By Miranda Massie on October 23, 2018
How do you like to Thrive?
It’s nearly Thrive Week at UBC and I’m excited! An award-winning and nationally-recognized initiative, Thrive invites the UBC community to explore diverse and unique paths to mental health.
While there are many relevant ways to foster and maintain good mental health, research consistently points to five actions that can help.
We call these the Thrive 5:
1. Thrive by moving regularly: Moving regularly can help you manage stress and feel more positive.
2. Thrive by resting up: Spending time without screens before bed can help you sleep better and feel more rested.
3. Thrive by eating to feel nourished: Adding more veggies to your diet boosts the health of your mind and body.
4. Thrive by giving back: Helping others and giving back can give you a sense of purpose and connection.
5. Thrive by saying hi: Checking in regularly with family, friends and colleagues builds supportive relationships.
These five actions seem intuitive and simple enough, but in practice, they can seem like daunting tasks. I know that exercise, fruits and veggies, a full night’s sleep and social time are good for my health. But sometimes, all I have energy for is takeout and the couch, which leaves me feeling guilty or disappointed about my inaction.
What I’ve realised is that another critical part of my mental health is understanding my limitations and being self-compassionate. If we learn how to cut ourselves some slack, perhaps it will create the space needed to use the Thrive 5 more effectively.
This month, while I encourage you to use the Thrive 5 as ways to explore mental health, I also encourage you to listen to your needs. If all you feel like doing is going home and zoning out in front of the TV or going to sleep, do it. Enjoy the mental rest, forgive yourself and move on. There is always tomorrow.
And if tomorrow you’re looking for ideas to help you explore your own path to mental health, check out the Thrive Calendar for a range of engaging and diverse events, activities and experiences. Happy Thrive Week!
All my best,
Photo credit: Student Communications and UBC Thrive
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Miranda Massie | Tagged connection, eating, giving back, healthy diet, helping others, movement, physical activity, resilience, rest, sleep, social connection, thrive, Thrive 5, Thrive week | 1 Response
By Miranda Massie on October 1, 2013
Whether at the UBC campus or across the Lower Mainland, being a member of any large community can be isolating. It can be difficult to establish connections with others while balancing our daily responsibilities; however, these connections are an integral component of our social health. Being socially healthy is just as important to our overall wellbeing as exercising or eating right. However, this idea of social health is definitely more abstract than knowing to eat 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
After doing some reading, I have narrowed the list down to one tangible thing that we can do to foster social connections, and in turn, bolster our wellbeing: give back through volunteering.
One way to combat feelings of isolation or loneliness is to get involved with an organization that gives back to others. Volunteering not only serves as a way to expand our social network, but it lets us to spend time with people who have similar interests.
The Health Benefits of Volunteerism
• Volunteering positively impacts our psychological wellbeing as it can help us feel better about ourselves.
• Volunteering provides opportunity for meeting new people in new settings, which results in positive mental health effects.
• Helping others is a self-validating experience: knowing we can make a difference in the world can serve as protection against depression.
• Community participation through volunteering has been shown to boost self confidence and self-esteem
• Giving back to the community through volunteering can reduce feelings of alienation and lead to greater feelings of social responsibility.
The benefits do not stop there, nor are they limited to individuals. According to the United Nations, “volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation”
As Canadians, we seem to be headed in the right direction when it comes to our social health. In 2010, 47% of Canadians 15 years and older were involved in volunteer work. Statistics also show that people who are involved in community activities as children are more likely to become involved in volunteering and service organizations as adults. This provides a great motivation for involving our children and family members in our volunteer activities.
Visit the Go Volunteer site to find listings of opportunities in your area, or start now by participating in the My Health My Community Survey project.
Jones, F. (2000). “Community involvement: the influence of early experience.” Canadian Social Trends. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 11-008. No. 57.
Miller, K. D., & Schleien, S. J., Rider, C., Hall, C. , Roche, M., and Worsley, J. (2002) Inclusive Volunteering: Benefits to Participants and Community. Therapeutic Recreation Journal. Vol. 36, No. 3, 247-259.
Piliavin, Jane Allyn, & Siegl, Erica. (Dec., 2007). Health Benefits of Volunteering in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 48, No. 4 pp. 450-464.
Wilson, John. (2000). Volunteering. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 26, pp. 215-240.