Reece Bullock, a first-year student in the College of Pharmacy, contributed the following article as one of the educational initiatives sponsored by the NEOMED’s Student Wellness Committee as part of their peer-support series on the eight dimensions of wellness. The eight dimensions that this student-and-staff committee supports are emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness.
The concept of eight dimensions of wellness comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a U.S. government agency.
As we adjust to another semester of classes full of essential and enlightening material, we also realize the stress associated with our intense workload. Stress can be detrimental to our physical and emotional health as it wreaks havoc on almost every part of our well-being. It narrows our ability to think clearly and function effectively, two key characteristics of a great health care professional. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress, but activities such as journaling, or keeping a daily diary, can significantly increase your mood and relax your mind.
Setting time aside as often as you need to take a moment, pause and reflect on your journey to where you are today is a great tool to decrease stress and practice mindfulness. I like to use a specific journal (pictured) to help me reflect on my day every night before bed, but even jotting down your thoughts on a napkin can be just as beneficial. This journal was gifted to me by my aunt at the start of my education here at NEOMED and I look forward to using it throughout my academic career as a pharmacy student!
When journaling for the day, I typically reflect on things such as:
- Overall mood (happy, motivated, scared, worrisome, etc. -- what caused you to feel that way?)
- Highs and lows of each day (where did things go right/wrong today?)
- Affirmations to maintain a positive mindset
- Gratitudes and appreciations (take time to act on these thoughts and thank your loved ones for their support!)
- Goals for tomorrow and beyond!
So, Walking Whales, as you continue your education preparing for a lifetime of taking care of others, remember to take care of yourself! NEOMED’s Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services offers a Meditation Room, located in the Quiet Area (L238), equipped with a massage chair and quiet surroundings to help you relax. This could be a great place for you to begin your mindfulness journaling journey!