Eve Sicurella is student at GCU and a wonderful addition to the Holistic Health program. She will be doing blogs and presentations through out the year for the GCU Wellness Program. I hope you enjoy her blog post about her visit to the counseling center at GCU.
Several weeks ago an e-mail via The Angel Network arrived in my mailbox about workshops being held on stress, anxiety and phobias. I’m married for 28 years and when I turned 50, decided to finish my degree. I sometimes experience anxiety brought on by stressors related to my living in overcrowded (and expensive)New Jersey. The stress increases as I wonder how to make time for a relationship with my husband while going to school and running my own business. The stress escalates as I wonder how to pay off my student loans at this time in my life. (Does any of that juggling act sound familiar to you?) Even though I’ve put together a support network that keeps me from being a frequent passenger on the crazy train, I was nonetheless intrigued by this workshop. Although I couldn’t attend because of scheduling conflicts, I decided to get over to theGCUCounselingCenter(which sponsored the workshops) and see what was happening there.
GCU CC is located on the second floor of the Casino. Upon walking through large wooden doors, it was as if I’d just entered a sanctuary and that anything I brought there would be safe. I was greeted by Stephanie, an intern genuinely helpful in answering my questions who then referred me to John Viterito (a counselor) to talk further.
I learned that GCU CC not only provides a caring, supportive atmosphere for those individuals with “healthy” distress (such as the incompatible roommate or the pressure of meeting many deadlines) but for those dealing with the more weighty difficulties of depression or addiction. I was glad to know there was help for the vast diversity of situations that could walk through those doors. There are two counselors, a psychologist, and a pre-doctoral intern on staff to counsel students as well as a referral network for help off campus. The GCU CC sponsors workshops/groups ranging from GRAD (Get Rid of Anxiety Discussion) and “Wanna Talk About It” (topics vary depending on attendee choice) to special events such as the one for 9/11.
The experience of stress tends to be intensely subjective and can result in a sense of isolation when feeling overwhelmed by feelings or thoughts not understood. If we don’t understand, we tend to think that others won’t understand so we suffer quietly (or perhaps not so quietly depending on the personality). What can be helpful is building a support network.
Building a support network will help you become more objective about your perception of what’s happening in your life. A support network can include sharing what is going on with someone you trust. It can also include finding ways to quiet your mind so a more objective picture of your responses will arise. Some of those ways for me are writing, meditation, and physical activity (gardening, walking, bike-riding). The key is to find that which produces the best results for you. This will likely be a trial and error process which is well worth the effort because you will come to know that you are capable of taking responsibility for how you perceive the world. Having options instills you with a sense of your own power and ability.
I’d encourage you to begin the journey of exploring what it is that helps you to manage stress and anxiety. It will be a precious asset to you as you move through one world (GCU) to the next. If you need help taking that first step, you can reach out to GCU CC at 732-987-2680 or post on this blog sponsored by the Holistic Health program – there are some effective techniques and ways of managing your life that you can find out about here. Remember, there are supportive, caring people all around you who have been on this journey and who are willing to walk with you until you are strong enough to walk on your own.