August 28, 2020

Key attitudes, actions can help students maintain well-being, professor says

As students adjust to being on campus, a Purdue nursing professor is encouraging ways to find harmony and peace while living and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These times are difficult for all of us, especially students in universities who are struggling with multiple priorities and career goals. They are surrounded by multiple stressors, including uncertain transition, changing guidelines, new ways of learning, personal and social connections and changing nature of our relationships,” said Nasreen Lalani, an assistant professor in Purdue’s School of Nursing. “There is a considerable need to pay close attention toward maintaining our own self-efficacy and well-being.”

The well-being tips for students fall in line with Steps to Leaps, which is a campuswide initiative geared toward bolstering student success. It is also a key element of the Provost’s Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education. The five pillars — or content areas — for Steps to Leaps are Well-Being, Leadership and Professional Development, Impact, Networks, and Grit.

Lalani, who studies areas of aging, family caregiving, spirituality, palliative care, nursing empowerment, resilience, and mental health provides tips to maintain harmony and stay positive while making the most of student learning:

Keeping a positive attitude improves your well-being. First and foremost is for students to maintain a positive attitude. “Remember that every adversity is a road to multiple opportunities, and you are the one who can make the most out of all the opportunities ahead,” Lalani says.

Students should focus on goals and not get distracted by multiple priorities or responsibilities. If they feel stressed, talking to friends, peers, faculty advisors and counselors is important.

Showing a sense of gratitude makes you happier. Gratitude helps people to connect to something larger, to other people, nature, or a higher power. “Express your gratitude in multiple ways, such as reminiscing on good times or memories and being thankful for past blessings, enjoying the present, and being hopeful and optimistic about the future. Be appreciative of yourself and others,” she says.

Some ways of expressing gratitude are writing a thank you note, keeping a gratitude journal or a jar, praying, and meditating.

Engaging in self-reflective practices. Reflective practices promote self-awareness and reflections over a person’s own strengths and weaknesses. Reflective practices can be journaling or using art, film, music, or drama to express feelings and emotions. “These activities enhance emotional intelligence, improve self-efficacy, develop creative thinking skills, encourage active engagement in the work processes, and eventually may guide us on new paths of growth and success,” Lalani says.

Finding your own niche. It’s important for students to find their own niche, passion and interest to channel energy and efforts in the right direction. Students should take time to learn about themselves, and using their imaginations provides powerful ways to discover their niche. “Our own interests and passions keep our goals alive, help us fight any negativity, and motivate us to move forward in life,” she says.

Connecting oneself with nature. Daily life is full of blaring sounds, loud voices, and other chaotic events and incidents. Connecting with nature not only helps one find peace and happiness in a busy life, but also improves creativity, productivity, and overall well-being. “Try to take some time out from your busy life for activities that connect you with nature – such as walking barefoot on the grass, looking at the sky, moon-gazing, gardening, walking near the lake, swimming, and other water activities.”

Writer, media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates
Source: Nasreen Lalani, lalanin@purdue.edu


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