Stress-handling tips shared at workshop

By Jessica Strange/reporter

Managing fear, anxiety, depression and despair as a student was the topic of a recent workshop on NE Campus.

The NE counseling department hosted “Pizza with a Purpose: Purposeful Positivity, Mind Over Mood” April 18 to give students tools to manage these emotions.

NE counselor Masika Smith spoke about ways to identify emotions and how to recognize feelings.

She shared this important skill with students because being able to clearly understand emotions and identify negative or positive thoughts can affect a student’s well-being.

“When you’re feeling happy, are you really feeling happy or are you feeling content? Or are you feeling powerful?” Smith asked. “It’s really important to recognize exactly how you’re feeling.”

NE testing center associate Janjura Williams recently earned her masters degree in marriage and family therapy. She spoke about mindfulness and its impact on a student’s mood.

“It takes about 10 minutes for mindfulness to take effect over the body,” Williams said. “You sit for 10 minutes evaluating your thoughts, evaluating where you are and evaluating where you want to go.”

She shared techniques used to help change mood. Some of these techniques included meditation, psychoeducation, accountability partners and doctor-approved medication.

NE student Zane Hixon spoke candidly about her own struggles with depression and anxiety.

“I was pretty much born anxious,” she said.

Hixon was diagnosed with depression at 11, started talk therapy at 13 and antidepressants at 16. It wasn’t until she utilized self-help tools in addition to therapy and medication that she felt she was effectively managing her mental health.

“I wasn’t working,” she said. “I wasn’t actively trying to learn about and use tools to manage how I felt.”

She said she’s found a lot of help using positive self-talk and a new app called Youper, an AI assistant for emotional help. She uses the app to help work through her thoughts and identify emotions. Hixon also has an Instagram account where she shares her journey and motivates others.

Attendees asked questions at the end about their own personal struggles. Smith, Williams and Hixon took turns answering students on how to tackle their problems.