Portfolio for the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Plymouth State University. This IDS portfolio is based on the Holistic Human Development curriculum created by undergraduate student Anna Bays.

Welcome to Holistic Human Development

The Holistic Human Development program was created through the Interdisciplinary Program at Plymouth State University. I created this major because I want to focus on human development as a whole, not just in a psychological, educational, or biological way. I've summarized this degree program by creating the website ExpandingYou, which focuses on helping young adults on their personal wellness journeys while focusing on the mind, spirit, and body.


About Me

My name is Anna Bays and I am a 22 year old who is about to graduate from Plymouth State University. I will be graduating with two degrees with a BS in Adventure Education and a BS in Holistic Human Development. My next steps are to complete my internship at Squam Lakes Association over the summer, and I hope to pursue my Reiki Level 1 certification this coming fall.

Note: In "Project Artifacts", most of the infographics are tagged as "TripleThreatWellness". This was the original website name and the edits of these tags were unable to be completed at this time.


Website: https://holisticallyanna.wixsite.com/expandingyou 


Major Overview

Project Overview

Example Blog Posts

Reversing Poles, Changing our Thinking from Negative to Positive

We don't always have control over our negative thoughts. In times of great distress, mental illness, and adverse conditions, it is not always possible (or beneficial) to turn negativity in to positivity. Sometimes negativity is needed to get us out of bad situations, or to realize injustices in front of us.
However, in normal conditions, there are small ways we can change our viewpoints, self talk, and thought processes to working with a positive affect. Over time, this can leave us feeling less stressed, happier, and more carefree. The idea is to make sure our thoughts don't lean negative when it isn't helping us. We can end up in negative mind loops, making it so more thoughts are negative then our needed for our survival.
Changing like this does not happen instantly, but over time. It can feel hard to remember at first, then ingenuine, but eventually, like every behavior, it because comfortable and habitual. If we can change the way we think to lean positive instead of lean negative, when can overall have a better time.
1.Change to Gratitude
It can be easy throughout the days to loose sense of everything that we can be grateful for. There are so many people in the world that don't have access to education, homes, stable food and water sources, or safety, yet many people in places of privilage complain about minor inconveniences or disruptions. While you don't have to be grateful for the things in like that truly do suck, finding small things to be grateful instead of complaintive about can help move you towards a more positive mindset.
Example: Change "I only have 15 minutes left of my break" to "I get 15 more minutes of break". This removes us from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. In situations where its not life or death, but just unfavorable, looking at the situation with abundance can make us enjoy it more, have more gratitude, and make better use of our time.
Example: Change "My computer sucks because it isn't the latest model and the screen is cracked" to "I'm happy my computer hasn't completely fallen apart and that I will have the opportunity to get a better one in the future". Especially with material possession, it can be easy to compare ours to others, and feel like what we have isn't enough. But every item we have is serving a purpose and has value when it is accomplishing your goals and tasks. This example is personal to me as I just waited 30 minutes for my laptop to do updates and do in fact have a cracked screen.
This can seem really small, and even pointless. But it the small things that we change that can keep our days more positive overall. We all have things to be legitimately upset or negative about, so why would we also make all of the small parts of our days negative as well? I try to keep this in mind when things aren't working my way or if I don't feel on par with the world around me.
2. Brightside thinking
This concept is one of the hardest to put in to practice, as you often have to fall back on it when facing a serious disappointment. But the thing about not getting something you want is that there is often little we can do about it, especially in terms of competitions, job interviews, awards, or chance encounters. When there is absolutely nothing we an do to change an outcome, it is a waste of time to dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you can do and what may be an another outcome of the situation at hand.
Its fine to express emotion when you don't get something you want, but it cannot consume us, keep us from growing further, or make us act out on others. This type of thinking will not remove your emotions regarding a missed opportunity, but can change your focal point about the situation.
Example: Change "I didn't get the opportunity I wanted " to "I I get to move on to another project". Opportunities come and go, and there will always be ones that don't work out. We never know what will come from a missed opportunity, as there are as many outcomes in missing an opportunity as getting an opportunity.
Example: Change "I should have worked harder to get that award" to "I did the best I could and now know what to do better for next time". There is no point in beating yourself up over things you can no longer change, instead look forward to how you now know to do better.
This can feel really stupid to do in the moment, but saying even one positive thing to yourself during a negative time can help ease feelings of disappointment. It can also help you realize what you may have learned, how much you grew through a process, or what other opportunities may now be available.
3. Changing our inner self-talk
We all do it. We all talk to ourselves, with our little inner monolog sometimes being on the same page as us, and other times it can be really negative. In cases of anxiety or depression, this negative self talk can become extreme, and should be dealt with under professional guidance. However, you can chose at any point to just say something nice about yourself, even if you may not truly believe it.
Think about it, when we the last time you gave a compliment to yourself and kept it to yourself? It can be easy to fake confidence and self-love in front of others, but when was the last time you showed it to yourself?
Example: Go up to the mirror, look at yourself, and simply say out loud "I love you". If this seems hard, you can start by saying "I like you" or even saying it in your head while looking at yourself. If you have suffered from a long standing habit of negative self talk, this can be really hard. Remember that there may be external factors that make you feel like you aren't worthy of self-love or that it would be appropriate to do this type of self work, but everyone, EVERYONE, deserve to be able to express love to themselves, no matter your gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. Even if you have done things you aren't proud of, there is always opportunity to change and self love can be a great way to start.
Example: Try and recognize when you are saying or thinking negatively about yourself. You may find that you talk negatively about yourself during certain times or activities. You don't necessary have to change your thinking to be unconditionally positive, but even neutrality is a way to start. Change "I can't learn this skill and I'm stupid" to "I am trying really hard to learn and am persevering".
There will always be other people around to make us feel unworthy, anxious, or negative, so you don't need to self-perpetuate those thoughts. You are your own best friend, so be as helpful to yourself as possible. We all are deserving of love an respect, and are all just trying our best.

Happily Unhealthy: Releasing College Expectations

College is a wild time for personal development. You're most likely somewhere far from your normal comfort zone, meeting new people, and have more independence then ever before. You are making decisions that you may have not faced in the past, feeling pressured by social media to be a certain way, and you have to navigate a new social scene. There is so much going on, but what is negatively affected during this time?
Unfortenelty, often health is neglected during one of the most developmental fruitful times of life. College is meant to be enriching, yet if we aren't giving our body's and minds the opportunity to function well, how much are will really gaining from all of our hard work?
Actual Health Truths
It is seen through The American College Health Association that college students routinely have health issues that impact well-being and ability, many of which can contribute to chronic illness later in life. Two of the biggest problems that plague college students are substance use disorders and mental health concerns, not to mention that college students routinely miss benchmarks in regards to nutrition, physical activity, and sleep.
The Fall 2021 American College Health Associations National College Health Assessment assesses various health aptitudes of people enrolled in college. Some of the notable health aptitude reports are as follows
  • 74.8% of males and females assessed reported moderate to serious phycological distress
  • 40.2% of all those assessed met guidelines for active adults
  • 44.6% of those assessed felt that their university prioritized student health and well-being
  • 16.5% of those assessed reported eating 3 servings of fruit a day
  • 28.3% of those assessed reported eating 3 servings of vegetables a day
  • 26.4% of those assed reported having received treatment or diagnoses for chronic illness
As we can see, college students don't have the firmest grasp on their health. This is worrisome for several reasons. The biggest one is that health impacts the ability to preform your best academically. It is well known that a lack of sleep or low blood sugar can make it impossible to to pay attention and academically preform. Alongside of that, young adults (the typical college age student) are still neurologically developing, with this development only ending in the late 20's and sometimes 30's. Bad health can negatively impact this development.
Health Expectations:
There are two sides to the health expectations of college. On revolves around the party hard, no sleep, surviving-on-ramen view point. This is often perpetuated by adults offering advice for college, movies, and T.V shows. Even without the idea being put in to someone's mind, many young adults have never had to manage their own health and habits directly, and many can fall in to self-damaging habits. If you've ever heard of the freshman 15 happening due to dining halls (and not the natural weight gain that happens between teenage years and adult years) then you have witnesses this health expectation.
This one is more physically draining, with the lack of sleep and good nutrition putting strain on the body. This expectation can also be forced, if a college student is facing food/money insecurity, in a rigorous academic program, or are pre-disposed to addiction. Even so, these behaviors can still be encouraged further or normalized to an unhealthy extent.
The next is almost the opposite. There can also be an expectation to be "effortlessly healthy", in where unrealistic health goals are promoted. This happens mostly in our minds and on social media, where we can't see the full picture of someone's health habits, yet we compare ourselves against them. While some may see this as motivation to be healthy, it can also lead to obsession. Eating disorders, anxiety, and feelings of not being good enough can plague college students, leading to other forms of negative health.
If you've been a witness to the "That Girl" Trend, you've witnessed this health expectation. This can be more mentally and spiritually draining, as constant comparisons to others can leave us with a broken sense of self, lack of confidence, and feelings of guilt. Even if this expectation is technically perpetuating 'good' health, it can do more harm then intended (and it a whole other multifaceted topic).
How to promote healthy college habits for yourself
First off, remember that no one is perfect.
Everyone will have unhealthy times, feel overwhelmed, and maybe even have a weekend bender every once and a while. There is no expectation you have to meet other then the ones you set to value your health. You don't have to change anything about your appearance to gain health, and no one will ever know your full health story. So with general health guidelines being used as a flexible guideline, here are some ways you can focus on maintaining or improving your health in college.
Set a specific time where you drink a substantial amount of water.
This may seem silly, but most of us are chronically dehydrated to the point where we don't feel thirst regularly. If this resonates with you, consider literally adding "drinking water time" to your routine. Yes, drinking water throughout the day is important, but if you can't remember that step, it can be super beneficial to have at least one time a day to just sit and drink water. This is often recommended to do right in the morning, as it can help wake you up and ease overnight dehydration. I personally started by filling up a giant mason jar of water after my afternoon class, and I would sit and drink it as my main activity. Not only was I ensuring that I got some amount of water in me during the day, it gave me 15-30 minutes where I could chill out and not worry about anything else.
How much water you should drink depends on a variety of factors, but a guideline can be 1/2-2/3 of your body weight in ounces, varying depending on temperature and activity level.
Walk around campus whenever possible
The campus shuttles are a wonderful thing for accessibility and when you're running a bit behind. However, taking the time to walk places throughout your college campus can be very beneficial for your health. Walking, even though a simple activity, can boost immune function, reduce joint pain, and can even reduce your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer. Walking too and from classes, friends places, or other campus buildings gives your guarantied movement during the day, without you having to do a big edit to your schedule.
Spending this time outside is also incredibly beneficial. Being outside can help you get enough vitamin D from the sun, can reduce anxiety, and give you much needed quiet time. If you live in a particularly green place, the benefits are even higher.
Find a Mental Health Practice that works for you
Even if you don't have a diagnosable mental illness, everyone needs to do work to maintain their mental health, just like their physical health. For some, therapy with a professional is the best way to do this, particularly if you are facing or recovering from trauma, have a mental illness, or are feeling like you can not manage your mental health alone. Many college campuses have counseling services that are free to students, and you can also check out the Mental Health Resources post to see additional resources if traditional therapy is not accessible to you.
If you don't feel like you need therapeutic help, it is still important to find something to help you routinely work on and evaluate your mental status. Meditation can be fantastic for those who feel like they need some quiet time to reset, and can be done anywhere with no materials. Journaling is a great option for those who want to delve into specific parts of their mind or history with journal prompts, or can just be used to get all those trapped thoughts out. Words of affirmation, mindfulness, yoga, or campus affinity groups can also be great ways to express yourself and keep you mental health in check. There is no shame in trying several and picking which one works best for your current life style.
At minimum, make sure you are eating ENOUGH
*TW Eating Disorders/unhealthy eating habits*
While having a balanced diet filled with nutrients and vitamins is the best thing for you, it simply is not accessible or attainable for everyone. The biggest thing is making sure you are eating enough food-based calories every day. Our brains requires at minimum 500 calories to function properly, and most peoples bodies will burn around 1000 calories just at rest. If you don't eat enough to maintain these functions (and the additional calories you'll burn from going throughout your day or working out) you will start feeling negative affects. Some of these side affects are fatigue, muscle and joint weakness, reduced cardiovascular function, and more.
Malnutrition will affect your ability to preform on all aspects. Some of the easiest ways to eat enough are to focus on foods that contain high amounts of calories and the potential to also have other nutrients. Smoothies, granola bars, sandwiches, and oatmeal bowls are some of the easiest foods to make with substantial calories. My personal favorite is smoothies, as you can have servings of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins in one drink that you can take with you. If you struggle to eat enough and balanced, consider adding a reputable
multivitamin to your routine while you focus on upping you caloric intake.
As a side note, make sure to always eating SOMETHING before drinking or partying. Some people will 'budget' the amount of food they eat before going out in order to get drunker quicker, as alcohol can move straight to the lower intestine and get directly absorbed in to the blood stream. Or, others will be afraid of consuming to many calories through drinking, so they chose to not eat in order to 'make up' for the drink calories. Both of these habits makes you highly susceptible to alcohol poisoning, black out, or becoming ill. This is considered disordered eating and should be explored by yourself and a professional further.
Journal Prompts to Explore your Relationship with your Health
  • What steps do I take to consciously improve/maintain my health?
  • What (if any) are the barriers for me in regards to my health?
  • Do I feel like I have a firm grasp on my health? If not, what areas do I struggle with?
  • How does my current mental health status affect my life?
  • How does my current physical health statues affect my life?
  • Does my current social environment aid my health or is it detrimental to my health?
  • How does my current college/family/work situation impact my health?
2 entries

Major Artifact (1)

Major Artifact 1 (Revised)

Major Artifact (2)

Major Artifact 2 (Revised)

Major Artifact (3)

Major Artifact 3 (Revised)


Overall, I am very proud of my degree program and the experience I have gained through my senior project. While I know that there's things I'd change, do differently, or even not do at all, I wouldn't of gotten to my current point of knowing without all of the things I have already done. All of my experiences are valuable and will be useful in any of my future endeavors, no matter what path I decide to take.

I would not be where I am today without The Interdisciplinary Studies Program. I remember being a sophomore and being told by others that I couldn't have a second degree in IDS, and that it wouldn't be worth it when I could just declare a minor or a premade major. But when I did go in to the IDS office and finally asked, I was greeted with so much enthusiasm and belief in my abilities, which isn't something I have always had when making big decisions. Being able to create a program that included the entirety of my interests instead of being part of a program that only partially suited my needs has been enriching and gave me more motivation with my academics. 

I come out of this program proud and ready for the paths I see in front of me. Even though making more big decisions will be scary, the creation of the major Holistic Human Development has given me confidence to do any large project and see it to fruition. While I think that my final project could of had more substance, I know that I am looking to continue the work and need to do it at a pace that fits my current lifestyle. This is not the end of my project, but instead still the beginning.

Thank you to everyone involved in Plymouth States Interdisciplinary Program, the professors who taught my classes, and all the friends who believed in me. Shout out to the PSU Adventure Education Program for being my other major and a family during my college years.