Mindfulness, self compassion and resilience


We are generally more supportive of others than we are of ourselves. As veterinarians we have a care giver mentality but it often only applies to others. To thrive in veterinary school, extend that care giving and support to yourself.

Many vet students are perfectionists with little tolerance of (or experience with) failure. And failure is a great teacher.  Embrace your failures and learn from the clunks. Give yourself as much care and compassion as you would to a friend.

Mindfulness and self compassion have been shown to be protective of vet student wellbeing. You can build resilience (the ability to bounce back). Invest in yourself by putting your energies into these skills along with your suturing.

Furthermore, proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, and other mindfulness activities have been scientifically proven to moderate heart rate and increase oxygen in the bloodstream (Salomon, & Globerson, 1987). We also know there’s a direct correlation between oxygen to the brain, blood flow to the brain, and a person’s ability to have increased brain power for learning! (Medina, 2011).

Ask yourself

  • What advice would I give to a friend in the same situation?
  • Can I choose to be kind to myself if I make a mistake, misstep, or experience a failure?
  • Can I define what “good enough” means to me?


  • Why it is time for body positivity – Vet Candy
  • Medina, J. (2011). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school. ReadHowYouWant.com.

  • Salomon, G., & Globerson, T. (1987). Skill may not be enough: The role of mindfulness in learning and transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 11(6), 623-637.

People I Can Talk to:

  • Crisis hot line (for yourself or someone else): (612)-301-4673
  • Text “UMN” to 61222
  • Student Counseling Services: (612) 624-3323
  • Boynton Mental Health Clinic: (612) 624-1444
  • Dr. Erin Malone, 612-625-4762, malon001@umn.edu
  • Dr. Vesna Hampel-Kozar, hampe004@umn.edu, (612) 625-6630
  • Anyone in Academic and Student Affairs
  • GOALe mentor(s)
  • Any faculty you feel you can approach
  • Classmates, family and friends
  • Your physician, student health services and/or your spiritual advisor


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Well-being Handbook Copyright © 2019 by Erin Malone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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