you consume in a day. You can visit one of Portland State’s Hydration Stations for cold filtered tap water all day long.

Healthy Beverage Guidelines

Make sure you eat at least 15 grams of protein with your breakfast 5 days this week. Eating a form of protein in the morning is a great way to regulate energy and maintain muscle mass. Instead of a sugary muffin try Greek yogurt with berries, whole-grain bread with peanut or almond butter, or scrambled eggs with vegetables to stay full until lunchtime.

High Protein Breakfasts


This week spend at least 2 hours doing an activity purely because you love doing it, not because your job or class requires it. Taking part in something you’re passionate about such as painting, running, hiking, or gardening will help you unwind. After you take a mental vacation by indulging in something that brings you joy about you'll be amazed at how refreshed you can feel.

7 Benefits of Having a Hobby

Practice some form of self-compassion or self-acceptance every day of this week. Do you accept yourself as you are? It’s a simple question that many people find extremely hard to answer. When you notice yourself comparing, judging, or criticizing, gently bring yourself back to a calm mental state.

Not sure where to start? Check out The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance

Find ways to practice gratitude, write down 5 things that you are grateful for 3 times this week. Research has found that gratitude can significantly increase your happiness and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression.

7 Happiness Habits

This week try conducting 1 act of kindness for a stranger and 1 for yourself. Random acts of kindness are a great way to be generous with time, knowledge and resources. Conducting a random act of kindness can help you to be better connected to your community and the people around you, whether you personally know them or not. Sometimes getting a random compliment or receiving a free cup of coffee is all it takes to brighten up your day.

Random Acts of Kindness – The New Health Food!


Practice thinking optimistically; every day this week make a mental note when you feel a negative emotion or thought. At the end of your day reframe 3 of these thoughts in a positive way and write them down. Thinking optimistically can increase your motivation and help you face your problems head-on as you’ll find yourself in a solution-focused mindset.

The Mind and Body Benefits of Optimism

Engage yourself in the moment. Being in the present can be hard, especially because our fast-paced society is always looking forward. Try to pause for 5 minutes every day this week to take notice of your surroundings; the people around you, or the conversations you may be having, and find happiness and contentment in those small moments.

The Art of Now

Attend one spiritual event or service this week, PSU has multiple groups and events on campus. Participating in a spiritual event can lower blood pressure and boost both your immune system and mental state. It’s also a great way to feel a sense of belonging to a group, bolster confidence, and make connections.

What is spirituality?

PSU Organization and Group Directory

Take 15 minutes to meditate and practice mindfulness at least 5 days this week. Mindfulness is the ancient practice of focusing non-judgmental awareness on the present moment, which has been found to reduce stress and manage painful thoughts or feelings. There are countless meditation methods, but try these simple guidelines to start.

Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress  


Reduce the amount of meat you eat by going meat-free 1 full day this week! It takes eight times more fossil fuel to produce animal protein compared to plant protein. Stock up on beans, fresh veggies, and nuts which are high in fiber and protein. Check out movements like Meatless Monday for some delicious and meat-free recipes.

How a Vegetarian Diet Can Help Save the Planet

Use alternative transportation methods like biking, walking, or taking public transportation at least three times this week. These forms of alternative transit help to reduce the number of cars on the road and the traffic and carbon emissions they can cause (not to mention they keep you active!).

8 Benefits of Using Alternative Transportation

Try turning off your TV! Pick 2 days this week to avoid watching television (this includes streaming shows or movies on your computer!). Commit to limiting your electronic use this week and use that time to be physically active or intellectually productive. Limiting TV and computer use saves electricity and money, and the less time you spend sitting the more you're moving.

Electricity and the Environment

This week buy all of your produce at a local farmer’s market. Buying local, in season fruits and vegetables will allow you get the freshest, most nutrient-packed produce available. It also helps cut back on the carbon emissions that result from transporting food long distances.

Portland Farmer’s Market


Create a to-do list at the beginning of this week to help you determine how much time to set aside for your most important tasks. The key to being successful is knowing how to properly prioritize your responsibilities and engagements. A great resource is your PSU planner or your PSU Google calendar; both of which include important dates and deadlines for the term. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and your health!

The Importance of Daily and Weekly Planning

Try something new for an hour, work on one new skill this week. Stimulating your mental state by engaging in new activities and/or skills is great for the brain and can benefit other areas of work, school, and home. Trying something out of your comfort zone is a good practice to stretch the limits of your intellect, boosting neurons and sharpening memory. Ever wanted to learn to paint, sing, learn a foreign language or gain better skills in Microsoft Office? Now’s the time!

Why learning as an adult can increase life satisfaction

Technology has many uses in daily life, especially for working professionals and students. However too much screen time can lead to lethargy, envy, and loneliness, while the solitude resulting from “powering down” your devices allows you time to reflect on recent events and thoughts. This week, take 2 hours (either all at once or in multiple sessions) to settle in with a book when you would ordinarily be plugged into technology.


Visit Student Health and Counseling services at PSU and use their Mind Spa this week. The Mind Spa is a space on campus for students to relax and rejuvenate at no charge. Sign up at the beginning of each term to reserve a time to engage in light therapy, meditation, massage, and biofeedback.

PSU Mind Spa


College is too important to fail, if you need academic advising or career help try visiting Advising & Career Services (ACS) this week. ACS offers both academic and career counseling on a drop-in or appointment basis; use these services this week to plan for your future.

Advising & Career Services

Be disciplined with your spending and set up a detailed budget for your week. You can leave room to treat yourself every once in awhile but make sure you stick within the budget! It’s important prioritize your spending, so work on developing your self-control, planning, and restraint skills this week.

What are the benefits of budgeting?

This week only buy grocery items on sale or with coupons. The money you save from using coupons at stores can be put towards a trip, bills, projects, or hobbies. Sales and coupons are also a wonderful way to plan healthy meals, so try to avoid dining out this week by cooking at home.

Couponing with Healthy Benefits

Pick an event offered by PSU’s School of Business Administration and attend it this week. The SBA ranks in the top 5% internationally in Business and Accounting programs. The school invites many business executives, entrepreneurs and other innovators in business and accounting throughout the year to engage with students and staff, so make sure to take advantage of this resource!

Events - School of Business Administration


Dedicate at least an hour of your time this week to helping others through volunteering. Practicing altruism helps other people, allows you to take a break from thinking about stresses and problems in your own life, and is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people.

Portland VolunteerMatch

Try practicing active listening 3 times this week. Take a break from your busy school and work schedule to have a conversation with somebody and truly listen to them. Ignore distractions and direct your mind to understand what is being said. Acknowledging someone’s words and feelings can make their day and lead to deeper friendships.

Active Listening: Hear What People Are Really Saying

Go out of your comfort zone and try to meet someone new this week. Reaching out may be intimidating and hard at first but can reap massive rewards for both parties. Forming new relationships with neighbors, coworkers, or classmates can expand your network and improve your confidence and self-worth.

Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health

Re-establish contact with a friend or member of your family who you’ve lost touch with this week. There’s no time like the present to reach out and let them know you’re thinking of them. Try to steer clear of short and impersonal text messages; phone calls, substantial emails, or letters are much more meaningful and sincere.

The health benefits of strong relationships