On Wednesday, the Baylor Counseling Center kicked off its “Hope, Peace, Love Week” with events ranging from a talk on ‘Finding Mr. Right’ to a free showing of the Disney film “Inside Out”.
With this week, the counseling center hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage students to talk about their health and to take care of themselves by increasing visibility and conversation.
One event the counseling center held Wednesday was a screening of “Inside Out” in the Bill Daniel Student Center. They provided popcorn and gave away prizes as an incentive for students to take a break from their busy day to focus on their mental health.
“Mental health will catch up to you,” said Dr. Emma Wood, the staff psychologist and coordinator of outreach said. “Taking two minutes out of your day to take care of yourself will go a long way.”
One of the events held specifically dealt with the idea of anxiety and the college student. “Understanding Anxiety: The No.1 College Student Mental Health Concern” was held on Thursday, Peace Day, at 3:30 p.m. in the Baylor Sciences Building.
Dr. Jim Marsh, director of counseling services, led the presentation, beginning with what anxiety is and why anxiety gets a hold of people. He acknowledged that control is most often the key theme with anxiety and most people who experience anxiety have trouble connecting with their sense of vulnerability.
“I wanted to be informed,” said Corona, Calif., senior Anthony Gasso. “I wanted to learn a little bit more about anxiety and the symptoms.”
Marsh said there are three different models that help explain the different forms of anxiety. The first is the cognitive model that typically results from negative or illogical thoughts. Marsh said the key to resolving this type of anxiety is by changing the way one thinks.
“For people with social anxiety for example, a common denominator is the thought or fear that I am going to do something to embarrass myself,” Marsh said. “Part of what to do is to help people evaluate those thoughts and change the way they think about things.”
The second model is the behavioral model. In this model avoidance of the issue is the cause of the anxiety. In return, exposure to the problem is the cure.
“Actually learning how to do the thing that makes us anxious is the cure for that anxiety,” Marsh said.
The third model is the hidden emotion model and, Marsh said niceness is the cause of the anxiety. The key to facilitating recovery is to bring the hidden emotion to awareness.
“Nice people are usually anxious and it can be for some different reasons,” Marsh said. “They want to please everyone and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so they tend to sweep a lot under the rug. Part of the treatment is to bring that out and talk about it.”
The presentation concluded with Marsh discussing the different forms of anxiety and the fears and symptoms that come along with them. He shared that the key to anxiety resolution is realizing the triggers and being able to face the monster itself.
Even though anxiety is the number 1 mental health concern college students are facing today, there are tools and resources available to combat it, including the counseling center.
“Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life,” said Houston senior Sarah White. “Talking to someone you trust is the first step on the road to conquering it.”
Wood said mental health is extremely relevant to Baylor students and is not talked about enough.
“A college campus is the perfect storm for mental health problems,” Wood said. “Students are afraid to talk about mental health and that just feeds the stigma.”
Today, Wood will show students how important two minutes are by running a chocolate meditation kissing booth at the Love Day Carnival in the Baylor Sciences Building atrium from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wood will teach students to meditate for two minutes while eating a Hershey Kisses.
Wood believes phrases like “The weather is so bipolar,” and “That’s crazy,” contribute to the misunderstanding of mental illness.
In addition to the chocolate meditation, the Love Day Carnival will have an adult coloring book station to help reduce stress. A No Ring by Spring Toss valentine’s for a friend cards and “Speed Friending” to help promote healthy relationships. There will also be a temporary tattoo station with encouraging phrases such as, “Be yourself,” and “Just breathe.”
The Wellness Center is sponsoring a Love the Run You’re With 5k at 5:30 p.m. today. The 5k will start and finish at the bridge behind the BSB and loop through campus.
“Love the Run You’re With celebrates happy, healthy relationships with your significant other, friends, family members, mentors and everyone in your life,” said Meg Patterson, director of wellness.