Anxiety Management Workshop Held as Part of “Wellness Thursdays”
The very first workshop for anxiety management was held on Thursday, Feb. 8, creating a safe place for students to share their struggles and learn to cope with them.
Mental health is a taboo subject that is rarely discussed, leaving many people who fell victim feeling alone and helpless. The Personal Counseling Department is doing their part in encouraging conversations about mental health, with the hopes of decreasing the stigma that circles around it.
Anxiety Management is a part of a series of workshops, Wellness Thursdays, that was created to support and empower students in improving both their mental and physical health. Kristy Robinson, the Acting Director of Personal Counseling, and Jouberte Durandisse, a fellow WCC graduate turned social work intern, are responsible for facilitating the workshops with Durandisse taking the lead.
“The Personal Counseling Department has seen a major increase in students reaching out for services because of anxiety,” said Robinson. “We are constantly thinking about ways to better meet our students’ needs; this is just one step in that direction.”
The purpose of the workshops is to teach students coping strategies on dealing with anxiety effectively—activities are formulated so the workshop is not only a safe environment, but an enjoyable one.
All students are welcome to join the discussion groups with the understanding that confidentiality is imperative. Having these discussions and hearing others’ experiences can help recognize any relative feelings of distress and provide education on the misconstrued idea of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
When you hear the words “mental illness” or “disorder,” such topics generate negative connotations about the people who are medically or self-diagnosed. These issues, when brought up, are often followed by off-putting reactions such as judgement, shame, and a sufferer being perceived as weak and misunderstood. This is the kind of stigmatization that the Personal Counseling Department intend to help stray away from in our community.
Anxiety is known as your fight-or-flight response; alerting signals to prepare your body for stressful situations or internal conflicts. Everybody has experienced anxiety; some more than others, which depends on our body’s individual choice of defense mechanisms. It is important to know the difference between a normal experience and meet symptoms that impair daily life.
Symptoms of anxiety are classified in three groups; Physical, cognitive, and behavioral. Physical symptoms of anxiety include (but not limited to) butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension, and shortness of breath. In contrast, cognition is the thought process that occurs during anxiety, such as fear, confusion, and negative thoughts. Behavioral symptoms can also be seen through the commonly known disorder known as Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. All of these symptoms have been experienced and felt by everyone, whether the circumstances are mild or extreme.
Coping mechanisms can be as simple as eating a healthy diet, exercising daily, avoiding mind-altering substances (risk of heightening anxiety), and using relaxation techniques, for instance, guided meditation, which can be found online. However, often thrown under the bus is the possibility of reaching out and talking to someone.