Chapter Activities – Taking Control of Your Health

Chapter Takeaways

  • Good health helps you be more successful in college.
  • For good nutrition, eat a varied diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and minimize fats, sugar, and salt.
  • Regular exercise is not only important for good health but is a great way to reduce stress in your life.
  • Sleep is one of the first areas where college students cut back when they find themselves too busy with classes, work, and other activities. Taking the time to get enough sleep, however, makes you so much more efficient when studying that it can actually save you time.
  • Substance use and abuse not only takes its toll on the body but also contributes to problems in college, at work, and in the future. You may need to make a smart decision between short-term pleasures and long-term success.
  • Since many stressors are unavoidable in life, we all need to find good ways to minimize their effects. The best stress-reducers over time become good habits that will increase our wellness and help us succeed in college and careers.
  • If you are having an emotional or relationship problem that persists and affects your life, don’t hesitate to seek help. Most colleges have counselors and health professionals trained to help you get through any crisis.
  • Sexual health is your own business—except that sexuality usually affects and is affected by others. Smart choices focus on protecting yourself from potential problems, regardless of your choices about sexual activity.

Chapter Review

  1. Whose fault is it if I’m overweight now?
  2. Whose fault is it if I’m overweight two years from now?
  3. Whom can I talk to if I want to find a weight loss program that will work best for me?
  4. Complete these sentences:
    1. What I think most needs change in my diet is…
    2. The main reason I don’t get enough exercise is…
    3. When I feel stressed, I often… (How healthy is that? Should you choose healthier activities instead?)
    4. The first step in resolving a conflict you are having with someone else is to …
  5. How do you know if you’re drinking too much or too often?
  6. As a college student, why should you care about how much stress you feel and what you do about it?
  7. If you have a friend who has seemed very depressed lately, what signs should you look for that might indicate he or she is becoming suicidal?
  8. If you do see signs of suicide in your friend, what should you do?
  9. If you are sexually active, can you be certain you are at zero risk for acquiring HIV? If so, when? If not, why not?

Outside the Book

  1. Choose a friend you enjoy spending time with and see if he or she will help you with an “experiment.” Together, make a list of fun things to do together in the next week that will help minimize your stress. Choose activities that are different from your usual habits. Following are some ideas, but be creative and try to include your own healthy ideas:
    • Cook a healthy meal together (if you have a kitchen) or shop together for snacks you can carry with you for when you’re hungry between classes.
    • Go for a jog, bike ride, or long walk at least three times during the week.
    • Study together early in the evening, with snacks and drinks that won’t slow you down or keep you up, and then get to bed on time.

    At the end of the week, talk about the experiment and how you felt during and afterward. Did you have fun? Did you get some ideas for other or better things to do? Plan to keep doing some of these activities.

  2. Spend twenty to thirty minutes online getting more ideas about healthy ways to minimize the stress you feel as a student. Start by typing the phrase “stress reduction” into your search engine. Look for specific ideas and activities not already covered in this chapter. Write them down here to share with other students and your instructor.
    1. _______________________________________________________________
    2. _______________________________________________________________
    3. _______________________________________________________________
    4. _______________________________________________________________
    5. _______________________________________________________________
  3. Go to and take the ten-question stress quiz to see how much you now understand about stress-related topics. (The Web site also has a lot of good information for students who speak English as a second language.)

Make an Action List


My worst eating habits are…

My action plan to eat better includes the following:


I don’t get enough exercise because…

I’ll try to do these things to become more active:


I sometimes/often don’t get enough sleep because…

I can better manage my time to get enough sleep in the following ways:


I tend to overuse or abuse these substances:

My action plan to avoid substance problems includes the following:


These things cause me the most stress:

I will take these steps to better cope with these stresses:

Emotional Health

I am happiest when I…

I’ll be happier if I make these changes:

Sexual Health

I am/might be putting myself at risk when/if I do these things:

What I should always do to reduce these risks is to…