June 24, 2019
Paris Gramann, a Drexel University student, mental health activist and founder of Just Be Books, has a mission – to start conversations about mental health at an early age. Her startup aims to help parents and teachers address mental health with children through an empowerment kit consisting of a story book, downloadable information and apple plushies that each depict different emotions to assist children in learning how to understand and express emotions.
Since it is never too early or too late to practice healthy strategies, we asked Gramann for her advice on maintaining good mental health and coping with anxiety, nerves and uncertainties.
Remind yourself of your accomplishments
At some point in your studies or career, you may think, “Do I belong here? Everyone else seems so much smarter, more impressive, more accomplished, etc.”
These thoughts are potentially caused by Imposter Syndrome. According to an article published by the International Journal of Behavioral Science, it is believed that 70 percent of people experience this syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” It is important to take a step back and counter these feelings with facts.
Remember, if you are in the room, your presence is just as valid as anyone else around you. You do belong there.
The rest is extra
Have you ever experienced reaching a personal goal, but instead of relishing the success, you fixate on the shortcomings? You may harp on what you think you should have said, should have worn or should have thought about. To combat this, Gramann recommends getting into the mindset that “the rest is extra.”
This means, you need to focus on the fact you accomplished your goal! So take a step back and remember the snippets filling your mind are not shortcomings, but simply extras. Enjoy your accomplishments and don’t let the small stuff hold you back!
Understand your patterns
If you are someone who copes with anxiety, you may have experienced a time where you reached your breaking point. It is a stressful, draining and frankly, frightening event that can lead you to feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than you were before.
During an anxiety attack or while you are coming down from one, you will likely spend time thinking about your stresses and the negativity that’s been plaguing your mind; however, you may not spend time to understand how you got to that point.
Before you reach this point, or even at the first sign of unease, take a moment to understand your patterns, discover the stresses and address them in a healthy way. Speaking to a trusted friend or seeking help from a therapist or counselor can help you identify your patterns so you see your biggest stressors and learn how to manage them.
Connect with yourself
It’s not uncommon to feel disconnected when you’re experiencing anxiety. Practicing meditation, yoga and mindfulness are popular and effective methods to ground yourself and release negative thoughts. If you practice yoga, you may have heard the instructor recommend envisioning yourself melting into your mat or having the mat meet you. This has a relaxing effect that helps further the connection between yourself and your surroundings. Similarly, while meditating, Gramann recommends thinking about your energy flowing like a river bed.
“If you can picture yourself laying in the river bed, the water will wash up on you and you become one with the river. As the water drifts away, you sink in, go with the flow and give in to the energy,” said Gramann.
Although this works for Paris, you may want to envision your own soothing imagery. Close your eyes and think of a tranquil spot for you to relax like a sunny beach, a wide open field with wildflowers or a cozy cottage.
Find healthy coping mechanisms
Perhaps you read this list of tips and did not identify with them or maybe you’ve searched for tips online and they did not resonate with you – that’s okay! Everyone is different. Find healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety based off of what you enjoy. Whether it’s exercise, talking to a friend, solving puzzles or simply stopping for a moment to take deep breaths – it’s important to find a personalized method that works for you!
Gramann is also a contributing author for the Drexel University chapter of Her Campus. You can read her pieces about mental health and other topics here. Just Be Books will launch its first Kickstarter campaign in August 2019. Support Just Be Books’ journey by following its Facebook (@justbebooks) and Instagram (@justbe_books), or by checking out the website.
*Please note the tips listed in this blog were not written by a licensed counselor or therapist and should not be used as a replacement for professional care. Please contact Drexel University’s Office of Counseling and Health Services to learn more about its services or to schedule an appointment.
Sarah Temple, Logan Levenson, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, Communications.