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From time-to-time we all experience stress. Some of it is work-related: adjusting to a new research group, negotiating authorship, discussing career goals with a mentor, preparing for a thesis committee meeting, completing job or graduate/professional school applications, trying to balance work and personal life. Some stresses are the result of situations outside of work, but they can still affect work performance.

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) is committed to providing resources and activities to help trainees in the Intramural Research Program not only deal with stress but focus on overall wellness and feeling comfortable in their environment. Wellness can mean many things: finding a welcoming community; getting regular exercise and sleeping and eating well; meditating; focusing on self-care and developing resilience; or engaging with the larger NIH community. Please take a look at the activities listed below and take the time to participate in those that seem as if they might work for you.


OITE Workshops


Tune In & Take Care: Managing Stress and Promoting Wellbeing

This workshop discusses the impact of stress on both physical and mental health and presents strategies to enhance wellbeing. Participants will explore mindfulness, holistic self-care, resilience, and self-compassion as tools for creating and maintaining wellness in the midst of the challenges of daily life. (Offered quarterly; check the OITE website for upcoming dates)

Workshop: Becoming a Resilient Scientist  

Navigating new jobs, the career exploration process, and graduate/professional school applications can seem overwhelming and lead us to doubt ourselves just when we need confidence the most. This workshop will highlight the emotional intelligence competencies needed for success in research and healthcare careers. (Offered quarterly; check the OITE website for upcoming dates)

Meditation and Discussion Groups

Mindfulness Meditation Groups

Would you like to have at least one time a week that you could slow down and connect with yourself? This drop-in meditation group is being offered to trainees/fellows as a support for self-care and enhanced wellbeing as part of the OITE Wellness Program. Each 30-minute session will involve a few minutes of instruction followed by approximately 20-25 minutes of meditation practice. The facilitator will be available after the session for questions and brief discussions. This group is open to both beginners and experienced meditators; attendance can be on a drop-in basis - come as much as you like! Please arrive a few minutes prior to the start time (either 5:00 pm or noon) in order to check in and get settled for practice.

All trainees are welcome!

Where: Building 10, Room 4-3330, the NEW Graduate Student Lounge

Session 1: Every Thursday except for holidays, 5:00 to 5:30 pm
Facilitator: Michael Sheridan, MSW, PhD, Special Advisor for Diversity & Wellness Programs, OITE

Session 2: Every Tuesday except for holidays, noon to 12:30 pm
Facilitator: Julia Jarvis, MDIV, Wellness Advisor, OITE

How to find the Graduate Student Lounge.

Wellness Wednesdays

Sessions will cover specific aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self-care, with weekly topics announced in advance. One session each month will focus on individualized self-care assessments and self-care plans. Join us on Wednesday at noon in the OITE Conference Room (Building 2, Room 2W15). Feel free to bring your lunch; a microwave is available.

Resilience Groups

Resilience groups, organized for postbacs, grad students, and postdocs and facilitated by a trained wellness  counselor, offer a welcoming and confidential space to explore life's ups and downs and work in a positive and proactive way to build resilience. Check the OITE website for the week’s topic.

Monthly Wellness Events

Join the OITE once a month to celebrate the diversity and hard work of our intramural trainees. Past events have included ice cream socials, basketball free throw contests, popsicles, temporary tattoos, and opportunities to compare cultures. Events are listed on the OITE website. (No government funds are spent on food or tattoos.)

OITE Blog Posts on Wellness

Keep Stress From Derailing Your Work and Life
Investing in Yourself: Knowing When to Seek Counseling
Interview with Dr. Collins on Wellness
Cognitive Distortions Create Imposter Fears
Don’t Choke – Managing Stress Under Pressure
Handling Holiday Stress
Helpful Tips to Managing Stress and Anxiety In Interviews
Job Stress, Resilience and Support
PhD in Depression?

OITE Videos on Wellness

Resiliency in the Job Search
The Imposter Phenomenon: Overcoming the Fear That Haunts Your Success

Books in the OITE Library

Graham, L. (2013). Bouncing back: Rewiring your brain for maximum resilience and wellbeing
Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring happiness: The new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full catastrophe living: Using the body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness (2nded.)
Seligman, M. E. P. (1998). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life
The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, (2016) The Book of Joy
Thich Nhat Hanh, (2015)  Peace in Every Step
Germer, C. K. (2009). The mindful path to self-compassion: Freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions
Neff, K. (2015) Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
Brown, B. (2015) Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead
Hanson, R., (2018) Resilient: How to grow an unshakable core of calm, strength and happiness