For Schools & Universities
We all fall somewhere on an OCD spectrum. That’s exactly why my strategies can help anyone, college students very much included, interact with thoughts in an entirely new way. This way, students can conserve energy and brain-power to stay curious, focus on figuring out what they’re most interested in, sharpen their skills, and get the most out of the college experience.
I recently gave a talk at a Big 10 school. The event had a strong turnout, so students were sitting in the aisles and on the floor in a 150-seat theater-style lecture hall. I asked the students how many of them experienced worry in the form of repetitive thoughts. I asked to see a show of hands:
“How many of you ever experience repetitive thoughts or worries that make you feel kind of hunted? But when you try to apply logic to the thoughts to make them go away, the thoughts feel bigger and more intrusive?”
Virtually every hand in the room shot up.
From my vantage point below them, it looked like a tidal wave.
The more I talked with students, the more it became clear that most of these students occasionally experienced anxiety or nagging worries, but they didn’t have any tools to alleviate their anxious thoughts. They didn’t know how to react to particularly sharp-edged worries that were taking on a life of their own.
I’m prepared to educate your students on what to do when they feel “a little bit OCD” and how to tell if what they’re experiencing is potentially OCD in its truest form on the further side of the clinical spectrum.
Regardless of whether or not someone has OCD, it’s advantageous to learn how to be more aware of one’s thoughts, how to react to one’s thoughts, and how to power down repetitive, intrusive thoughts that drain one’s energy and create escalating stress.
After my talk, students will walk away knowing:
How students can carve out time in their schedules for themselves, for reflection, for leisure, and for self-care activities. This allows them to be more in touch with what they are thinking and feeling.
How students can decipher if something that they are stressed about is rational or irrational. I encourage students to ask themselves, “In a room of 100 people my age and my gender, how many would be stressed by this situation?” This usually provides an instant dose of clarity.
How to deal when one has a thought or worry that is repetitive, intrusive, and potentially irrational. The more someone tries to push one of these thoughts away or reason with it, the bigger it gets. With each, “What if…?” thought, the worry seems to grow longer fangs. The way to deal with intrusive thoughts is acceptance: instead of analyzing the content, students can say, “Okay, so I’m having that thought” or “Yeah, there’s a possibility this bad thing could happen. If it happens, I’ll deal with it. I’m going to keep living my life.” By being open to uncertainty and leaning into the anxiety, the thoughts generally fade away and students can gain the correct perspective.
How to make decisions, take risks, and do the next right thing when one feels uncertain. I encourage students to have an awareness of when their stress is rooted in fear and to avoid making any choice from a place of fear. I encourage students to embrace uncertainty and develop a sense of ease around leaving their comfort zones, so they can have the richest experiences possible during college.
Interested in learning more?
Please reach out to me. I look forward to discussing delivering a presentation for your school that will help your staff and your students harness any anxiety they experience and leverage it to be more creative, more productive, and more positive.