CATEGORY / Emotional Care

ABCs to increase your Well-Being

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word well-being? Probably you associate it with feeling happy and carefree, with having good physical and mental health; and with having friends to share experiences with. Well, our well-being has to do with a series of variables that can determine it and that can help you feel better in your daily life.

Martin Seligman (2011), the precursor of positive psychology, defines well-being as a construct that depends on 5 dimensions: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Before explaining what each of these dimensions consists of, it is important for you to know that well-being is dynamic, which means that it can vary at different times in your life and that you can improve your perception of it with hard work.

Here are the 5 dimensions of well-being proposed by Seligman (2011) and we´ll give you different tools to work on each one of them.

Positive emotions: they allow us to feel pleasure and satisfaction in our daily life, whether at a physical, intellectual or psychological level. An example could be the feeling of being happy or content or the optimism and satisfaction with life.

  • Give yourself a daily treat: Every day, give yourself a treat that you usually don´t allow yourself to have. Write it on a post-it the night before and put it in a place where you can remember it.
  • Start a daily practice of mindfulness through activities that can help you be in the present (meditation, breathing, crafts, exercise... anything that helps you focus in the present moment).
  • Every night, be thankful for one or two things that went well for you during the day.

Engagement: is the ability that we have to achieve harmony in life in general or with the different activities that we do letting us concentrate and be immersed in them. When this happens, we forget for a moment about our surroundings, and time passes without realizing it. We also experience satisfaction while we do these activities and after we finish them.

  • Think of an activity that you have to do every day that you don't like. Now think about a strength that you have noticed or that you have been told you have. How can you use this strength to approach that daily activity?
  • Have you noticed activities where you feel like you are "flowing" while doing them? Put them on your calendar and in your daily routine.

Relationships: the relationships we have with others are very important to us, and can help us cope with difficulties as well as being a source of support and a source of valuable and positive experiences.

  • Intentionally and consciously be kind to the people around you.
  • Think of a person you used to be very close to and with whom you have not spoken recently. Call them and get back in touch.
  • Openly express gratitude to the people who are significant to you. Talk to them, write to them and communicate with them through the channel you like the best.
  • Intentionally allocate quality time to the people you love. The more frequent, the better.

Meaning: it has to do with the experience of belonging or serving something greater than oneself: humanity, the planet, nature, science, knowledge, the universe, the spirituality. It has to do with the meaning, not only of life in general terms but of every activity, every task, every conversation and every encounter.

  • Remember The Little Prince: "only with the heart can one see well; what is essential is invisible to the eye". What does this phrase say to you? Now identify what "the essential" is for you.
  • Imagine if grades disappeared at the University and it was decided that there would never again be numerical or alphabetical grades. What would drive you to study, to participate in class or to learn?
  • Think about what ideals you identify with: justice and equity, environmental sustainability, honesty and integrity? Define what actions in your daily life are consistent with your ideals.
  • Imagine that many years from now, 30 or 40 years from now, someone will be talking about you. What would you like them to say, how would you like to be described, what would you like to be remembered for? Write your own manifesto based on these questions.

Achievement: refers to having the experience of winning, achieving and attaining; regardless of the pleasure it generates or how transcendental it is for life. Specifically, the perception of achievement is experienced when we retrospectively evaluate the goals and objectives we have reached.

  • For one week, write down at least three things that went well during the day. It is important that you don't just think about them, writing them down will help you identify reasons to be proud of yourself.
  • Share your goals and objectives with people close to you and ask them to help you achieve them. For example, if you want to start exercising, ask a friend to go to the gym with you; or if you want to learn to play an instrument, ask your circle of friends where you can do it.
  • Train yourself in time management and organization skills. HERE you will find a list of workshops that will help you.

And finally, two general recommendations that will undoubtedly help you to increase your well-being:

1-) Take care of your body with balanced nutrition, physical activity, and sleep habits that allow you to have a good rest.

2-) Invest in experiences more than in objects. Give your partner a trip to a special place and invite your friends to a place they like, experiences give more happiness than material objects.


Seligman, M. (2011). What is Wellbeing. Flourish (19-44). Free Press.


Fuente: Comunicaciones - DECA de Estudiantes
Autoras: Jenny Caro y Ángela Patiño
Traducción: Laura Victoria Villamil

The Impact of Our Own Thoughts

Did you know that we maintain conversations with ourselves all the time? However, many of us don’t notice our own thoughts. For example, what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, the list of activities you have to do every day, or when you think about whether or not you want to go to a party, those thoughts are part of our internal dialogue, which can benefit us or exacerbate our problems. Distorted thoughts are those that do not seem to have any basis in reality, and make us feel sad, frustrated, or disappointed.

Next, we will give you examples of unhealthy thought patterns so that you can begin to identify them. In comparison to these thoughts, we will show you some alternatives.

Unhealthy Thought

Prejudices and labels about others and oneself: This way of thinking will not let you see people as they are but often are a reflection about how you feel about yourself: "He is a loser", "He is a bad human being", "he is an easy one.”

Mental filter: You start to see all the situations according to your emotion: When you are in love you see everything rosy, "I feel like I'm in the clouds."

All or nothing: You think as if there are only two options: “Everything is black or white, it either turns out perfectly or it is a total failure, we are either friends or enemies.”

Overgeneralization: You generalize from a negative or unpleasant event, you use ‘never’ and ‘always’ expressions: When performing badly on a test you say, "I will never graduate".

Self-Inflicted Guilt: It happens when you feel guilty about an event that is not in your control, "My parents separated because I didn't do enough for them to be together, this is my fault."

Mind-reading/Over-analyzing: You interpret a situation by making a assumptions about what the other person is feeling/thinking and what could happen: Your friend yawns when talking to you and you think "I'm boring them, what I'm saying doesn't interest them."

Expectations: You have high expectations for yourself, others and your environment: "I should be the perfect employee", "I should be the best boyfriend", "I should have the best grades."

Discounting the positive: You reject positive situations and experiences as if they were not worth it: You get a 4.3 and you say to yourself "it is not good enough" or "anyone could have gotten this grade."


Identify the feeling behind your prejudice and describe the behaviors rather than pigeonhole yourself or others, e.g. "I feel uncomfortable with how you act."

Acknowledge the bias you have and try to broaden your vision from the opposite extreme, e.g.: “This emotion that I am experiencing makes me feel very good, but it is necessary to be grounded and realistic.”

Allow yourself to identify the nuances of a situation to avoid only seeing the extremes, e.g. "The teacher is strict, but he knows a lot and teaches very well."

Change negative thoughts for realistic thoughts: e.g. "I lost some marks, but I have three more assignments to recover from that bad grade"


Recognize that, in many situations, there’s only so much you can do.  It’s important to remember that not everything that happens around you, depends on you. For example: “Even if it hurts, my parents have the freedom to separate if they decide to.”

Ask instead of making assumptions, e.g.: Your friend yawns while you talk, ask him if he is tired and if he prefers to talk at another time.


Value every moment, situation and person, including yourself. Often times we are doing the best we can, and that’s enough!


Highlight and value the positive of each situation, e.g.: "Although I expected a higher grade, I am happy because I learned a lot while studying.”


Yurita,C.L. y DiTomasso, R.A. (2005). Cognitive Distorsions. En A. Freeman, S.H. Felgoise, A.M. Nezu, C.M. Nezu, M.A. Reinecke (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Springer


Foto tomada de Freepik -
Autora: Paula Andrea Pineda O. - DECA de Estudiantes

Know the MAAD Protocol

Do you know where to go in case of abuse, harassment, threat, discrimination, sexual or gender violence?

The Superior Council of the Universidad de los Andes declared that it is “an institutional will and responsibility to prevent, punish and reject all forms of threats, harassment, bullying, mistreatment, discrimination against any member of the university community (…) this includes any practice of sexual harassment and violence ”(MAAD Protocol, p. 3). From this arises the need to create a protocol that guides institutional actions to confront and prevent the occurrence of behaviors of abuse, harassment, threat, discrimination, and sexual or gender violence.

The MAAD Protocol aims to define and guide institutional lines of action to prevent and address these situations. The Protocal outlines principles of confidentiality as well as how to care for others and yourself in these situations. In this way, different entities such as the Office of the Dean of Students, the Ombudsperson, the MAAD Committee, the Directorate of Human Management, the Committee on Work Coexistence, the student networks, the Legal Office and the Medical Center seek to guarantee the rights of the community. These entities at Uniandes work together to implement prevention and protection measures to ensure that there are no violations of these protocols. To understand these protocols further, you can go to the following link.

If you are a witness, victim, or are involved in a MAAD situation, you can go to the following units, where you will receive support from members of the community who will advise you on next steps:

  • Student DECA: supports and meets the (academic and personal) needs of the students. Additionally, it offers mental health first aid as well as mental health counseling for students. (Ext: 2230 or 2207; Hours of operation at the Casita Amarilla Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm, email:,
  • Ombudsperson: person who watches over the rights of community members and institutional norms. It offers spaces for conflict resolution and mediation (Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, ext.: 3932 or 3933).
  • Lineamaad: Receives, registers and addresses information on cases of abuse, harassment, threat, discrimination, sexual or gender violence (
  • PACA Student Network (Peer Accompaniment Against Harassment): PACA is a group of undergraduate and graduate students from different careers at the UniAndes that provides comprehensive advice and support to students who believe they are facing a MAAD situation (
  • MAAD Counselor: He is a teacher who can guide you in this type of situation. To consult the list of MAAD directors and have more information about the protocol, click here.

Organización Mundial de la Salud. Violencia contra la mujer: violencia de pareja y violencia sexual contra la mujer. Nota descriptiva N°. 239. Actualización de septiembre de 2011. Ginebra, Organización Mundial de la Salud, 2011.

Protocolo para casos de Maltrato, Acoso, Amenaza, Discriminación, Violencia Sexual o de Género (MAAD). Universidad de los Andes. (2019).


Foto tomada de Freepik -
Autora: Paula Andrea Pineda O. - DECA de Estudiantes

An S.O.S. for Our Emotions

The feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, and nervousness are all familiar to us.

Therefore, just as we do things to take care of our body, we can and must do simple things that will help us take care of our emotional and mental state:

Recognize and Accept Your Emotions

Even if we wanted to, there is no way to not feel or to get rid of our emotions. What if, instead, we focused on identifying our emotions and trying to understand why we feel certain emotions? It can help to write about the emotions we are experiencing and the situations that have generated them. It is also helpful to talk to a person you trust.

Ask for and Accept Help

QPerhaps your feelings and emotions are intense – they're taking the life out of you - and it may be affecting your sleep, eating cycle, or your academic performance. This is a good time to send out an S.O.S signal to those closest to you! Doing so is not a sign of weakness, and instead reveals your ability to find new ways to overcome difficulties.

Get Together with Others

It’s definitely scary and nerve-racking joining a community and hanging out with people you don’t know at all. It may seem like a bad dream that you can’t seem to escape, but don’t panic! Many people are in the same boat as you, and if you are willing and open, you may make some great connections with those around you. Who knows? You might meet your best friend!

Take Care of yourself and Practice Healthy Habits

You may have noticed that when you don't sleep well or stop eating you may be snappy and in. a bad mood. Well, it’s true! Something as simple as eating and resting properly can put you in a better mood and allow you to perform better in the day.

Practice A Sport

Now that you have a lot to do, you are adapting to the rhythm of the University and you literally feel like you don't have a minute left. At the end of the day, you’re left physically exhausted. Of course, amongst this chaos, the last thing you may be thinking of is to exercise. However, did you know that giving half an hour of your day for physical activity will compensate you with a good dose of energy and will improve your concentration, your memory and your mood?

Don’t Let the Stress Get to You

Let's not lie to ourselves, you are going to have weeks in which everything accumulates, and you start to feel the pressure and stress. And if that is coupled with personal or family issues, you may feel as if you can’t handle it anymore. Although it is not possible to avoid those moments of tension, it is worthwhile to use yoga/mindfulness strategies, relax by having a coffee with a friend, or enjoy yourself by going to a rumba or salsa class to manage the stress.


Scientific studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress, so ... meditate!

Be Grateful and Practice Self-Love

It is easy to focus on what went wrong and how we failed. Do you when you flunked a quiz? Or, that embarrassing moment in front of your friends that haunted you for days? However, it is possible to feel better if we change our focus from the negative moments in life to the positive ones. It helps to take five minutes a day to be thankful for the good things that happen to us in life!