Engage with Others

You are Not in This Alone

As human beings, people are social by nature. We value connection, engagement and a place where we feel we belong whether that’s through family, friends, classmates or colleagues, school or community organizations and the like.

Being part of a social network provides love, trust, positive role models, mentors, and offers encouragement, reassurance, and support - all of which build resilience. When you have caring support from others and the opportunity to share experiences and feelings you are better able to overcome adversity.

Here are some specific actions to try:

    1. Connect with others
    You don’t have to go through adversity alone. Make connections, reach out to other people, and enlist the help of those who care about you such as family members, friends, civic groups, and faith-based organizations. They can listen, encourage, and provide valuable feedback and support.

    2. Find a resilient role model or mentor
    Having a resilient role model can help instill the belief, “If they can overcome, so can I”. Mentors offer this and additional benefits that can help you overcome life’s challenges.

    3. Perform acts of kindness
    Simply, helping others helps us. When we perform good deeds towards others, we increase positive emotions. We most often feel happy that we contributed to another’s well-being and we get a sense of personal accomplishment and pride as well. 

    4. Remember boundaries
    While we connect with others during challenging times, it is also important to remember boundaries. Boundaries are the protective guidelines we set for ourselves. They help separate ourselves from others and protect us from becoming overwhelmed by taking on other people’s issues. Knowing when, where, and with whom to set limits and clearly communicating those limits is important.

    There is also a boundary between who you are as a person and what you may be temporarily feeling or experiencing in your life. Adversity may seem all encompassing, but it does not have to become a permanent part of your identity. Adversity does not make you weak; it makes you human. Remember, adversity is what is happening, not who you are.


    Ask Yourself:

    • Who can I contact who will listen, understand, and help me?
    • Who or what are my resources?
    • Am I protecting myself from negative people, places and things?
    • Am I separating who I am as a person from what I am experiencing? 


    Housing and Residence Life - Your resident assistant or community assistant, roommates and hall community are all good resources for support and connection in daily life.

    KEAP Center - The KEAP Center provides a safe space for diverse people to connect with others on a personal level and discuss topics such how race, gender, religion intermingle with identity, power, culture and more.

    Student Clubs & Organizations- From baseball to ballroom dance and Harry Potter to Habitat for Humanity, join a WSU Student club or organization to engage with others in social and community-based projects and fun.

    Downtown Winona - Take a short walk off campus to discover the many shops and restaurants in downtown Winona. Or meet a friend for a walk along the water at Lake Park or the levee.

    LiveWell Winona Volunteer Opportunities - Get active in your community and benefit yourself through service to others.

    Winona Park and Recreation - Winona Park and Rec offers activities and entertainment that get you out of the house all throughout the year.

    How to Make Friends - Not yet hit your social peak? Check out this article (with a grain of salt), for some tips on making great friends. 

    The Power of Empathy - Empathy is feeling with people. Learn the difference between sympathy and empathy to improve your personal connections with this video. 

    How to Help Others Live Well (PDF) - Learn the warning signs of a mental health condition and learn how to help a friend in need.

    Tour of WSU Kryzsko Commons - Check out this great overview of the many opportunities to engage in the "heart" of campus. 

    Assertive Bill of Rights Worksheet (PDF) - You have the freedom to stand up for yourself and be clear about your thoughts, feelings and needs. The trick is to be assertive while also being respectful to your listener.

    Conflict Resolution Worksheet (PDF) - There are right ways and wrong ways to resolve conflicts and this worksheet provides a strategy for managing difficult conversations.