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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Jaden, Flourish Stories. (AI edit) Credit: Andrew Brodhead


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Content Note

Flourish Stories may include discussions of struggles or language that may be distressing to you. As you read each student's story, we encourage you to prioritize your own emotional well-being. Take a break from reading or seek support if needed. Remember, it's OK to not be OK. 

At times I’ve found myself battling the fast-paced perfectionist kind of culture that I think a lot of students feel here. We are ambitious and we want to have an impact on the world. But slowing down is really important ... ”

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Jaden's Story

“I’m someone who has a kind of innate sense of compassion and empathy for others. So every day, I’m trying to be the best person I can be, and I think that plays a huge role in my mental health journey. I try to radiate positivity and love, so when I can’t do that, I know I’m not at my best. As an athlete and a student, I’m always trying to be the best I can be. So this has been a journey of me trying to understand myself and challenge myself to seek things outside of my comfort zone, because I know growth is on the other side. 

The Stanford community is a unique one, where everyone is operating on a very high level. At times I’ve found myself battling the fast-paced perfectionist kind of culture that I think a lot of students feel here. We are ambitious, and we want to have an impact on the world. But slowing down is really important. And something I’ve learned since coming here as a bright-eyed freshman wanting to take on the world is that understanding and prioritizing myself is so important to achieving my dreams and goals. I still struggle with the same voices in my head as I did then, but I think I’m starting to have a greater grasp of the importance of prioritizing my personal and spiritual self.

When I’m doing well, I tend to notice it most in my sleep. It’s a pretty good representation of how I’m doing mental health-wise, and it helps me manage stress levels throughout my day. I also have a journaling practice that kind of grounds me each night. I take a minute to reflect on my day, and it allows me to not just go through the day mindlessly.For me, a big challenge has been separating my identity from my sport and being an athlete from my identity as a Stanford student. I started wrestling because my dad and my uncle were wrestling coaches; my uncle was an Olympic silver medalist in 2004. They found a lot of success in the sport, and it allowed them both to go to college. Stanford — and wrestling at Stanford — has been my goal for as long as I can remember. And athletics has played a huge role in my life and has been a great way for me to get out of my mind and in tune with my body. 

Being a part of a team, a community, has been so influential in my life, but I don’t often talk with my teammates about mental health. It can be tough to bring up, especially in a sport like wrestling where you’re taught you have to be tough and there can be a lot of toxic masculinity. But I’m starting to see a shift, which I think is awesome. We have access to a team of sports psychologists, and my therapist has been tremendous for my mental health. I’ve learned through it that my value comes from who I am and not what I do, and that’s stuck with me.

I joined the Vice Provost for Student Affairs mental health and well-being communications team as an intern this year after reading The Flourish and being inspired by the articles and work the team was doing. I wanted to be a part of that and help have an impact on our campus.

I want people to know that mental health journeys are never over — they change as your life changes. Be flexible, hold compassion for yourself. Life is not an easy journey for anyone. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to try to make peace with my regrets and mistakes. And to just take a breath. Stanford culture and being a Stanford student has helped me achieve the outcomes I wanted, so I wouldn’t want to take away that part of my personality. I’m passionate. I work hard. But there are times when prioritizing yourself and taking a break will better serve you in getting the outcome you want. So breathe. relax. You’re doing OK.”

Additional Details About Jaden

  • Class of ’24
  • BA, Psychology
  • MA, Sociology
Littlefield garden, 2022. Credit: Andrew Brodhead

Mental Health Resources at Stanford

This website is your go-to hub for navigating the many mental health and well-being resources at Stanford. Whether you are seeking advice to establish your self-care routine, looking for ways to manage stress or mental health symptoms, tips to help a friend, someone supportive to talk to, or anything in between, you are not alone.

Professional staff and your peers are ready to support you, regardless of what point you are in your mental health and well-being journey.