NOV 2020 |

In this issue:

  • 2020 Pushups for Vets
  • Daily Gratitude
  • Houston Happenings
  • McGovernCares Donation Drive
  • MS4 Advice
  • SPOTlight
  • TAO
  • Thankful for Taste Buds
  • Thinking Thankful, Giving Gratitude
  • Thrive at UT
  • Wellness Warriors
The Well is a monthly newsletter that serves to
positively impact the well-being of the McGovern student community
by highlighting a myriad of wellness-related content.
Click here to share your thoughts on The Well!
Thinking Thankful, Giving Gratitude
Welcome back to The Well’s November issue! When reflecting on this month’s theme, we kept coming back to the concepts of thankfulness and gratitude. Realizing the importance of each of these in our daily lives, we wanted to celebrate their similarities and appreciate their differences. 

While the two are undeniably intertwined, the difference comes in how you practice each – while thankfulness is a feeling, gratitude is an action. Acts of gratitude often stem from the feelings of thankfulness and the desire to share these feelings of thanks with the community. While thankfulness comes with the feelings of calm and peace we feel in certain moments, gratitude requires us to, “…stay alert to the role of others in our lives. The best news? Both of these can be cultivated to become a center-point in our daily lives. Thankfulness can stem from resetting your mind to truly notice the positive emotions you feel and to harness them to grow an optimistic outlook of life. Meditation, yoga, and other reflective events have been shown to promote these feelings.

Then, you can use these skills towards acts of gratitude – check out our Daily Gratitude article to learn more. In this issue, we include feature articles capturing both sentiments, with gratitude highlighted in our MS4 Advice column and Service Opportunities and thankfulness seen in our Houston Happenings and Thankful for Taste Buds articles.
2020 Pushups
for Vets
Join us in saluting veterans by participating in our 5th annual pushups for veterans challenge - virtually, of course! Stay tuned for details. Check out past highlights!
Daily Gratitude
While taking the time to intentionally reflect on what we are grateful for may seem daunting, science says we should incorporate it into our daily lives! Research shows that people who regularly wrote down what they’re grateful for actually reported a greater sense of wellbeing. Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami conducted a study with one group journaling weekly positives, another weekly negatives, and a third neutral weekly happenings. Not only did the positive group report higher satisfaction with their lives, they also visited the doctor less and exercised more! The benefits were psychological, physical, and social. If daily or weekly writing is too tall of a task, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that writing and delivering a thank you letter to someone who had profoundly affected his patients’ lives led to a remarkable increase in life satisfaction, with the effects lasting for over a month. Incorporating gratitude into relationships actually makes couples more comfortable communicating relationship concerns, and “thank yous” from bosses leads to increased employee productivity. Consider starting a New Year’s Resolution a little early this year, and aim to write down at least 3 things you were grateful for each week and prepare to feel great!
SPOTlight | Volunteering
Volunteering is an impactful way to show gratitude. Here are some volunteering opportunities around Houston during November. For a more comprehensive, list check out Volunteer Houston!

  • NOV 4 | Good with cameras? A volunteer photographer is needed for the Houston ToolBank Fall Fundraiser
  • NOV 5 | Want to help Houston families struggling to keep food on the table? Volunteers needed for a COVID 19 Disaster Food Distribution
  • NOV 4, 11, 18, or 25 | Have construction/gardening skills or willing to learn? Volunteers needed to help rejuvenate the Redbud Hill Homestead


MS4 Advice
Gratitude. A word that carries so much peace within itself. Yet, while facing the ups and downs of everyday life, gratitude may feel forced and even uncomfortable initially. There is so much to be thankful for - where do we begin? In the air that we breathe? The clothes that we wear? We can. We can also begin where we are missing it the most. There are times when it may feel as if gratitude is delayed. When school gets particularly difficult and overwhelming, I struggle to find my gratitude. And that’s ok. Sometimes it is easier to dwell in the stress. However, we have to look for a glimpse of gratitude, during those moments. For me that is putting on my favorite show after a busy day of work or swinging onto my yoga mat for a quick vinyasana. I would feel thankful that I could make time for myself. And slowly I would let the gratitude flow into whatever else that gave me comfort – whether it was having a roof over my shoulder or having home-cooked meals or even having family and friends I get to spend my time with.

| Keziah Thomas, MS4
Thankful for Taste Buds
While you’re revamping your daily thankfulness practice, don’t forget to spread some love to your taste buds! Below are some store-bought and homemade goodies that will keep you thankful all fall long. 
  • Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew | The colder cousin of the #PSL is perfect for Fall in Houston
  • Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato | It has a brown sugar swirl and real chunks of pie
  • Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies | Sugar. Spice. Just one won’t suffice.


NOVEMBER 2, 2020
Wellness Warriors

The Advocacy Subcommittee has been pushing for LGBTQ+-informed initiatives, and UTHealth answered our call! The UTHealth Pride Committee is working on two brand-new initiatives on pronouns and bathrooms at our institution. The first initiative is to better incorporate the use of pronouns at UTHealth, such as on Canvas, in email signatures, and with formal announcements and other administrative measures. The second initiative is to make known the locations of gender-inclusive single-use bathrooms at the different UTHealth buildings, including MSB. There will also be work done to change the signage on existing single-use bathrooms in buildings like UTPB to ensure that they are all designated as gender-inclusive. If you are interested in staying in the loop with either of these projects, reach out to Seena Ounsinegad!
Houston Happenings

Are conflicts or concerns causing you undue stress? Don’t forget about UTHealth’s newly created position: the Office of the Academic Ombuds. Robin Dickey, PhD, MA, LPC, is available as a listener, mediator, and coach for all members of our UTHealth family. Make an appointment today!
TAO | Therapy Assistance Online
The Student Health and Counseling Clinic is excited to announce a new wellness tool available to all students, faculty, and staff at UTH. TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) is an interactive, self-guided, web-based program that consists of tools and educational materials to help you learn about and change how you think and feel. 
Thrive at UT
Thrive at UT is a free app designed to enhance UT student well-being and help busy students live their best life. Thrive helps you make small changes in your routine that have powerful long-term impacts.
Brought to you by the McGovern Student Wellness & Resilience Committee
Newsletter Staff: Lauren Beal, Michelle Chen, Jay Garza, Sarah Linson,
Pooja Prasad, Nina Quirk, Jordan Shive, Ayana Taylor, Ashley Tom, Tori Waters
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