Mental health at SFU

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Emotional Health

Being aware of and attending to our pleasant and unpleasant emotions is important for our overall well-being. Take time to create and savour pleasant experiences, practice resilience and self-compassion, and find support as you need it to enhance your emotional health.

Create, experience, and savour pleasant emotions:

Savouring pleasant emotions helps us foster relationships, explore new experiences, expand our thought processes, buffer against negative emotions, and build resilience.

  • Allow yourself to process and feel both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. If you are experiencing an unpleasant emotion, try to name your emotions to help you express your feelings. If your unpleasant emotions persist, seek help to feel better.

  • Next time you have a pleasant experience, take the time to really savour and 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

  • Reflect on what stressors are in your life and identify what you are able to control/what you are not able to control

  • Take time to unplug from the digital world and allow yourself to recharge

  • Ask for support when you need it. There are many people and resources (i.e. friends, family, healers, practitioners, etc.) on or off campus that can help


Practice building your 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 set-backs that come with a new challenge and try to see them as opportunities 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

Practice 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 have more positive well-being and thrive more.

  • Be kind to yourself by taking time for something you love or reminding yourself of the positive things you’ve accomplished

  • Try a self-compassion guided meditation 

  • 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

  • Make space to acknowledge and address your emotions instead of ignoring them. Try to challenge thoughts that may be irrational or unhelpful



SFU Resources

Below find some on campus resources that are related to your emotional wellness. For a full listing of resources related to all aspects of your health and wellness view our list of resources

Health & Counselling Services (HCS): HCS offers a range of services offered by SFU to support your mental health and well-being

Building Resilience: Watch the 8 Ways to Build Resilience video series and follow along with the activities to build your resilience

Thriving in Graduate School: As a TA/TM, join the Thriving in Graduate School program to learn resilience skills for you and your students

Bouncing Forward: Work through Bouncing Forward, the free, evidence-based Canvas course developed for SFU students to enhance your resilience


Additional Resources

Below find some on campus resources that are related to your emotional wellness.

Here to Help: Visit this site to learn skills for handling stress, depression, emotions and body image, and for resources on all aspects of emotional well-being.

Canadian Mental Health Association: The CMHA promotes the mental health of all Canadians and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness.

Black Emotional Mental Health (BEAM): BEAM is committed to the emotional/mental health and healing of Black communities. Visit this website for journal prompts for wellness, information about emotional awareness, and videos about healing justice.

Support options: Explore this webpage outlining a range of support services for you to access

Self-Compassion: 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

Support your Mental Health: My SSP - Support your mental health through counsellors available 24/7 via app through text and call or Book an appointment to speak to a counsellor

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.