The Importance of Adaptability

By Doa Jamal, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader

The world is always throwing us curveballs. Change is inevitable in life. Being able to accept  change and adapt accordingly is extremely important for our mental and emotional well-being. Adaptability is important in every aspect of both your personal and professional life. 

The definition of adaptability, according to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, is 1. “the capacity to make appropriate responses to changed or changing situations”. or 2. “the ability to modify or adjust one’s behavior in meeting different circumstances or different people”.

Benefits of Adaptability

  1. Your value in the workplace will increase
    1. One major criteria for employment is the ability of an individual to adapt. Being adaptable makes you more marketable and responsible than other candidates.
  2. Adaptability is a skill every leader must have
    1. Most people have some sort of leadership role whether at work, in school, in other organizations they’re a part of, or within their family. 
    2. Leaders are always confronted with (usually sudden) challenges that require them to be decisive in making changes. So being adaptable is necessary.
    3. Adaptable leaders earn the respect of others and motivate others to embrace change.
  3. Adaptability creates more happiness and overall life satisfaction
    1. Adaptability helps you be strong in a difficult situation. Once you assure yourself that you have all it takes to begin the change process within you, and you make that change, you will have higher self-esteem/self-efficacy and happiness for yourself.
    2. Being more adaptable can help with anxiety, because you will not worry as much about what the day holds for you. You know that whatever happens, you will make it through the day.

Do’s and Don’ts for Being Adaptable

  • DO challenge your brain
  • DO more than just follow
  • DO reach out for help
  • ——————————
  • DON’T be afraid of growth
  • DON’T be close-minded
  • DON’T let your ego get in the way
  • DON’T get stuck in your comfort zone

To wrap-up, here’s this helpful quote and reminder:

“Adaptability expands your capacity to handle change, no matter how serious it might be. Instead of throwing away your energy trying to change your circumstance, you will change yourself right from within, thus making you thrive in whatever situation you find yourself.”



How to Stay Healthy During a Busy Semester

By: Julia Yeadon, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-Being Leader

Whether you are an incoming freshman being introduced to a new environment, or a senior returning for your fourth year on campus after a long summer break, the beginning of the Fall semester can be one of the most difficult times. Adjusting to a new schedule at the beginning of each semester can be one of the most challenging things to navigate as a student. Oftentimes, it can be easy to let the craziness consume you, so much so that you forget the importance of self-care.

It’s important to remember that your mental and physical health are a top priority during these overwhelming and stressful times. How are you expected to thrive in classes when you are not feeling your best? While being a college student comes with many responsibilities, you must remind yourself that you are a person first.

I personally experienced this challenge recently as I began my senior year. After being accepted into a bachelor’s to master’s program here at UMass Lowell, I started taking my first few graduate-level courses while completing my final two semesters of my bachelor’s program. It has been an overwhelming first couple of weeks to say the least. Adjusting to the intensity and time commitment of graduate classes has been very stressful, and I can admit that I had forgotten the importance of putting aside time to care for my mental and physical health.

For those who find themselves in a similar position, I have constructed a list of 7 tips that will contribute to keeping your mind and body both happy and healthy throughout this semester. This highlights a few of the many ways you can improve your well-being. Keep in mind, some of these suggestions may not interest you upon reading. However, trying something new may lead you to discovering a new habit that positively impacts your daily life.

  1. Write it all down.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a college student is time management. Life pulls us in many directions. We have to balance being a student with maintaining friendships and relationships, family, extracurriculars, and work. With so many commitments, it can be difficult to remember when every assignment is due, when an exam is coming up, and when you have a family event to attend. To ease stress of deadlines and important dates, write it down. Hang a calendar in your room, use a digital calendar, a checklist, or a weekly calendar whiteboard. Managing your time is the most essential advice I can offer you, and it is the foundation for having the time to engage in the other tips that are listed below.

  1. Let yourself rest. You need it.

I am sure you have heard this a million times, but it is true. We need energy in order to be fully present in all of our time commitments. No, this does not mean filling your body with caffeine from a 24-hour energy drink to get you through studying for an exam the next day. While this may not always be possible to fit into our crazy schedules, try your best to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep leads to less productivity, which leads to procrastination, which then leads to more stress. In fact, sufficient sleep has been linked to higher levels of memory retention in several studies. So, pulling an all-nighter may not be the most beneficial way to pass that exam after all.

  1. Make time to exercise.

Exercising is one of the most efficient ways to reduce high cortisol (stress) levels. When people hear the word “exercise,” their minds often go to the idea of lifting weights in a gym or running on a treadmill, but this may not be for everyone. Exercising comes in many different forms: going for walks, playing basketball at the Campus Recreation Center, joining an Intramural or Club Team, riding a bike, going hiking, dancing, or doing yoga. The list goes on and on. Keeping your body healthy physically is fundamental to keeping your mind healthy.

  1. Make time to see friends.

It can be hard finding time to see friends during the week between classes, homework, studying, working, and attending to other responsibilities. Friends are another great source to relieving stress, increasing a sense of belonging and contributing to our happiness. Make it a tradition to meet up with friends at the dining hall for dinner, go to the library together to do homework, form an intramural team with a group of friends, or make some fun plans for the weekend to look forward to, such as going to a UMass Lowell hockey game or visiting Mill No. 5 in Lowell.

  1. Take a break from social media.

You hear your phone buzz from across your desk as you study and naturally find yourself reaching for it. It’s a Tik Tok notification. One thing leads to another, and you find two hours have passed scrolling through videos. We have all done it. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter – it all consumes us. Logging off for a couple of days will not only conserve a large portion of our time and allow us to focus but can also give us the opportunity to enjoy interacting with others in person. In addition, social media can contribute to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Try logging off for a couple of days and see how it improves your well-being.

  1. Try meditation and journaling.

Mental health challenges affect college-aged people more than any other age population. Managing your mental health and finding what methods work best for managing and preventing these challenges from impacting your daily life is critical. I have found short meditation videos on YouTube to be exceptionally effective in reducing stress and anxiety (Daily Calm videos are great!). You can even find a meditation playlist on Spotify to help yourself relax as you fall asleep. Another healthy way to maintain mental health is to journal. Write about your day, good and bad, or something you’ve been struggling with and how you plan to overcome it. Write one thing that you are proud of yourself for accomplishing or goals you hope to achieve in the future. If meditation or journaling does not appeal to you, there are countless other ways you can care for your mental health

  1. Do something every day that makes you happy.

Happiness is something we all need in our lives. Watch your favorite television show or a movie you’ve been wanting to see, go outside (if the New England weather allows), bake cookies, facetime your friend from home, join that club you’ve been interested in. Life is too short not to do what makes you happy. Managing your priorities to make time for doing things that make you happy will increase your motivation, reduce stress, and contribute to living a happy and healthy life.

I hope that at least one of these tips has caught your eye. If you find yourself struggling to attempt any of these suggestions, reach out to a Well-Being Leader on campus at We are eager to help students find ways to stay healthy along these eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, financial, spiritual, occupational, physical, environmental, social, and intellectual health. We are here for you!

If there is one thing you take from reading this, remember that you are a person before you are a student. Your mental and physical health take priority over anything else. Staying healthy throughout this semester will not only allow you to apply yourself to your fullest potential but will help you lead a healthy life.

How to Be Assertive and Fearless 

Give up the people pleasing and learn how to be more fearless to access your best life. 

By: Fahad Alden, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘Nice guys finish last.’ 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being kind and empathetic in the right situations, but if you’ve ever been taken advantage of as a result of your niceness, you’ll know that niceness can quickly become people-pleasing. 

And do you know what long-term people-pleasing can do? It can get in the way of achieving  the career, the relationship, the lifestyle, and the future that you want. 

 Let me ask you, how do you typically react when a friend or partner betrays you? Let’s say they flake on plans or make hurtful comments about your appearance,. What do you do when this happens? If you’re a people-pleaser, you might often feel the urge to be a bigger person and resort to silence instead of openly addressing the issue.

In this case, because you failed to act fearlessly, you didn’t improve your life. And you’re not alone in this behavior – 63% of American men say they go to great lengths to avoid conflict. But with 50% of people believing they’ve been overlooked for a promotion as a result of being ‘too nice,’ it’s not always the best thing.  

So, what’s the solution? 

The good news is that there are ways you can become more assertive and fearless and unlock the life you’ve always dreamt of. There’s no easy fix, though. You’ll have to adjust your behavior daily to unlock your true potential. 

Let’s dive into how. 

Use Assertive Body Language

Only 7% of communication is verbal. 

That means your body language and tone of voice dictate the rest of how you communicate with others. After all, they do say actions speak louder than words for a reason.

If your body language suggests you’re timid, anxious, or weak, you can kiss goodbye to that dream promotion or a date with the girl you like. Strong body language suggests inner strength, and that’s exactly what you want to present.

Your stance in the first place to start. 

For a dominant stance, hold your back straight and your head up high, with your shoulders and hips facing forward and your chest uncovered. Your arms should hang comfortably by your sides – having your hands clasped in front of you is a defensive posture. 

Talking with your hands is a great way to show openness and confidence and build rapport with others. Keep your palms open while you speak and move them around to emphasize important parts of speech.  

Getting the right handshake is another must. A strong dominant handshake is offered with the palm turned downward, so the other party has to turn theirs upward to meet it. The handshake should be firm (without being forceful) and give enough personal space so that the move doesn’t come across as too aggressive.

Have a Fearless Mindset

You’ll never come across as authentically fearless if you don’t feel it inside. You have to believe that you’re worth the treatment you deserve. Tell yourself that you deserve the job, the car, the partner, the family, and the career that you want. 

The more you believe it, the more others will start to. 

Learn When to Say ‘No’

Not wanting to let others down is understandable. But when you fail to say ‘no’ to anything for fear of conflict, you may start to become a pushover – and others will take advantage of that.

Remember, if you’re being asked to do something that would require you to give up too much of yourself, your time, or your money, set a boundary and say no. You’ll gain people’s respect, and you won’t be walked all over anymore. 

Question The System 

When we accept things for the way we are without pushback, we’re never working to our own agenda – only other people’s. If somebody around you is in a position of authority, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they always know the best way to do things. 

The coolest guys out there are prepared to stand up for what they believe in, even if it goes against the status quo.

In the workplace, for example, don’t always assume that because something has been done for a while means it is the right way of handling situations. If you have ideas that you think are better, voice them while being respectful to your colleagues and manager. Standing up for your ideas will get you noticed by all the right people. 

Forget Being Likable

Being likable doesn’t have to involve giving others everything they want at your expense. Instead, work on becoming an attractive, confident person who others want to be around for your company, not because they want somebody to take advantage of.  If you or people around you are just fake nice, that can oftentimes be manipulation. Right from the start, it hurts the value of genuine compliments or simple chats. You need to be able to push one another and create strong, valuable bonds. Because if one friend loses, everyone loses, but if one friend wins, everyone wins!

On the other hand, if someone’s being rude to you, focus on channeling calm assertive energy. This means be nice but with a firm and reassuring tone. Use phrases like “What is the main issue?” Or “Do we have a problem?”. Address the situation, and don’t let it pile on. At least you will stay true to your own being. Better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you are not.

Ask for Things

Do you know why that guy in your office recently had a pay rise, and you didn’t?

Because he asked for it. 

Half the time, we miss out on opportunities just because we fail to ask for what we want. 

You know that cool businessman you follow on Instagram and wish you could be just like? Why not drop him a message and ask if you can work as his intern or interview him for your podcast? 

That girl you think is cute on your commute to work – why not ask her if she wants to grab a coffee?

The fearless version of you recognizes that the worst that can happen is that people say no. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s really not so scary. 

A Fearless Approach – The Key to Unlocking Your Best Life

The truth is, all those things you’ve ever dreamed of are within your reach, and they don’t require you to change who you are to get them. All you need to change is your mindset. 

By becoming a more fearless and assertive person, you can keep all your interests and the personality traits that make you, you, but let go of the things that are holding you back. 

The time to start is now. 

Interested in finding out more about the path to your dream life? Read more of my blogs or come meet with me to discover how!

Financial Literacy- Fall 2022

In Fall 2022, our office hosted a series of three workshops about different aspects of financial literacy! We started in October with a financial aid workshop. We discussed how to navigate FAFSA and financial aid.

In November, our second workshop’s theme was how to Manage Money Masterfully. This budgeting workshop reviewed paychecks, credit reports, how to set financial goals, and how to set up a personal budget.

Our financial literacy series concluded with our December workshop on Investing in Your Future. UMass Lowell alum John Molvar discussed investing and financial wellness after college. Topics included credit cards, stocks, and other investments.

Love Thyself- 12/14/23

On Valentine’s Day 2023, our office partnered with the Association of Campus Events, Office of Multicultural Affairs, UMatter2, and the Rist Institute for Sustainability to host the Love Thyself Event!

With a different view on Valentine’s Day, our event focused on self love! Not only did this event promote emotional health with an emphasis on self-care, but many of the stations encouraged connectedness and community, promoting social health.

In the University Crossing Atrium, there were activities corresponding to each of the five love languages. Our office hosted a station to create your own vision board for Acts of Service.

Students were able to stuff a Valentine’s heart and spend some time coloring with ACE to represent Physical Touch and Quality Time respectively.

UMatter2 hosted a table with white boards for students to write positive Words of Affirmation.

The Rist Institute for Sustainability represented Gift-Giving with a bouquet making station.

In addition, OMA hosted another table for self-love for students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community.

Jennifer’s Run- 10/15/22

On October 15th, 2022, our office hosted the annual Jennifer’s Run. We value physical and social health and this event is a prime example of both physical exercise and coming together as a community.

Jennifer’s Run is a 5K to commemorate Jennifer D’Amour, an extraordinary student-athlete, student leader, and staff member in the Office of Student Activities & Leadership who tragically lost her life in a car accident in 1999. The run also helps support scholarships for the Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

The 5k began at the Campus Recreation Center, ran through campus, and ended back at the CRC. Runners received a swag bad, a medal, t-shirt, and a shoe wallet for their participation.

Summary of Health Educational Intervention:

Ella Zhu

Office of Student Life and Well-Being

Summary of Health Educational Intervention <You Are Healthy, And Beautiful>


Project Overview

           <You Can Be Healthy, And Beautiful> is designed to provide all undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Massachusetts Lowell with the behavior change, skills, knowledge, and resources they need to reduce obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Massachusetts is a state that focuses on education and offers many high-quality jobs. In this state with a strong humanistic culture, people are busy with studying and work every day, which shortens the time for exercise and saves time for meals by eating unhealthy fast food. Some people focus on their studies and careers, but they are careless of their health. Obesity rates are rising in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts (County Health Ranking, 2022). This educational-based program will address risk factors and equip our students with healthy behaviors that will reduce their risk of obesity and prevent long-term health complications. 

Project Background

           Obesity is an epidemic that has put strains on American families, affecting overall health, health care costs, productivity, and military readiness. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women (Faruque, S et al, 2019). For adults, the healthy BMI range is from 18.5 to 24.9, regardless of age or gender, and anything over this means you are considered overweight for your height (Zierle, 2021). For adults, overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25, and obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30 (WHO, 2022). In the United States, the average adult man has a BMI of 26.6 and the average adult woman has a BMI of 26.5 (CDC, 2022). Over the five years to 2022, 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including obesity (IBISWorld, 2022). The United States ranks 12th in the world for obesity (World Population Review, 2022). It has become a serious problem in the country. Obesity is defined as a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. (Mayo Clinic, Obesity 2021). It is a serious health complication because it is associated with worse health conditions, poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life. It is also associated with the leading causes of death in the United States (CDC, Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences 2021).

               At a state level, Massachusetts has more than half of the adults being diagnosed with overweight or obesity. Obesity in Massachusetts is a concern. Both Blacks and Hispanics in the state are more likely than whites and Asian to be both overweight and obese. The obesity rate of Black people in Massachusetts is 34.7%, Hispanic is 32.6%, White is 24.0%. Whereas Asians are the least likely to be overweight or obese, which has a rate of 10.2% (America’s Health Ranking, 2021). The causes for obesity are a combination of individual factors such as genetics, eating habits, physical activity, income and environment, education, and food marketing (Mayo Clinic, Obesity 2021). Eating habits and Insufficient physical activities are the biggest causes of obesity for American college students (NICHD, 2022). Students gain weight when they eat more calories than they burn through activity. This imbalance is the greatest contributor to weight gain.

Problem Statement

           Emerging adulthood is a crucial phase for health, it is frequently paired with a shift towards unhealthy eating behaviors and physical inactivity, which in turn will lead to obesity or some negative health complications. Obesity is generally caused by eating unhealthy food and moving too little, also some social factors such as poverty (Fruh et al, 2017). Lasting unhealth-related behaviors are adopted and is a time when there is an increased risk for unhealthy weight gain, or it could contribute to the development of obesity and other life-threatening health conditions (Cawley et al 2021). College students are more vulnerable to adapting unhealthy behaviors due to the transition of an independent, self-reliant lifestyle (Frush et al, 2017). The phase of  young adulthood may be a critical developmental window for establishing weight gain prevention efforts, especially to increase the prevalence of obesity in the US. Obesity not only harms the body, it also increases anxiety and money consumption in young adults. Understanding healthy eating behavior and appropriate physical behavior during young adulthood will achieve a better life. Understanding of the modifiable factors which lead to obesity in this transitional life stage is important and essential  for the rest of lives. <You Can Be Healthy, and Beautiful > would be a  tailored intervention. 

Population Statement

         <You can be Healthy, and Beautiful> education program will focus on the population of all majors students in the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Lowell is a city alongside Cambridge, it is one of two traditional seats of Middlesex County. This year, the adult obesity rate in Middlesex County is 23%, and the physical inactivity rate is 22% (County Health Ranking, 2022). Compared to the 22% adult obesity rate and 19% physical inactivity rate in 2020, in the same geological area, it has an increase in both rates (County Health Ranking, 2020).  Another reason to focus on the Umass Lowell students is, poverty is a risk factor for obesity. The Income inequality in Middlesex County is 4.9% (County Health Ranking, 2022). Households in Lowell have a median annual income of $62,196, which is much less than the median annual income of $84,385 in the state of Massachusetts (United States Census Bureau, 2020). Lowell is home to two institutions of higher education. UMass Lowell, part of the University of Massachusetts system, has three campuses in the city. Middlesex Community College’s two campuses are in Lowell. This city has a strong humanities vibe and is affected by rich culture. Public Health workers have the responsibility to guide Lowell’s students in a healthy living track, encouraging the young people to stay away from obesity. Therefore, it is necessary to promote an obesity educational intervention that focuses on the population of Umass Lowell students.


Faruque, S., Tong, J., Lacmanovic, V., Agbonghae, C., Minaya, D. M., & Czaja, K. (2019). The Dose Makes the Poison: Sugar and Obesity in the United States – a Review. Polish journal of food and nutrition sciences, 69(3), 219–233.

Fruh S. M. (2017). Obesity: Risk factors, complications, and strategies for sustainable long-term weight management. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(S1), S3–S14.

Cawley, J., Biener, A., Meyerhoefer, C., Ding, Y., Zvenyach, T., Smolarz, B. G., & Ramasamy, A. (2021). Direct medical costs of obesity in the United States and the most populous states. Journal of managed care & specialty pharmacy, 27(3), 354–366.

Massachusetts. Massachusetts – Place Explorer – Data Commons. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2022, from

Wellness Wednesdays – Serenity Center

Gimp Making – Feb 1 

Students got to channel their inner childhood by making gimp. They got to pick their favorite colors and relearn all the fun gimp designs. Soft, warm pretzels were served, and students came together to make gimp and enjoy each other’s company.  

Journaling – Feb 8 

Students were able to journal to get connected to their inner selves in this workshop by creating their own journals. It was a very relaxing night for students to distress from early semester worries.  

Knitting – Feb 15 

We invited students to learn an easy intro to knitting design and create their own knit projects. Students came together to learn and help one another with knitting.  

Coloring – Feb 22 

Students joined us for quiet coloring with relaxing music. We had yummy snacks while students got to color in a coloring book, enjoying one another’s company.  

DIY Aromatherapy – March 1 

We hosted a DIY aromatherapy night. Students got to create their own aromatherapy blend with various essential oils. They got to create DIY roll ons to rub onto their wrists between four blends: sleep blend, happiness blend, focus blend, & calm blend. 

Meditation – March 15 

We hosted meditation sessions every 20 minutes for students to drop by and join in. It was a very successful event as students came to distress from the mid semester point and were able to channel their mind and body in a relaxing way. Students also looked over affirmation cards and wrote their own on sticky notes to hang up.  

Therapy Dogs – March 22 

Sookie, a therapy dog, came to visit the Serenity Center for this Wellness Wednesday. Over 50 students came by to relax and enjoy time with the dog. We provided fun bone shaped cookies for students to enjoy.  

Mindful Movement – March 29 

Students were able to practice gentle yoga poses that they can incorporate into their everyday routine.  

Sensory Event – April 5 

This event was created for Disability Inclusion Week. We hosted a sensory friendly night where we made bracelets and enjoyed some tea with soothing music. We had different textured food including popcorn, goldfish, Oreos, chocolate chips marshmallows, and raisins for students to enjoy.   

Mindful Eating – April 19 

Students joined us and our campus dietitian to learn to be more mindful when eating to appreciate the nourishment food provides.  
Gratitude Circle – April 26 

Students wrapped up the year with us in a circle of gratitude to help focus on the positives from this year. It was a great way to finish the semester of strong and allowed students to enjoy one’s company before the stress of finals.  

Mind/Body Fair – 12/13/22 

The Mind/Body Fair was a collaborative event hosted at University Crossing on reading day. We had reiki, nutrition consultants, smoothie bowls, essential oils, and more. The fair engaged students to interact with other peers and work their minds and bodies through various self-care activities. Students got to make their own roll-on essential oils from four blends, make Christmas tree ornaments with elements of nature with the Office of Sustainability, write affirmations on balls for the Serenity Center, and got to play with therapy dogs! Over 60 students attended and one student left the event saying “this improved my mental health.” We can’t wait to host this event again!

Propagation Station – 9/22/22 

This event was a collaboration with Office of Sustainability in the University Crossing Lobby. Students were able to actively improve their health by propagating their own health promoting plants. Students practiced environmental wellness and learned about how they can improve air quality in their rooms with the different plants that the Office of Sustainability hand-picked for this event. We were able to build community by creating over 100 plants out of 5- and the line was out the door!