Author Archives: Admin

Wellness Wednesday: Introversion

What does it mean to be an introvert?  There are various ways of defining introversion, but according to some, they are the people who listen rather than speak.  They choose to read instead of partying.  They like to work independently over collaborating with teams or groups of people.  But this doesn’t mean that introverts are antisocial or shy at all – they are just social in a different way.  For example, introverts may prefer to spend time with a handful of friends at a dinner party rather than at a loud crowded college house party.

In modern Western culture, we find a pervasive extrovert ideal in which a magnetic personality is very much cherished, though oftentimes leaving introverts undervalued.  Between the emphasis on effective communication and collaboration, whether for job interviews or class projects, we see the extrovert ideal on Bowdoin’s campus too.  And in Susan Cain’s work Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she argues that though extroversion should be valued, it can be a challenge for introverts to succeed in a world that just can’t stop talking.  Especially at Bowdoin, a small liberal arts college where there is little personal space and sometimes an overwhelming close and constant proximity to hundreds of people our age, finding the time to be alone is hard.

Nobody is a pure introvert or extrovert; in fact, some of your friends may fall in the middle, often called ambiverts.  For the most part, however, we identify with one or the other.  Knowing where you fall on the spectrum can be helpful to understanding what makes you happy and healthy.  It can help you figure out what types of career paths you might be interested in or how to make the most of your weekend free time.  Take a personality test to find out more – you can find hundreds online, but here are some links:

Introversion/Extroversion Quiz

Big Five Test:

Myers-Briggs Test:

Now that you have a better sense of where you are on the spectrum, what’s next?  Well, for all the introverts at Bowdoin, remember that solitude matters.  Though you may feel the need to be gregarious and be an effective team player, it is also important to give yourself quality alone time.  It is okay to spend a weekend night engaged in conversation with two close friends and a burger from the food truck.  College isn’t just about loud music and crowded living spaces.  For all the extroverts at Bowdoin, look around you because a third to a half of the world’s population is an introvert, meaning it is quite likely that some of your closest friends are introverts.  Just something to keep in mind as you think about how you want your semester or year to look.

Interested in reading more?  Check out these links for more thoughts:

Wellness Wednesday: Laughter

It seems that almost every day, someone is trying to come up with the next ‘big thing’ that will for sure keep us healthy! While yes, getting sleep, exercising, staying hydrated and eating healthy are all important, studies have shown that something a bit more unexpected has also been found to help- laughter.

A good laugh has been found to improve blood flow, lower levels of stress hormone and even boost your immune system. When we laugh, we trigger the release of endorphins, which help to ease pain and promote a feeling of euphoria. Not only that, but a good laugh has the ability to relieve tension in the body “leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.”

Did you know that there is such thing as “Laughter Yoga?” Yes. That’s correct. In the 1990’s, Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, started the first Laughter Club, which has expanded to over 6000 laughter clubs in over 60 countries. This form of yoga combines laughter with yogic breathing (pranayama) in order to provide the psychological and physiological benefits that come from laughing. Laughter yoga has been used in cancer facilities, prisons, aged care facilities, and has even been found to make a large impact on those with mental and physical disabilities.

Barb Fisher, a certified laughter-yoga leader, says that while laughter yoga shouldn’t replace traditional forms of exercise, it has been proven to help tone muscles. You know that sore feeling you get in your abs when you have been laughing uncontrollably? You really are strengthening your core! Apparently, 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is equivalent to 2 minutes on the rowing machine.

Sadly enough, Fisher also says, that “Kids laugh about 400 times a day, and adults only about 15.” So, resort to your childlike self and don’t take everything so seriously! Laugh at yourself; don’t be afraid to be embarrassed. Try and look for humor in unfortunate situations. Surround yourself with funny people, posters, or objects that you keep at your work place. Most importantly, keep everything in perspective.

Here are some types of laughter that Dr. Madan Katari suggests to try out:

1. Hearty Laughter: Laughter by raising both arms in the sky with the head tilted a little backwards

2. Greeting Laughter: Joining both the hands and shaking hands with at least four or five people in the group

3. Appreciation Laughter: Join your pointing finger with the thumb to make a small circle while making gestures as if you are appreciating your group members and laughing simultaneously.

4. Milkshake Laughter: Hold and mix two imaginary glasses of milk or coffee and pour the milk from one glass into the other by chanting “Aeee…,” and then pour it back into the first glass by chanting “Aeee…” Then, everyone laughs while making a gesture as if they are drinking milk.


Written by Kerry Townsend ’13.

Fall 2012 Flu Shot Clinic: Round I

Flu season is around the corner – stop by the Health Center (3rd floor of the Buck Center) to get your free flu shot!

Thursday, September 20th – 10am to 12pm

Friday, September 21st – 1pm to 5pm

There will be more dates to come.  Stay tuned!

Welcome Back

Welcome back Bowdoin students!  Are you ready for a fresh new year?  Each year brings its own set of challenges whether you are a senior and beginning the search for what to do post-graduation or a freshman just transitioning in.  Juniors have been scattered around the world and sophomore friends are now scattered around the fringes of campus.  Like all change, transitioning is difficult.  But Peer Health is here to help.  Talk to us – we’re here to listen and connect you to resources.  We’re your resource.

Find out who you can talk to: PeerHealthFall12List

Wellness Wednesday: Sitting

Now that it’s summer, a good portion of current Bowdoin students, as well as alumni, are probably scattered around the country and the globe for that matter.  Some are probably enjoying their first college summer, others traveling, and a good portion sitting at desks in cubicles staring at a computer.

If you’re one of the gazillion people sitting a lot this summer, these articles from the Miami Herald and the US News and World Report might be of note to you!  Basically, there’s been increasing evidence that “prolonged periods of inactivity – best described as sitting a lot – is unhealthy.”  Several studies claim that sitting for 6+ hours a day can lead to higher death rates.  Of course, it might not be possible to stand all day, but it is important to move and stretch just about every 30 minutes throughout your day.  Here are some tips:

  • On your lunch break, take a walk outside.  The fresh air and sun is a nice change from a computer screen.
  • When you need to chat with a coworker, go to their desk!  While it might be helpful to call or email when you’re swamped with work, your body will appreciate the walk even if it’s right next door.
  • Get up and stretch.  Your back will love these stretches!
  • Try the bathroom downstairs (or upstairs) instead of the closest one.  And take the stairs to it!

Hope you are staying polar bear healthy this break.

Congratulations Class of 2012

Bowdoin Peer Health has grown so much in the last few years with the help of this year’s senior class.  Best of luck to all graduated polar bears – Peer Health wishes you the best of luck.  Stay healthy.

Congratulations to the Peer Health Class of 2012:
* Ellery Gould [egould]
* Erin Hatton [ehatton]
* Liz Huppert [ehuppert]
* Alex Jacobs [ajacobs]
* Sydney Miller [srmiller]
* Georgia Nowers [gnowers]
* Anna Schember [aschembe]
* Lizzy Tarr [etarr]
* Antonio Watson [amwatson]

Wellness Wednesdays: Beauty through the Ages

Abandoning pen, brush, and potter’s wheel, Anna Utopia Giordano’s thoroughly modern artwork uses only Photoshop software. With this program, Giordano digitally replicated and altered Renaissance classic masterpieces to fit within modern standards of beauty. Perusing the 15 slides of her work featured in The New York Daily News last month, one can see just how much ideals of attractiveness have changed in the past few centuries. The luscious curves of Botticelli’s radiant Venus slide away, leaving a taunt stomach and toned thighs, while Artemisia Gentileschi’s Venus is shrunk to half her size. An image of William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “La Naissance de Vénus,” and Giordano’s altered version of the work are placed side by side. The new Venus has a whittled down waist, frailer arms, and more prominent knees, yet her breasts remain exactly the same size. This same phenomenon occurs slide after slide, flesh vanishing away, rolls and folds forsaken for bony statures that somehow retain their voluptuous breasts. This, we are told, is beauty.

Giordano discusses her new depictions of Venus, claiming the role of art is to find and create physical perfection. These admired and sought after proportions of skeleton bodies with curvaceous breasts are the “perfection” of modern society, the aesthetic we all must pursue to be beautiful. But who decides that this is beautiful? Once upon a time, as the Renaissance artists show us, perfection was a fuller, rounder figure. A body type we would now think of us as “plump,” “chubby,” or “out of shape.” Beauty changes with the times as money, fashion, and of course men, determine the way women should maintain their bodies. Yet if these aesthetics truly are this fickle, how much energy should we expend on the pursuit of perfection? If Venus, the most beautiful goddess of all Mount Olympus, can have both rotund, sensuous thighs and lean, muscled legs, then are not all bodies beautiful? People come in all shapes and sizes and throughout history vastly different body types have been coveted and adored. The bodies we yearn for and worship in today’s society are digitally perfected images, images in which all flaws, quirks, and uniqueness have been erased in the name of flawless skin and uniformity. If nothing else, Giordano’s digital changes show us that there is not one set definition of beautiful and there is no such thing as physical perfection. As the old saying goes, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

To see the slide and read the full story on the New York Daily News check out this link.

Written by Elizabeth Huppert ’12.

Like Us on Facebook

For everyone who is actively using Facebook currently, this is your chance to win a $40 gift certificate to Wild Oats!  The first 100 people to “like” the Bowdoin Peer Health Facebook page will be entered in a raffle to win!  And the best part?  You will be among the first to know about all the health happenings on campus.