MindWell Blog

For more content, please visit the Semel HCI Center Blog.

Sunny sky with clouds

Finding Routine amidst Chaos

If you’re like me, you may have struggled to establish a routine over the past few months. It’s hard enough to find a daily rhythm as a college student with a jam-packed schedule that varies by day. Add to that a pandemic and pressing racial injustice concerns, and your daily rituals might not be top […]

fading hands

Mental Health Literacy: Anxiety

1 in 3 college students report experiencing a diagnosable mental health disorder. However, it is estimated that 64.5% of these students are not seeking the help they need. The Mind Lexicon project was a study conducted by the Semel HCI MindWell pod to assess students’ knowledge of mental health terminology, since improved understanding can reduce […]

A painter covers a canvas with red paint and a blue flower.

Do I Need a Hobby?

When you hear the word “hobby”, what do you think of? You may conjure images of a post-retirement activity or your childhood art projects. Maybe you associate it with an idle waste of time. In reality, a hobby is any leisure activity that you voluntarily do when you are free from responsibilities. A wide range […]

Hike in Santa Monica Mountains

Want Free Therapy? Try Nature

We know intuitively that getting outside is good for us. But how much time do we really spend appreciating green space, away from technology and to-do lists that so often pull us indoors? With more and more research unveiling nature’s powerful mental health benefits, lack of nature exposure may be costing us more than we […]

The Clinical Corner: How cancer affects mental wellbeing in patients

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be the single most terrifying and life-changing moment in many patients’ lives. Coping with this news in a healthy way is an important part of the treatment and recovery process, one that may actually affect how disease recovery and remission progresses. It may come as no surprise that a life-threatening […]

The Roots of Eudaimonia: An Interview with Joseph Raho

The Roots of Eudaimonia: An Interview with Dr. Joseph Raho

UCLA is holding their third annual Eudaimonia awards on April 29th, 2019, and in anticipation for the event, I sat down with ethicist Dr. Joseph Raho to discuss the roots of eudaimonia in ancient Greek philosophy. After majoring in philosophy in undergrad, Dr. Raho wished to use the analytic skills he learned during his studies […]

RISE 1

Resilience on the RISE

Resilience (noun) re·​sil·​ience | \ ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s ​1)​ The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. 2) An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary As people in and around the university, we all face the trials and […]

Heart Health 2.png

Healthy Minds and Healthy Hearts: An Interview with Kimberly Uehisa

While heart health is often overlooked by younger generations, the effects it can have on living a healthy lifestyle are nonetheless important. Mental health can be severely impacted by stress, and so can heart health. Kimberly Uehisa, fourth year MIMG major and global health minor, is championing the importance of cardiovascular health and education in […]

Slime During Grind Time

On Friday, December 7th, members of the MindWell pod in the Healthy Campus Initiative came together to put on a de-stressing event for students before finals head into full swing. The event was filled with fun, relaxation, and slime– appropriately named slime time during grind time. Yes, slime. That stretchy, goopy substance that many of […]

STAND 2

Taking a STAND for Mental Health at UCLA

The Depression Grand Challenge​ has taken many strides towards reaching its goal of cutting the rate of depression in half by 2050. As of last year, UCLA was “believed to be the first university to conduct a ‘​campus-wide mental health screening program​’, where it invited students to “check in” and offer them treatment within the […]

IMG_2248

Meet Anusha Sadda, CAPS Student Advisory Board Member

Many people know about Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at UCLA, but most people don’t know there is also a board of students working alongside them to provide the best mental health resources possible. This group of students is called the CAPS Student Advisory Board (CSAB). The board is made up of students from different […]

yff2018blog#2

Yoga in the Community: Meet Carina Marcellas and Yoga for Flexible Futures!

The Healthy Campus Initiative funds a plethora of research and clubs on campus that are related to mindfulness and mental health. Yoga for Flexible Futures (YFF), a previous HCI Small Grants Recipient, is a club that teaches mindfulness, nutrition, and yoga to children at UCLA’s Community School in Koreatown. The club is composed of passionate […]

MindWell Megie

It’s Yanni, okay? How an internet divide reflects the need for cultural introspection

How can we become more aware of ourselves while holding space for other’s point of view? Photo credit: Anna Caitlin Photography.   I hear Yanni, or Yanny. I’ve seen it spelled both ways. I have no flipping clue how you would ever hear Laurel. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this. Then […]

Peter Whybrow in HCI Blog

Eudaimonia Honoree Spotlight: Peter Whybrow

For the second year in a row, the Healthy Campus Initiative is hosting the UCLA Eudaimonia Awards. This year’s ceremony will be held tonight, April 24th, after a TEDxUCLA Salon on the subject of altruism at the Pauley Pavilion Club.  What is eudaimonia? It’s human flourishing, living a good life, prosperity, happiness, and how people […]

Madison Feldman

Eudaimonia Society Spotlight: Madison Feldman

Madison Feldman is a third-year undergraduate student at UCLA studying Geography with a Conservation Biology and a Geospatial Analysis & Technology double minor. Along with classes, Madison works as the Undergraduate Coordinator for HCI, gardens at the jane b semel HCI Community Garden and DIG UCLA Garden, and enjoys ocean sports, such as dory boat […]

Eudaimonia Award Winner Louis Tse

Eudaimonia Award Winner Spotlight: Louis Tse

Aristotle distinguished hedonia, the brief, fleeting happiness derived from immediate satisfaction of drives, from eudaimonia, the sustained happiness that comes from living a life rich in purpose and meaning. The UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative Eudaimonia Society was founded to recognize members of the UCLA community who exemplify Eudaimonia and inspire others to seek their own […]

Rapgay photo

Psychology of Hate

We are experiencing an increasing level of hate in our society.  Hate fuels the cancerous divisiveness and polarization which now infect virtually every part of our lives. This culture of hatred will have serious effects on both our national and individual emotional, psychological, and physical health.    We cannot be a strong and healthy nation […]

1.jpeg-3

How to Meditate

Have you ever thought of trying meditation but been intimidated or confused about how to get started? The basic principles of mindfulness meditation are not complex and can be learned. To meditate we use our normal ability to direct our attention. We direct our attention all the time –for example, paying attention when reading a […]

Morning Song Still_010

Why Live Music Matters

Our Mindful Music team entered the Pediatrics Unit at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center on a mission to engage and uplift children who are fighting short and long term illness, using a participatory live music session for the entire unit. We approached patients like Angey, who was lying on her bed watching TV with […]

Winter18Mindfulness Challenge

Week 6 is for Mindfulness, are you up for the Challenge?

What is the Stop, Breathe, and Think MIndfulness Challenge? Last year, Campus and Student Resilience and the Mindful Awareness Research Center paired up with Stop, Breathe, and Think to host a five-day meditation challenge. The challenge is back this year and will be held week 6, starting today (February 12th) until the 16th, so sign […]

5212982646_8a75ced9a0_b

How to stay grateful after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone; taking with it the feeling of fall coziness and the smell of pumpkin pie, and leaving behind the lure of winter break and an extended vacation. While some families celebrate in the traditional Thanksgiving style, with a roast turkey and everyone listing what they’re thankful for before dinner, others denounce […]

438253839_7bb6d9ff9f_z

Meditation Apps Review: For Your Finals Stress Relieving Pleasure

Week ten seems to have appeared upon us once again in the blink of an eye (thanks quarter system!) and that means that finals are starting for everyone. Testing time can feel like a tsunami of stress, which can make us feel low and even perform worse on the things that we are trying to […]

1

5 Tips to Creating Your Perfect “Snooze-List”

We all have that favorite pillow or sleeping position where our worries are set free and the sheep begin to count themselves. Although the process of sleeping brings us so much comfort, many of us are still sleep deprived and suffer the consequences in our day-to-day activities. My college years, probably like yours, were one […]

TedxSalon

TEDxUCLASalon Resilience

By:  Lucy Tseng, MA, Event Organizer and UCLA Staff “The greater the force of your compassion, the greater your resilience in confronting hardships.” – Dalai Lama “Resilience is based on compassion for ourselves as well as compassion for others.” – Sharon Salzberg “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time […]

journalingimage.jpg

Benefits of Journaling

Sometimes when you are going through a lot, whether it be in your academic, personal, or professional life, it helps to write it down. Now, this might sound like a quote pulled out of pinterest, but it actually holds a lot of truth. We already spend so much time typing and writing, so why not […]

14324164216_e1988aacb0_m.jpg

Hidden in the Shadows: High-Functioning Depression

  For the majority of my life, I had no sense of who I was as a person. I had no conception of what I liked or why I did the things I did or why I felt the way I felt. For the longest time, my identity was composed of all the things I […]

unnamed

Presence: In Life and on the Page

As you all may know, May is National Mental Health Awareness month, which aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and to spread awareness about the importance of maintaining our mental health. What have you been doing to celebrate? Maybe you tried your hand at meditation to find balance in the day-to-day struggles, or […]

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.20.40 AM

Stop talking and say something: FacetheIssue.com encourages conversation to tackle mental illness

This May, as we celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s time to stop talking and say something. While 1 in 5 Americans struggle with mental health, only 44% of adults and less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Mental health is vital for a […]

Louie with camera-2

Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg talks Visual Healing

By: Artemisia Valeri, MindWell Pod Coordinator of the Healthy Campus Initiative A UCLA staff member described Louie Schwartzberg’s imagery best saying, “Just looking at those already relaxes me.” Louie is a cinematographer and UCLA alumnus who captures breathtaking imagery of the natural world. Through MindWell’s Gratitude Challenge, hundreds of UCLA staff, faculty, and students experienced […]

image001

Stop, Breathe, & Think Mindfulness Challenge

We’re just about halfway through the quarter, and midterms, papers, and the desire to maintain an active social life may be causing some stress to all of our daily lives right about now. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break? Well, you’re in luck! The department of Campus and Student Resilience decided to help […]

image

For Metta World Peace, Living Well Matters

By: Vanessa Perez, MPH student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Move Well Pod GSR for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative Metta World Peace is a big fan of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI), envisioned and supported by Jane and Terry Semel, and I had the opportunity to find out why. […]

Outofthedarkness

Get Involved: Out of the Darkness Campus Walk

It’s the beginning of Spring quarter — with only eight weeks until we reach the much-awaited summer — so what can we do to make this last quarter a memorable one? Get involved with a meaningful cause! A great chance to get involved is at the upcoming Out of the Darkness Campus Walk at UCLA’s […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 9.19.50 AM

Creativity & the Arts in Healing

10-year-old Kara makes a collage featuring a large bird standing on a branch of a barren tree with an arrow pointing its beak towards a strawberry, while a smaller bird stands on an opposite branch looking up towards a raspberry. Using a structured fill-in-the-blank bio poem, she writes from the voice of the bird:   […]

waterdrop-1080×675

Exploring Mindfulness

I was first exposed to mindfulness when I started at UCLA. When I first arrived at Rieber Vista as part of my New Student Orientation, I was jumpy, perhaps even noticeably so. Born with something of a nervous disposition, I had a hard time keeping still. With that being said, however, I had never been […]

image

How to Practice Self-Compassion

In the journey towards finding balance in your life, the practice of self-compassion may be a game changer. Self-compassion is the act of recognizing your own humanity, accepting yourself at the present moment, and appreciating yourself not for your productivity, but for your inherent worth. However, self-compassion is one of the hardest things to practice […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 9.40.14 AM

Yoga and Yogis: You’ve Gotta Check it Out

In a place like Los Angeles, we hear about yoga almost everywhere we go: celebrities use it to stay fit, just about every other person walking next to you has a yoga mat slung over their shoulder, and Lululemon products are popping up all over the place — but, what exactly is yoga? A quick […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 10.06.49 AM

Interview with a Certified Resilience Peer

Upon reading the title above, many questions may come to mind: What is a Resilience Peer? What do they do? Why are they important? By the end of this interview, I hope to help answer all of those questions. A Resilience Peer is a UCLA student (undergraduate or graduate) that is a part of the […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 7.14.39 PM

The Many Benefits of Knitting

When we hear the word “knitting”, many of us think of sweet-looking, elderly grandmothers. However, this connotation does not do the hobby justice. Research conducted on the effectiveness of Therapeutic Knitting reveals that its benefits for mental health are remarkable. Gone are the days where knitting needles and copious amounts of yarn are the instruments of secluded […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 8.13.28 PM

5 Non-traditional New Year’s Resolutions for the Body, Mind, and Soul

Every 365 days, a large, sparkly ball drops in Times Square, New York, and the millions of us that watch it often resolve to make up a list of “improvements” or “guidelines” to stick to throughout the next 365 days to come. Some people, however, opt out of making New Year’s resolutions, because they believe […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 8.18.46 PM

New Year, New You? Mental Health and New Year’s Resolutions

While the New Year appears to present a positive opportunity for us to “reinvent” ourselves and make ourselves “better,” the process of setting New Year’s resolutions can negatively affect our mental health. In the days surrounding January 1st, we are bombarded with articles and advertisements that suggest we, as we currently are, are not enough. […]

image

Expanding Your Perspective on Self-Care

  In order to be a successful student, being healthy and well is pretty much vital. Therefore, self-care should be a priority to manage the stress that accompanies life as a UCLA student. Self-care can be described as “engaging in activities and practices that promote wellbeing and a balanced lifestyle” (GRIT Peer Coaching Program). A […]

Earth_globe_stress_ball

8 Ways to Beat the Stress of Finals

Finals week signals the end of weeks worth of students’ hard work and dedication, so it should be a cause for celebration, right? Unfortunately for many students, finals is usually clouded by stress and anxiety. Everyone faces the rigors of stress at one point or another throughout the school year, but finals week is generally […]

Physical Activity

Free Self Defense Classes at UCLA: Protecting the Mind and Body

  What if… Imagine walking back from a late night at Powell Library. Its tenth week, and you’ve spent the past few days studying for your upcoming final. Day in and day out, you’ve labored over past midterms and practice tests, keeping yourself awake with liters of coffee and Yerba Mate tea. Eventually, you decide […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 8.33.53 AM

Perfectionism, Procrastination, and the Practice of Self-Care

  For most of my academic career, I prided myself in being “one of the smart kids”. Homework was completed the day that it was assigned, and tests were taken without much thought or fear of repercussions. In my AP European History class in high school, for example, I remember coming home everyday, sometimes after […]

7658219802_47c3c12d9d_b

What to Eat or Drink in Class to Stay Awake and Focused

For many college students, the one thing we can’t seem to get enough of is sleep. Sleep deprivation leaves us groggy, with bags under our eyes, and probably reaching for a cup of coffee to keep us awake while attending lectures or studying for midterms. What can students do to stay focused in class and […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.21.54 AM

Implementing Meditation into your Life: How to do it and Why you should

As a college student, there are so many things to think about simultaneously: studying for tests, finishing essays, balancing hours for your work schedule, paying bills, thinking about what you’re going to eat for lunch, etc. With so much to balance, life can feel hectic or overwhelming at times, so wouldn’t it be nice to […]

Unknown-1

Taking Care of Your Mental Health in College: 3 Common Challenges

  College is often a wonderful experience for young men and women, providing a path to discover more about themselves and their desired field of education. However, this journey can also bring with it many rigors that may affect one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Poor mental health of students on college campuses has been on […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 10.23.32 PM

To judge or not to judge in mindfulness

By Lobsang Rapgay, PhD, research psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry UCLA Being non-judgmental is a defining feature of modern forms of mindfulness. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which is the most researched form, is the main draw for many to the practice of mindfulness. Part of the appeal is that many of us feel passionately […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 10.26.28 PM

Beauty Inside and Out: Female Body Image and Mental Health

  Every year, thousands of young women head off to college in pursuit of personal growth and higher education. However, this big change can alter the way women view their bodies and themselves. Studies show that college-aged females are particularly concerned with the way their bodies look, which consequently impacts the mental health of female […]

Mind Well Gives Students Tools to Address Their Mental Health

By Ross Szabo, Author Behind Happy Faces Every week I read new studies, reports, or articles letting us know what’s wrong with college students today. They’re stressed out more than ever. They’re not sleeping. They’re abusing prescription medications. They’re overweight. They’re depressed. The list goes on and on. In some ways it’s like society is normalizing these problems for students instead of giving […]

IMG_5906

Play Explores Mental Health and Friendship With Beloved TV Show as a Backdrop

By Gene Gillespie I get by with a little help from my friends – The Beatles Doesn’t everyone have that favorite book they can pick up and read a few pages, and feel the sensation of an old friend’s embrace? Or a song that helps them see hope when it feels like there is none? […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 6.36.02 PM

Putting Your Brain First: 5 Mental Health Student Organizations at UCLA

The beginning of another school year brings opportunities for students to get involved with new or different clubs and organizations on campus. UCLA is home to more than 1,000 student groups spanning a wide variety of topics from healthcare to soccer to fashion, so there’s a club for you on campus no matter your interests! If mental […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 6.52.39 PM

UCLA Health and Wellness Resources 101: A Guide for New Students

In addition to the Healthy Campus Initiative, there are many great health and wellness resources for students on UCLA’s campus. If you’re new to campus, use this list to familiarize yourself with the resources that can help you enjoy the best and healthiest college experience possible. UCLA Recreation — UCLA offers numerous places to workout […]

do it – procrastination concept

Tips to Fight Every College Student’s Worst Habit: Procrastination

  If you are a UCLA student, you are probably all too familiar with procrastination. In fact, you might even be procrastinating right now as you read this blog post! I am no different; I have lost count of how many times I have submitted assignments just an hour before they were due, telling myself […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.39.25 PM

The Health Benefits of Prosocial Behavior

Today, August 19th is World Humanitarian Day, which recognizes the aid workers who have lost their lives in order to provide humanitarian assistance to people around the world. In addition to recognizing humanitarians, it is important to celebrate the spirit of humanitarianism — and its health benefits. This article investigates the health benefits of engaging in […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.46.29 PM

The best mental health book that isn’t a mental health book

The best health and wellness book I have ever read is not one in the traditional sense. It is not written by a doctor, psychologist, or other professional claiming to know the answers to how to find peace within oneself. It is written by an ordinary person who faced several struggles in their life and […]

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.49.01 PM

Resilience in the Face of Tragedy

 What can we do to heal from the events at UCLA on June 1? Our student body and facultyare already stretching themselves thin as we close out the final days of the Spring term and head into finals week. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Waugh, and Chancellor Block have publicized the availability of help for […]

Sleep

Wake Up, College Students: Here’s The Science On Sleep

Sleep is something we all love, so why do we constantly put it last on our ever-lengthening list of priorities? You may have heard the sayings, “health is wealth” or “health is happiness.” Well, research has absolutely proven that sleep is key to health and happiness. More Sleep = Better Life Decisions Although pop culture […]

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 7.50.34 PM

Sleep Deprivation Is No Joke

By: Carolanne Link, UCLA Undergraduate Student Recently, I had one of those days where I prioritized homework above sleep. I was in my fourth straight hour of chemistry homework when I made myself laugh. How? Well, while doing an extensive calculation, I picked up my cellphone and started typing into that. I only realized my […]

baby-1151351_960_720

7 Strategies to Optimize Your Sleep Routine

Co-authored by David Baron, MD and the UCLA MindWell Team The results are in: One in three Americans does not get enough sleep. This is the latest finding in a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that asked almost half a million adult Americans how many hours of sleep, on […]

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 8.24.54 PM

Be on the Best Stressed List

By: David B. Baron, M.D. I’m having a particularly stressful week. So I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity to focus this column on one of the top three reasons people come to see a doctor: feeling  “stressed.” Well, if you are reading this article then you live in the real world and stress is […]

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 8.38.38 PM

The stranger within: Connecting with our future selves

By Cynthia Lee While we routinely make sacrifices for the people we feel closest to — our spouses, children and parents — and will even give money or our time to help complete strangers like the homeless, the one person whose plight we may actually ignore is our future self. “When people think of themselves […]

Did you see that story on the news last night?

By: Doug Barrera, Ph.D., Assistant Director, UCLA Center for Community Learning Ok then. Why don’t you tell me what you would do about immigration? No, really. Tell me what you would do to address immigration concerns in this country. Or, how about Israel and Palestine? What should we do about that? What about the student […]

“What is an artists’ book, exactly?”

By: Robert Gore,  Visual Arts Librarian and curator of the artists’ book collection in the UCLA Arts Library “There are no limits to what artists’ books can be and no rules for their   construction – and fortunately there is no end of their production in sight.” -Johanna Drucker, A Century of Artists’ Books (2004), […]

Toyogeki-Movie_Toyooka002

‘Cinemeducation’ – Mental Illness and the Movies

By: David Taylor, MD Would you agree that movies reflect society’s perceptions of mental illness?  Naturally there are many types of films and not every blockbuster, rom-com or documentary is going to have the same kinds of in-depth character development.  But in general, the portrayal of mental illness in film is often thought to reflect […]

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 9.28.56 PM

Turn Your Assumptions Around about Left Brain & Right Brain

About the Author: Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist investigating the development of intelligence and creativity. His latest book is Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. Follow on Twitter@sbkaufman. So yea, you know how the left brain is really realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is so darn creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, vivid, and poetic? No. Just no. […]

How do physicians get through the tough times?

By: Karen Miotto, Professor of Psychiatry in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. She is the chair of the Medical Staff Health Committee. Physicians sacrifice for the privilege of caring for others. Caring for people with difficult and often chronic illnesses can be a draining experience. Medical school and residency provide excellent training […]

Enlightened?—How can we all achieve well-roundedness and find contentment?

By Maxwell James In the last three years I’ve spent at UCLA, I now know the good and bad changes I have experienced have contributed to an overall image of how to be the best student and person I can be. But I always have struggled with the “how.” It seems near impossible to stay […]

WANTING

Do you want to win the lottery? Chances are, you answered Yes. Okay, so you’ve got the first part down. It’s a fact, focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want is key to improving mood and living a better life. But, where do you go from there…what about taking action… making […]

Use of Mindful Exercise to Promote Wellbeing

There is currently extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) — also known as integrative or mind-body medicine — in the United States to sustain well-being in both children and adolescents and in aging baby boomers. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines CAM therapies as “a group of diverse medical and […]

Picture This: Healing Trauma through Art

The creative arts therapies are uniquely effective in the treatment of trauma. Board certified art therapist Erica Curtis, a leader in the field of art therapy, offers reflections on the power of art therapy in addressing trauma. “It was like reaching into your insides and pulling them out”, “like a war zone”, “a downward spiral.” These words, from […]

The Balancing Brain: Finding Harmony and Awareness

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk  and book — “My Stroke of Insight” — offer vivid and intensely personal recollections of her life-threatening brain hemorrhage. Her stroke shifts a delicate balance of complementary forces in her brain, generating a dramatic upheaval in her sense of self and the world around her. How can we best understand […]