The Kinder Mind
The Kinder Mind Project is a campaign based on the fact that compassion—for ourselves and others—is a huge deal when it comes to mental health. The goal is to give people the tools that will help them be nicer to themselves and feel more connected to others, so they can live their most awesome lives.
A Healthy Minds Network survey conducted in the fall of 2020 found that almost half of college students were struggling with depression and/or anxiety. I count myself in this number. College students were already prone to mental health issues before the pandemic, but COVID-19, the tense political environment, and other issues in recent times are stressors that have made mental health issues among college students all the more common. I know, from personal experience and observation of those close to me, just how much anxiety and depression can hinder a person from achieving their goals and living a healthy life.
One factor that can make depression worse is a lack of self-compassion. Research has found that people who are self-critical and hard on themselves are less resilient and at a greater risk for depression and stress. I have certainly found that I have bad habits such as expecting myself to be perfect at everything I attempt, ignoring positive feedback, and using a negative critical voice in my self-talk. These habits have exacerbated my depressed state and made it harder for me to feel motivated and get through my day-to-day. I created The Kinder Mind Project to focus on cultivating self-compassion through activities, reflections (journaling), and meditations. The activities are particularly important, as I want to help people develop real-world habits that will help them to maintain health and well-being when it might otherwise be difficult to motivate oneself to do so.
In addition to self-compassion, The Kinder Mind Project incorporates activities that will help cultivate compassion for others, as this can help people to feel more connected to others and have better relationships: also important components of good mental health. Users of the app will be able to keep track of their habits and set self-care reminders, as well as follow along with guided meditation tracks and respond to short reflection prompts on relevant topics. The moderated community function allows users to share their activities in the app and give or receive support. Beyond the app, a daily prompt calendar lets people take a break from screens, but continue to reflect on themes of compassion while expressing their creativity. A website separate from the app provides more information on compassion, promotes the app and journal, and invites visitors to share a “compassion pledge” on social media.
Overall The Kinder Mind Project intends to be a mental health and self-care resource that truly stands out from others as it is rooted in principles of compassion and based on research of this specific concept. My campaign will spread useful information as well as provide tools to help people achieve better mental health outcomes and improve their lives.