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What does it mean to live a holistic, healthy life? These seven principles can serve as convictions or planning guides for each of us. Originally conceived as a framework for addressing the root causes underlying drug and alcohol abuse, these principles have evolved into a framework of their own; they serve as the foundation for loving and caring relationships with us and others.
The seven principles include:
1) Optimism: promoting a belief in ourselves, that we can promote change and healthier living. We believe that human beings are basically good and that, despite setbacks, our history is on a path of progress and promise. This belief is indispensable in our quest for a campus society in which all persons are valued, feel needed, and strive to be awake, aware and useful. (Health Topics: Attitude and Self-Esteem, Self-Responsibility, and Creativity)
2) Values: gaining greater understanding of what is of greatest importance to ourselves. We believe that values are at the core of self and community and are essential to any meaningful change. Indeed, it seems unlikely that any transformation of culture or community could occur without a simultaneous change in values. We do not seek to bring the values of others in line with our own, but rather to cause a shift from externally-determined to internally-guided values. Only by making this shift can people be true to themselves and create the best community possible. Such changes are difficult to foster and cannot be forced. They can be only encouraged through subtle influence and exposure to new information. Once values start to change, they act as an amplifier, leading to even greater changes in behavior. (Health Topics: Religion and Spirituality, Human Respect, and Cultural Competence)
3) Self-Care: enhancing awareness and skills on a variety of healthy living issues. We believe that an ethic of balanced self-care is fundamental to flourishing as a human being in the world community. The rhythm and balance of self-care sets the stage for the mindful care of all others. As a result, care of the body, mind, and spirit needs to be an essential part of the fabric of college experience. Education can help create a climate and culture in which the ethic of balanced self-care is encouraged and cherished. (Health Topics: Nutrition, Exercise and Physical Fitness, Body Image, Sleep, Time Management, Financial Management, Stress and Relaxation, Mental Health, Writing and Study Skills, Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Personal Safety, and Disability Awareness)
4) Relationship Health: promoting higher quality interactions with others, as well as ourselve. We believe that learning how to be in relationships is an essential developmental task for young adults. As educators, we are charged with the responsibility of creating climates, cultures, and curricula that teach students how to be in relationships and how to value relationships. The diversified campus community needs to learn to honor and embrace all phases of relationship transitions, including necessary losses and the continuing hope of growth and renewal. The domino effect of kindness and caring from students, staff, and faculty will set the standard for quality relationships for all. (Health Topics: Interpersonal and Family Relationships, Assertiveness, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Sexual Decision Making, and Etiquette)
5) Community Health: enhancing the quality of group interactions, including formal and less formal groups. We believe that creating a culture of community through rituals, symbols, traditions, and heroes is needed to insure quality educational experiences. A larger and more integrated vision of community in education is needed to ensure a quality educational experience in and out of the formal classroom setting. Campus culture that reflects cultural components should be used to reinforce healthy, positive behaviors and to change those that are destructive to personal development and the educational mission. (Health Topics: Social Life and Activities and Campus Involvement)
6) Nature: increasing our understanding of the important role we play within the larger context of the natural world Service: identifying approaches for volunteering, sharing our gifts, and ‘giving back’. We believe that the connection of people to the natural world is essential and affects our total psychology, our motivations, and our ultimate spiritual survival. As biological beings, we are all profoundly connected to nature in a symbiotic relationship, which determines the consequences of our behavior as members of the dominant species within an interdependent biosphere. (Health Topics: Natural World)
7) Service: identifying approaches for volunteering, sharing our gifts, and ‘giving back’. We believe that service is indispensable in engaging people in authentic and meaningful learning experiences and in creating positive social change. As a result, we are challenged to create a climate in which we push extremes, tap potentials, and unleash the full capacity in students and the entire campus community. We are further challenged to positive social change in their local neighborhoods, the cities and towns they call home, and our global community. We are committed to making this ethic of service and stewardship, this appreciation for the true value of education, saturate the entire learning environment of colleges or universities. (Health Topics: Volunteering and Career Planning)
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COMPASS Topic Resources
Visit this wonderful resource page of 31 different health topics (such as time management, financial management, study skills, alcohol, sleep, and more). Click some of the pictures below to read about a health topic.
As noted, the seven principles were identified as foundations for addressing many of the ‘root causes’ of drug and alcohol abuse. These seven principles emerged from a think-tank process at the national Challenge 2000 conference held at the University of Notre Dame; they are further described in detail in the book Charting Your Course: A Life-Long Guide to Health and Compassion (Active Internet connection required).
How do these seven life health principles work? At the largest level, these seven principles become an overarching framework that is both comprehensive and manageable. As we attend to each of these throughout our daily walks of life, we grow and we improve ourselves. These seven principles provide both the depth and breadth of perspective. Further, these seven principles can be interpreted in various ways by each of us.
Moving toward a more pragmatic approach, each of these seven principles can be articulated within the context of more practical and focused topics. As described for each of the seven principles, specific life skills and perspectives are identified, providing topics to review and specific skills to enhance. For example, within the self-care are topics of stress management, financial management, nutrition, and 11 other topics.
The seven principles, then, provide the ‘helicopter view’ of the forest itself; the specific topics incorporated within them provide the view from the ground, including individual trees. Both are important, as we need both the general and the specific as we seek ways to achieve our dreams.