Mental health at SFU

Your time at SFU is important -- that's why we're here to provide support when you need it, where you need it.

Access counselling 24/7, explore our support options, or learn more about your well-being: all in one place.

Emotional Health

Keeping all emotions in balance is important for our overall well-being. Create and savour positive experiences, practice resilience and self-compassion, and find support as you need it.

Emotions

Creating, experiencing, and savouring positive emotions can help you maintain good mental health. Positive emotions help us foster relationships, explore new experiences, expand our thought processes, buffer against negative emotions, and build resilience.

  • Next time you have a positive experience, take the time to really enjoy it. Let yourself notice and enjoy the experience for a few moments
  • Create a bliss list of things that make you feel happy. Try to experience as many of these as possible in the next week
  • Write down three good things that happen every day. You will start to rewire your brain to pay more attention to the good things in your life
  • Did you know that your physical environment impacts your mood, as well as your cognitive performance? Choose a study spot with natural light, good air circulation, comfortable furniture, and exposure to natural elements
  • If you find yourself in a worry cycle, try exploring the steps in the RAIN exercise:
    • Recognize what’s going on: Observe your thoughts and try to label what you are feeling 
    • Allowing, taking a pause: Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Allow the experience to be there - just as is - even if it’s unpleasant 
    • Investigate with kindness: With curiosity, openness and non-judgement, try to inquire about what is coming up for you
    • Natural awareness: Understanding that any limiting emotions, sensations, or stories are not identified with who we are
  • Explore ways to enhance your emotional intelligence
  • Support for your mental health: 

Resilience

Resilience is our ability to adapt well to adverse circumstances. Challenges, disappointments, failures, and loss are unavoidable aspects of life, so building our resilience to respond well to these experiences is an important way to maintain well-being.

  • Next time you experience a failure or a set-back, try to remember that it is a normal experience and is an opportunity for growth and development
  • Seek out new challenges and take risks. Embrace the struggle and failings that come with a new challenge and start seeing them as necessary for growth and learning
  • When you receive criticism, listen to it and find the learning within it
  • Try focusing on the process of learning rather than its outcome
  • Explore support options—this webpage outlines a range of support services for you to access including the My SSP app
  • Work through Bouncing Forward, the free, evidence-based Canvas course developed for SFU students to enhance your resilience
  • Watch the 8 Ways to Build Resilience video series and follow along with the activities to build your resilience
  • As a TA/TM, join the Thriving in Graduate School program to learn resilience skills for you and your students

Self-compassion

Self-compassion is extending compassion to yourself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. A large body of research shows that self-compassionate individuals suffer less and thrive more.

  • Be kind to yourself by taking time for something you love or reminding yourself of the positive things you’ve accomplished
  • Have a look for a self-compassion guided meditation online
  • Take a moment to think about how you would approach a friend or loved one if they were struggling and treat yourself with the same kindness
  • Read about how to enhance emotional wellness and be linked with useful resources both on- and off-campus
  • Make space to acknowledge and address your emotions instead of ignoring them. Try to challenge thoughts that may be irrational or unhelpful
  • Practice compassion and kindness towards yourself and others. It is okay to take time to focus on supporting your mental and emotional well-being. You can use tools and exercises to help you, such as self-compassion journals

Faculty and staff

Are you looking to promote emotional health in your classroom or workplace? Everyone at SFU can help create a healthy campus community. Learn how you can support emotional health as a teacher or administrator below.