Mind Well
Promoting wellness of mind, brain and spirit, fostering creativity, and enhancing social connectedness throughout the UCLA community.

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More About Mind Well

The Mind Well program brings together and shares information about psychological, subjective and spiritual well-being, helping our community engage in experiences to promote fulfillment, creativity, personal relationships, and community engagement.

Mind Well Leadership 

Dr. Robert Bilder, PhD

Dr. Robert Bilder is a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, where he holds the Tennenbaum Family Endowed Chair in Creativity Research and is Chief of the Division of Medical Psychology – Neuropsychology in the Geffen School of Medicine and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital. Dr. Bilder has a long career researching links between brain and behavior, and directs UCLA’s Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity.



Artemisia Valeri, MindWell Coordinator

Artemisia graduated from New York University in 2015 with a degree in Applied Psychology and a minor in Italian. While at NYU, she worked as an advocate for girls in the juvenile justice system as part of a clinical research team using a strengths based promotion intervention model. Artemisia has also worked providing behavioral therapy to children with autism and in the nonprofit world promoting arts and wellbeing programming for youth.  Artemisia hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. "

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Mind Well at:

MindWell@ucla.edu

THE BLOG

By Aubrey Freitas

Photo of actor Will Block

The annual Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) celebration will take place this year on May 4th, an event that will commemorate the Initiative and all of the work it has accomplished this year, all things pertaining to health, and the opening of the new living amphitheater and garden in the Sunset Recreation Center on the hill. On this night, the amphitheater will host its first performance ever, put on by UCLA’s very own Theater, Film, and Television (TFT) department. The show will consist of fairies, interesting musical aspects, and lots of love as the actors bring to life Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I sat down with fourth year TFT student Will Block, who will be playing Oberon, the king of the fairies, at the celebration. As an English major myself, I can sit and talk about Shakespeare for hours on end, a trait that I noticed in Will as well, as passion and enthusiasm about literature, performances, and just life in general flowed throughout our conversation.

Some things to know about Will are that his favorite musical is Fiddler on the Roof and his favorite play of all time is Cyrano de Bergerac (I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading the synopsis, I had no idea what this play was about before meeting Will, but from word of mouth and my own readings I can see why he would want to watch as many performances of it as possible!) He credits the play with helping shape who he is. Instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, his mom would put on short, animated versions of Shakespeare’s plays, and because of this early exposure, Will is well-versed in the English playwright's tragedies and comedies. On top of all of that, he likes to sew, has an adoration towards cats, and shares a guilty pleasure of SpongeBob with his mom.

Will has performed in three versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the past seven years, and has had the opportunity to play a different character each time. I wanted to know what his favorite part of working on this show was, to which he responded “exploring a role that [he] originally didn’t think [he] fit, and being able to make [his] own stamp on the performance.” He also noted that it will be exciting to perform the show on a greater scale than they originally expected (thanks to the new amphitheater!), and that he was able to work closely with some of his best friends.

He described the upcoming performance as  “eclectic” and spoke it in such a positive tone. He seemed completely happy that the play was going to reflect a “hodgepodge of references.” The play itself is about three different stories combining with each other, reflecting themes of companionship, love, and crossing barriers.

Directing has become the main focus for Will, as of now, but he wants to continue to gain expertise, and make Shakespeare accessible to all. One of the subjects we talked about was how Shakespeare can be daunting for some to try and read or understand, because it has been given a sort of elite status in literature, but Will hopes to share the universality of Shakespeare with as many people as possible. Will described Shakespeare's literature as complex, that it “stretches the boundaries as much as possible,” and it’s important for us to experience the tightrope that he walked, because he risked a lot to create it. He believes that “what matters is that people relate to the stories [of Shakespeare]” and he hopes to assist people in doing just that.

Since HCI is collaborating with the TFT department, I asked Will what living well meant to him, to which he replied short and sweet, “doing what you want.” He claimed that early on in his career at UCLA he cared too much about what professors and peers said and thought, focusing on, “matching other people’s expectations instead of [his] own.” He encourages people to do what makes them happy and be less career focussed, because “life is just too damn short to be listening to what other people tell you,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. He also suggested that people never make any decisions based on fear, and wittily tacked on the Nancy Reagan quote, “Just say no,” to round out his advice on living well. Some words of advice he shared pertaining to difficult choices were, “I’ve learned that what scares me the most was the most worth my time.” A philosophy many of us can probably apply to our own lives when it comes to taking risks, because the ten seconds of courage are well worth the payoff.

Continuing with the HCI themed questions, I wanted to know how UCLA has helped him lead a healthy life or develop healthy habits, to which he humorously replied, “stairs have made my butt look great,” a statement which, I’m sure, runs through many students heads as they carry themselves up the several sets of steps on campus. On a more serious, and sentimental, note, Will said that UCLA has allowed him to make a lot of important friendships through his involvement in TFT and the Shakespeare Theater Company, and his work as a tour guide on campus. He also shared a few stories about some of the “ridiculous things” that lead to such a close bond, so maybe find him after the show and ask him about them yourself if you’re in need of a few good laughs.

The performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is going to be incredible, so save the date for May fourth in your calendars, and come celebrate the living amphitheater with us, as well as all of the work done by HCI in this past year, and the work of the Theater, Film, and Television department. Come watch Will tackle the role of Oberon, along with the rest of the cast as they bring a play that is 422 years old to life once again, here at UCLA . Tickets are free at UCLA’s Central Ticket Office or for $25 online (all proceeds benefit HCI’s Living Amphitheatre). Check out our Facebook event as well! Hope to see you all there!

Aubrey Freitas is an undergraduate student at UCLA double majoring in English Literature and Psychology with a minor in Italian. She is a blogger for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative in the Mind Well section, which focuses on the importance of mindfulness and mental health. Aubrey is the founder of the organization Warm Hearts to Warm Hands, which teaches the skill of knitting to people of the community in return for their donation of an article of clothing they create with the skill, to be given to local homeless shelters.


VIDEO
Addicted To The Answer -- Anxiety in the Age of Information | Sheva Rajaee | TEDxUCLA

Sheva knows the power of not knowing. Turns out, for centuries, we’ve done quite well not knowing, and actually thrived because of it. You all have phones near you, but can they help you answer the important questions, and how do we, in this digital age, work through what to know and what to wonder about. SHEVA RAJAEE, MFT, is a psychotherapist licensed in the State of California, and is currently working at the OCD Center of Los Angeles. Sheva specializes in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other related anxiety disorders. She attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for her undergraduate degree, and went on to receive her Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC). Sheva was trained in behavioral therapy at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and worked in the Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program serving children with Autism before moving on to do research at the UCLA Social Stigma and Social Interaction laboratory under Dr. Jenessa Shapiro. Sheva sees clients domestically and internationally in over 20 different countries.