We want you to thrive rather than just survive your time at Mac.  In your time here, you’ll experience amazing triumphs and successes, but you’re also likely to face challenges.  These challenges will be impacted by your identities and lived experiences. The resources below will equip you with practices and skills to help you face your life at Mac with resilience. Ready to thrive? 


“We’re All in This Together” Resilience Challenge

The challenge provides 8 unique research-based resilience practices developed by the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. These practices aim to help us improve our social and emotional well-being – particularly needed during this pandemic. The beauty of these practices is they are small, digestible ways to create your own building blocks to resilience and well-being.

All of us are coping with different burdens, one not more significant than another, but also not the same. We acknowledge those in our community who are carrying more direct grief, instability, and fear, AND that we all need these practices to sustain us through.

Practice #8:  Compassion
Compassion Defined: Dana Suttles, Hamre Center Mental Health Counselor, introduces Compassion.

Practice: Loving-Kindness Meditation -This meditation helps to strengthen feelings of kindness and connection towards others. Research suggests that when people practice this meditation regularly, they start automatically reacting more positively to others—and their social interactions and close relationships become more satisfying.

Other ways to experience: Listen to The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 47: Can you Humanize a Zombie? or Episode 33: Trying Compassion on Capitol Hill; or read through these tips on how to cultivate compassion.

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #7:  Empathy
Empathy Defined: Don DeBoer, Hamre Center Assistant Director of Counseling, introduces Empathy. 

Practice: Shared Identity – This practice can help encourage generosity by reminding us to see the basic humanity that we all share. This can help us overcome fear and distrust and help build cooperation.

Other ways to experience: Watch this popular video from Brené Brown on the difference between empathy and sympathy; Listen to The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 57: Why Shared Goals Can Bridge Divides; or read this short piece on how to cultivate empathy

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #6:  Resilience to Stress
Resilience to Stress Defined: Ellen Giere, Hamre Center Nurse Practitioner, introduces Resilience to Stress.

Practice: Walking Meditation -this practice helps you turn your walk into a mindful, meditative practice. Research suggests that mindfulness can not only reduce stress but also increase our experience of positive emotions.

Other ways to experience: Here is a great website with tools for boosting resilience during this current crisis; read this short piece with real-time resilience strategies for coping during COVID-19; here are 5 science-backed strategies to build resilience; or listen to Hidden Brain Podcast The Power and Problem of Grit

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #5:  Gratitude
Gratitude Defined: Nyaluak Dak-Douth, Hamre Center Medical Assistant, introduces Gratitude. 

Practice: Three Good Things – By remembering and listing three positive things that happened in your day—and considering what caused them—you tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It’s a habit that can change the emotional tone of your life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude—which may be why this practice is associated with significant increases in happiness.

Other ways to experience: Try out this online, shareable gratitude journal for another way to reflect, Listen to The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 7: How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain or Episode 10: Is There Someone You Need to Thank?

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #4:  Optimism
Optimism Defined: Lysa Pascale, Hamre Center Receptionist introduces Optimism.

Practice: Find Silver Linings – This writing activity gets you in the habit of recognizing positive aspects of your life and seeing the upside to challenging situations rather than fixating on the downsides. With repeated practice, you may find that it comes more naturally to look on the bright side.

Other ways to experience: This article gives guidance on how to prime your mind for optimism; Listen to The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 49: How to Find Your Silver Linings or Episode 31: Notice the Good in Your Life.

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #3: Connection
Connection Defined: Brian Bradway, Hamre Center Physician Assistant, introduces Connection.

Practice: Gratitude Letter – This exercise encourages you to reach out (through snail mail) and connect with someone for whom you are grateful. The letter affirms positive things in your life, opens up new and deeper lines of communication, and could make the recipient’s day!

Other ways to experience: Try the Nod app which has science-backed ways to grow and maintain your relationships during this COVID-19 crisis, The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 62: Staying Close While Physical Distancing; The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 42: Who Helps You Feel Connected?

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #2:  Self-Compassion
Self Compassion Defined: Liz Schneider-Bateman, Hamre Center Director of Counseling introduces Self-Compassion. 

Practice: Self-Compassion Break – a gentle guided practice in taking a few minutes to connect with yourself and offer yourself compassion. You can use this reflective practice anytime to help you cope with a stressful situation.

Other ways to experience: Read more about the transformative effects of self-compassion, and try some guided self-compassion meditations and exercises.

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).

Practice #1:  Awe
Awe Defined: Lisa Broek, Hamre Center Director of Health Promotion introduces Awe.

Practice:   Awe walk – Utilizing breath-work and focused attention, this walk (that you can do anywhere) will help you to tune out distractions and tune into nature and yourself.

Other ways to experience: Awe video created by Gabi Rivera, ‘17, The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 5:  Walk Outside with Inside Out’s Pete Docter;  The Science of Happiness Podcast Episode 35:  Finding Awe in Every Step

Connect with the Hamre Center: use this Google form to connect with us about your experience with this practice. Submissions may be posted on our Instagram (@macalesterhwc).


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Color Me Calm

Experience the benefits of putting coloring pencil to paper to channel stress into a satisfying experience. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Leonard Center Wellness Lounge


Aromatherapy

Experience the benefits of smell, memory, physical response, and mood.  Create your own small essential oil from a variety of options.  Essential oils have been thought to help with relief from anxiety and/or depression, relaxation and sleep, as well as pain management.   By interacting with the nervous system, difference smells can cause different responses in the body.

Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Leonard Center Wellness Lounge

Urgent vs. Important: Prioritizing Your Time

Wondering how to tackle your to-do list?  Our new Urgent vs. Important video helps you manage your time and determine your priorities.  The accompanying matrix allows you to work on you.


Voices of Loneliness

Surrounded by classmates and hall mates, but feeling lonely? You are not alone.  Most Mac students say they experience loneliness. In fact, in our recent health survey, 85% said they felt very lonely during the past 12 months. Our Voices of Loneliness video highlights real experiences and real feelings of real Mac students. Knowing you are not the only one who is feeling this way may be a first step in reaching out to others.


Self-Care To-Go

Just as it sounds, we are on the go with quick tips for self-care.  You may find us in a classroom building, near Shaw Field, or in front of the Campus Center.  Think of this as your grab-and-go resilience break of the day. Be on the lookout for the health promotion student staff sharing  swag and dropping some self-care knowledge.


Sunny Days

Cloudy weather got you down? Natural sunlight is a free mood booster. The brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin on sunny days than on darker days.  Give your mood a lift in these ways:

  • Borrow a Macalester Happy Light. Visit the Library Service Desk or talk to a Librarian at the Circulation Desk to check out a Happy Light.  The light from the box mimics natural sunlight that stimulates the brain to make serotonin and reduces excess melatonin.
  • Go to the campus Sunny Spots Map – vetted by your fellow students.

Wellness Lounge

The Wellness Lounge is a great place to visit during during evening open hours.  You can just relax, hang out, color, or breathe in the relaxing essential oils. Or you can pick up information and products related to your health.

Wellness Lounge resources include:

  • Sexual health products – condoms, dental dams, internal condom, lube
  • Healthy sleep products
  • Off-campus resource information
  • Decaffeinated tea

Spring Semester Hours:

Mondays and Wednesdays:  7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Tuesdays and Thursdays:  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm