Should I Try Group Counseling?

Group Counseling Is Less Terrifying Than It Sounds

It helped me find my worth.

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The first semester of my junior year began and I started to notice I could really have used someone to talk to outside of my friends. Someone to help me better understand my emotions and help keep me on a path towards success. I have always tried to make my mental health a priority, so I decided to go to my university's counseling center.

I was first paired with a one-on-one counselor. Of course, she helped me, but ultimately she decided it would probably be a great experience for me to give group counseling a try. I was skeptical and pretty much against it at first, but I put my skepticism aside and went through with it. I was scared that warming up to more than one person would be complicated because one-on-one counseling was hard enough. I was afraid that the people would be judgmental of my thoughts and emotions. It is none of that at all.

The first day of group counseling we were reminded that the area is to be a safe space and that each therapist in the room is bound by confidentiality. We were then asked to keep anything said in the group, in the group. That reminder seems cliche. However, everyone in the room lived by it, and I could tell that each person in that room with me was genuine and would never talk to others about me negatively. Each person in the room with me was in that room for pretty much the same reason as I was.

A common misconception about group counseling is that is is much like an AA class. Not at all, mainly because if you are in group counseling for something non-alcoholic related you won't be talking about the things they talk about in AA classes, and it is not a class. The group counseling I participated in did not have a strict agenda. My group mates and I were able to talk about whatever we wanted to each day. Usually, someone would bring something to the table and conversation would go from there.

The most impactful part of group counseling was the last day. We were asked to ahead of time write to each group member. We were to write a thing that could use improvement and an area of growth that we noticed within each person. Then, on the last day, we were to read what we wrote out loud to each member. Initially, this scared me. I take what people think of me to heart and I was really worried that this would make me regret going to group, but it didn't. The people in that room saw things in me that I never knew of. It was one of the most amazing feelings walking out of group counseling that day.

Something I was most afraid of was not being able to ever voice my opinion, but it wasn't that complicated. I was actually able to speak quite often. It seems intimidating going into things like this, and it's anxiety-inducing for sure, but it is worth it. The first few sessions were the hardest, of course, but with time I was able to warm up to everyone and understand the process. For those who are in one-on-one counseling and feel as if it alone is not enough, I definitely recommend trying out group counseling if possible.

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10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.
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We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

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8 Unconventional Ways To De-Stress We All Need

Moody isn't always the move.

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When the stress of finals hits a little too hard and Moody is no longer the move, I use these tricks as a way to stay positive and power through the semester!

1. Plan a Trip

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While it's not always financially feasible to travel all over the world, I've found that when I take 30-45 minutes to plan a 'bucket list' vacation, my stress levels almost always decrease. Granted, I'm a Type-A person so planning gives me extreme joy. I love to look up cheap flights on Google Flights for a date in the future and then plan a trip around it; I'll go onto TripAdvisor and find an ideal hotel, a list of things I want to do, and restaurants I want to eat at. Maybe the trip isn't happening YET, but who knows? At least you'll have it planned when you actually do get to visit that dream destination in the future!

2. Make a list of short-term and long-term goals

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Sometimes I need to feel like I'm being productive when I'm not actually being productive. A bit of an oxymoron, but nonetheless I love making both short term and long term to-do lists of sorts as a study break. This is super easy to do in those odd breaks in classes or even between studying for different classes! Just grab a piece of paper and write down what you want to get done for the rest of the day, week, year... The depth and extent of the list is truly up to you!

3. Online. Shopping.

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Online shopping is definitely a de-stress method for those that love fashion like me. So if you have to be dragged into the mall, this suggestion is probably not for you! I personally love visiting some of my favorite store websites (looking @ you Nordstrom) and looking at some of the new pieces and upcoming trends. Being able to be enveloped in something completely unrelated to what I'm studying for is much needed at times!

4. Go for a walk around campus/ town

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Sometimes I start to go 'stir crazy' if I've been sitting inside for too long! I love putting in some earbuds and going for a walk around campus if it's a pretty day, just to get a break from staring at a computer. And, okay yes, I usually treat myself to a coffee while I'm out (CG is the move if you're at Baylor)!

5. Get some friends together and make a treat of some sort

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Sometimes at the end of a long study day, my friends and I just want to do something low-key and fun. A lot of times my friends and I will go to the store and get a couple of ingredients to make a dessert together. These do not have to be elaborate. Some of the things my friends and I have baked this year include a cookie log, peep s'mores, and pre-made cookies. We're not exactly honing in on our culinary/baking skills, but it's fun to spend time together and have a yummy end result!

6. Make some tea, diffuse some essential oil, and do a face mask

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I absolutely love doing a 'self-care' night every once in a while. When I have a test I, along with many others I'm sure, can get super stressed and anxious! One thing that really helps calm me down is putting on a face mask, making myself some tea, and diffusing some essential oils. I use this time to read my Bible, catch up on a TV show, or just listen to music. As important as it is to prepare well for the test/final, it helps me so much to schedule in some "relaxation" time as well!

7. Use a journal either to reflect on the day or sketch

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I'm going to preface this by saying, I am not artsy at all. However, sometimes getting out a journal and sketching/doodling is a great way to de-stress in the midst of studying! I also really enjoy using a journal to write reflections/prayers/ quotes I love as a way to break up the studying as well.

8. Make a presentation on something you're excited about

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This is for all you fellow type-A personality, planners like me! One of my favorite ways to relax and reward myself after studying is to make a presentation (google slide presentation to be exact) of some events/places/plans I'm excited for. I've made presentations detailing what my friends and I will do in the summer, travel plans, and a study-abroad information presentation for my parents, amongst other things.

Hopefully, these ideas will help get y'all through the stress of the final exams/tests/quizzes to come. Though unconventional, these are just some of the ways I remind myself that there is ultimately more to life than school and studying!

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