Mask On/Mood Up static graphic
February 03, 2021

Mask On/Mood Up movement promotes mental well-being every time someone puts on a mask

The Ohio State University leads campaign designed to reduce stress and boost mood

The Ohio State University’s Office of the Chief Wellness Officer, College of Nursing and Office of Student Life today launched a new campaign designed to encourage Ohioans to take simple steps to reduce their stress and improve their mood every time they put on a mask.

The Mask On/Mood Up movement asks people to perform three brief, evidence-based tactics that research shows can bring calm to someone who is experiencing stress:

  • Deep abdominal breaths using the 5-7-8 method (inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 7, exhale for a count of 8)
  • Being kind to yourself through self-affirmation (say a self-affirmation out loud 10 times such as “I am calm,” “I’ve got this,” “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”)
  • Being kind to others through gratitude (name someone you are grateful for and why, then send a message to that person expressing your gratitude)

“Stress, anxiety and depression have spiked exponentially since COVID-19 came into our lives. We are introducing Mask On/Mood Up because we need to remind ourselves that we have the power and ability to use simple, evidence-based strategies to reduce stress and improve our mood,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State. “Findings from research support that these tactics work to improve our physical and mental health by slowing heart rate and decreasing blood pressure, as well as releasing chemicals in the brain such as serotonin that help us to feel better emotionally.”

“Our students face so many challenging issues that cause great stress, and the pandemic has heightened this,” said Melissa Shivers, PhD, senior vice president for student life at Ohio State. “The Mask On/Mood Up movement emphasizes kindness and gratitude as one way to respond in a stressful situation, and community members should always seek additional help when they need it.”

Resources and more information about the Mask On/Mood Up movement and its benefits, including an impact evaluation to share how these evidence-based tactics are helping you, can be found at


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