For more tips and a FREE tee-shirt, stop by the One Loyola room today between 11-1!

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By Guest Poster, Abbie Levenson, Tulane School of Social Work Intern

Today is Groundhog Day, but perhaps like our friend Bill Murray, every day is Groundhog Day for you. Whether it’s biting your nails, scrolling through Facebook while you’re in class, or even having too many drinks when you consume alcohol, you might find yourself constantly engaging in behavior that is difficult to stop. If you’re looking to break a bad habit, here are a few tips:

Develop a strategy to put an end to your bad habit. Habits can be situational, such as when you are bored or stressed. Think of ways to avoid the behavior or moderate it, such as setting a time limit for how long you can be on Facebook before starting your homework, or alternating between an alcoholic beverage and water when you drink.

Be present. Habits tend to be unconscious actions: we sometimes don’t even realize that we are doing them. Striving to be in the moment and becoming aware will help you catch yourself from engaging in your habit.

Swap bad habits for good ones. Remember that some habits are good habits! Try to substitute your usual bad habit for a good one. If your bad habit is to watch TV right before you go to bed and you feel that it affects your sleep, try reading a book instead.

Tell your friends and family. Sometimes we need help in breaking our habits. Let your friends and/or family know that you are attempting to break your habit, and they can encourage you to keep trying and point out when you have a slip-up.

Need more tips? Check out MindTools.Com for more info. Good luck, and happy Groundhog Day!

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Join us this spring at the University Counseling for the emotional wisdom group! This is an eight week psychoeducational group that focuses on four primary topics (mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance). All students are welcome to join! Please email Alison Cofrancesco ( for more information.

Core Mindfulness Skills – teaches you to observe yourself and control attention

Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills- gives you tools to express your beliefs, needs, and boundaries while enhancing your relationships.

Emotion Regulation- helps you recognize more clearly what you are feeling and learn to deal with emotions without being overwhelmed. Emotion regulation brings awareness to emotions and triggers for emotions

Distress Tolerance- cultivating skills to both “tolerate” and “down regulate” when need to cope arises in the moment. Distress tolerance skills help to reduce physical and cognitive vulnerability to stress and distress.

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What are your resolutions? Working out more? Eating less chocolate? Have you thought about work you might want to do to improve your inner self as well as your outer self? The University Counseling Center is offering several groups and workshops this semester to help.


Learn skills to end procrastination in our Time Management Workshop. Tired of missing deadlines and letting things slip through the cracks? This eight-session workshop series will help you develop strategies to get on top of things and stay on top of them! Most procrastinators know that they want to change this behavior, but have no idea how to change it. We’ll help you understand your reasons for procrastinating, develop strategies to nip procrastination in the bud [hint: different things work for different people], and become more satisfied, productive and efficient. Bonus: Less time procrastinating means more time to do the things you actually enjoy.


Are you ruled by emotion or reason? Do you feel like you make impulsive decisions based on anger or passion that you later regret? Or do you feel that sometimes you are so logical and rational that you are completely cut off from your feelings? If either of these options sounds familiar, consider joining the Emotional Wisdom group. The focus of this group is enhancing your ability to integrate your emotional and rational sides towards achieving emotional wisdom.


If you are interested in joining either (or both!) of these groups, or if you’d like more information, contact Alison Cofrancesco at

The UCC is also offering a Sexual Assault Survivor’s group. Find resolution and healing in a safe space with others who understand what you are going through. Contact Alison for more information.




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So, a little self-disclosure here … I LOVE Christmas.  Always have and, at this point, probably always will.  There is something about the spirit and anticipation of the day that makes the world, at least from my point of view in the Danna Center in NOLA, a little brighter.  Here are a few New Orleans-inspired Christmas traditions to consider when you are looking to lift your own spirit as you complete the fall 2014 semester:

  • Take in Caroling at Jackson Square on the Sunday before Christmas with a cup of coffee with chicory
  • Check out the menus for a few  December Réveillon (French for “awakening) dinners (or at least the gumbo offerings) at places like Arnaud’s and Upperline
  • Take a streetcar ride on a nice evening to view the lights and decorations on St. Charles Ave
  • Visit the Roosevelt Hotel to take a lingering walk through the gorgeous lobby
  • Take a selfie with your Elf on the Shelf at local venues such as our Loyola sign in front of Marquette or at Café Du Monde, just to name a few
  • Celebrate midnight mass at St. Louis Cathedral


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The term “mindfulness” has been used to refer to a psychological state of awareness. Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment. Mindfulness is a state and not a trait.

Several disciplines and practices can cultivate mindfulness, such as running, yoga, and tai chi, but most of the literature has focused on mindfulness that is developed through mindfulness meditation — those self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calmness, clarity and concentration. Benefits of being more mindful can include:

Reduced rumination

Stress reduction

Boosts to working memory


Less emotional re-activity

More cognitive flexibility: Another line of research suggests that in addition to helping people become less reactive, mindfulness meditation may also give them greater cognitive flexibility. Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations.

Relationship satisfaction: Being more mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one’s emotions to a partner. Empirical evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict, is positively associated with the ability to express oneself in various social situations and predicts relationship satisfaction.

Other benefits: Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain’s middle pre-frontal lobe area. Evidence also suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning, improvement to well-being, and reduction in psychological distress.

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Please see the reflection below provided by Stephanie Benitez, a junior at Loyola pursuing a degree in psychology.

The importance of speaking emotionally.

I find that many times people tend to be indirect when talking about what hurts them. Rather than see the strength of their connection to their emotions, they see weakness and fault. To prevent that weakness from being exposed, some people will try to be passive about their pain. Others will not even give their pain a chance to surface. I am a repeat offender of working my feelings away. Why feel pain when there is so much work to be done right now? I will take up extra shifts; I will do school assignments ahead of time. Fortunately, my best friend has a natural talent for making me talk about things, and it does really feel better to talk things out. I like to think that every word spoken gets whisked away, pain and all, and dissipates like smoke into the atmosphere. It is a soothing image that makes handling my moments of openness a little easier.

I think vulnerability is powerful, even if I have my own fears of being vulnerable. That’s why Take Back the Night is such an important event to me. The survivors always look nervous, scared, and sometimes determined as they walk up to the microphone. Nevertheless, every year people show up and whether or not they planned on talking, they find the strength to talk about this painful moment in their lives in a direct, honest, and unabashed manner. People will come forward and talk about the physical and emotional difficulties that they face in the aftermath. I watch them speak, and I feel so proud to see that emotional power within them compelling them to share their pain with a sea of unfamiliar faces. It lights up like a fire that makes each word loud, clear, and weighted, as it should be. These are the realities of trauma faced, endured, and overcome.

            I think that a lot of influence comes not just from the night itself, but from each and every person that tells his or her story. The main contributor to the persistence of injustice is silence, and how can anyone ever know just how common sexual assault is if no one is there to be a witness? Some women and men do not have the option to speak, but at least once out of the year, the people that can speak have all the freedom in the world to be one more voice against a grave and ugly injustice that must be stopped.

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Being young and relatively healthy can protect many students from contracting the influenza virus, but being in crowded areas such as a college campus can increase your chances of getting the flu and other viruses.

The influenza or “flu” virus is spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with the influenza virus in their system. Sometimes, people can become infected simply by touching something with the flu virus on it.  This virus can then be transferred from the hands to a person’s mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. This means that you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Common symptoms of the influenza virus include but are not limited to:  high fever (102.0-104.0 orally), congestion, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches (which can be caused by the high fever). If you have an appointment with a health care provider within the first 24-48 hours of developing symptoms, then you can be prescribed medications that can help ease some of these symptoms.

The influenza vaccine or “flu shot” is normally given around the first week or two of October depending on availability of the vaccine.  One misconception is that the flu vaccine gives you the flu virus.  Like any vaccine, there is the potential to have mild fever and cold-like symptoms which can mimic the flu.  Once you receive your vaccine, you actually are not protected from the flu virus for 2 weeks.  So this means that you should refrain from exposure to known sick persons until your 2 weeks has passed.   Remember, if you receive a flu shot but are exposed to someone with the flu before your coverage begins (2 weeks), or you may have been exposed several days before you received the vaccine, then you develop flu symptoms.  This is how and why patients tend to believe that the vaccine made them sick.  Now you know the rest of the story!

Not only should you protect yourself by getting the vaccine, but you should also use daily preventive measures to stay healthy:

  1.  Wash your hands frequently
  2. Cough into the bend of your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose
  3. Don’t share drinks or utensils with others, especially if you or they are under the weather
  4. Exercise daily
  5. Get plenty of rest
  6. Eat a well-balanced diet

Please call or visit Student Health Services to receive more information on the flu and other health care related issues you may have while attending Loyola University New Orleans.  We are located on the lower level of the Danna Center, directly below the Orleans Room and can be reached at (504) 865-3326.  For more information about our services please visit our website at

Lannie Guidry, FNP-BC

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This free training prepares volunteers to be first responders to survivors of sexual violence. The itinerary includes presentations from various campus and community experts on the following: contextualization of sexual violence, medical and legal resources, Loyola’s resources and requirements, and empathic listening skill development via role plays. This is an excellent way to continue the work begun during Take Back the Night! Our fall training will be held THIS SATURDAY, November 15, 2014 from 8:45a.m. to 4p.m. in the University Counseling Center. RSVP to Alison Cofrancesco at or via phone at 504-865-3835.

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Mark your calendars and prepare to take action against gender-based violence!

Students from the Loyola, Tulane, Dillard, University of New Orleans and Xavier join with the New Orleans community to once again join together to call for a community-wide effort to reduce sexual violence.


  • Monday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.: Take Back The Night Kick Off Concert featuring the UNO Jazz All-Stars @ UNO outdoor amphitheater.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 28, 7p.m. - TBTN NOLA Spoken Word Event @ Dillard University’s Library
  • Wednesday, Oct. 29, 6p.m. - Annual Rally & March Against Sexual Violence @ Loyola’s Marquette Horseshoe

Artists include:

    • Tova Jovanne Charles
    • Tony Wilson
    • FreeQuency
    • Cubbs the Poet
    • Deuce the Truth
    • Brandon Lebeaux

All proceeds from fundraisers support local survivor service agencies including Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, The New Orleans Family Justice Center and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program.


Raffle: Tickets will be sold between 10/22 – 10/29 during the window in the DSC. Tickets are $1 and enters you in a drawing for over 30 generously donated baskets valued between $50 – $100

Denim & Teal: Faculty & Staff are invited to make a $5 donation and to wear denim & teal/TBTN shirt to show their support of this meaningful event.

Please join us to empower survivors and stop sexual violence! #TBTNola

For more information on how you can become involved, contact Alison Cofrancesco, Staff Counselor in the University Counseling Center at

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