Counseling Available for All Students

Imagine you’re in a store.  You see a man up ahead.  He looks familiar.  But rather than brushing it off and moving on, something strange happens.  Your heart races, you begin to sweat, your throat closes up and you can’t breathe.  You begin to cry.  You don’t know what is happening, but you know you have to get out of there immediately.

A few short years ago, that was my life.  The mundane details of my life caused debilitating panic attacks.  I had escaped abuse, moved on with my life, and was finally happy.  Why was this happening to me now?  I didn’t understand it, but I knew I needed help.  That is when I met Brianna Taylor and Barbara Wilson.  Those two women saved my life.  If it weren’t for them, I have no doubt I would not be in school right now.  Back then, I could have never balanced a family and being a successful college student.  Thankfully, now I have the tools I need to work through issues and to be successful.

When I first met Brianna and Barbara, they were counselors for Community Healthcore.  Brianna was my primary counselor and Barbara worked on my PTSD.  These two caring individuals are highly trained LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselors).  And now, Texas A&M – Texarkana, is lucky to have them as part of their staff.

Counseling services through Brianna and Barbara are available to any TAMUT student, free of charge.  The number of sessions for students are determined on a case by case basis.  Brianna said, “We help students with anything from test anxiety, all the way up to something more significant, such as trauma or PTSD.”

There are multiple ways to make an appointment for counseling services.  Students can drop by or call the Counseling Center at 903-223-3186, or they can send an email to counseling.services@ace.tamut.edu.  Professors can also make referrals for students in need.  The Counseling Center is located on the fourth floor in the main campus building.

Don’t be afraid to take care of your mental health needs.  There is no reason to be ashamed or afraid.  Barbara said, “We’re people too.”

As with any other mental health professional, the TAMUT counselors are bound by privacy laws.  All sessions are completely confidential.  Don’t neglect your mental health.  Make an appointment today.

 

Stressed

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Basically, we have all been under stress at one point or another. Do you know what happens to your body when it is stressed? “Stress tends to be a physical response, so when stressed, the body thinks it’s under attack and switches to fight or flight mode. In doing so, it releases a complex group of chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine to prepare the body for action.”[1] Stress causes physical actions with “blood being diverted to muscles, and pausing unnecessary bodily function such as digestion.”¹ Essentially, stress messes with your tummy which explains why some people get so stressed they can’t eat, they overeat, or overall feel sick to their stomach.

However, not all stress is bad, occasionally when you are faced with a situation where you need to fight or run stress comes in handy as it decreases blood in the brain to put it into your muscles. This allows one to think quickly without over thinking and if one needs to run that is a split-second decision. By chance, if, one needs to fight that is also a split-second decision.  Stress in these situations is how we survive. Stress also allows us to meet deadlines and teaches us to perform under pressure. Stress in itself is a motivator in these cases.

What happens “when our body goes into stress in inappropriate situations?”¹ With blood flow going away from the brain at this point it leads to being unable to think straight. Which, as some of you know it only causes ones stress to become worse. By staying in a state of stress for extended periods of times it ends up being bad for our health by increasing blood pressure and sugar levels. By staying constantly stressed it can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, getting sick easily, skin conditions, weight problems, and even problems with memory.

Some signs and symptoms of stress overload can cause many wide-ranging symptoms like; being more pessimistic than usual, moodiness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, loneliness. Some physical symptoms are headaches, getting sick frequently, aches-and-pains, nausea, and upset stomach. Stress can even cause one’s behavior to change, where you are unable to relax, nervous habits like biting your nails and pacing become worse. You smoke and or drink more than normal. You end up eating too much or not enough and the same goes for one’s sleep. You either sleep too much or not enough.

Okay, so you are stressed. Now what can you do to relieve some stress? You can become more active. By being active, it helps drop one’s stress level.  Talk it out, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. By communicating with another person, it releases a hormone that relieves stress.  Engage your senses, listen to music, watch TV, take up a hobby like painting, anything that keeps the senses busy is a fast way to reduce one’s stress. Try getting a better night’s sleep because that can do wonders to one’s stress. But ultimately know your body and know how it works. Try to become aware of when it is stressed and then learn how to relax. You know your body better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to take care of it and learn how you handle stress.

[1] What is Stress? (2017, January 04). Retrieved September 06, 2017, from

What is Stress?

Athletic Budgets

Middle School Jeremiah Crawford. Abandoned by his father, lives with his grandmother who does the best she can, a detention regular who barely passed his classes. High School Jeremiah Crawford. Varsity athletics all three years, he doesn’t even know the definition of junior varsity. All State Football Player his sophomore year, all district basketball player, baseball player, track star, and B Honor Roll. Jeremiah Crawford. Currently a junior at Mineola High School, and one of the top 3A recruits for college football.

I am sure most of us have participated in some form of athletics during our lifetime. This could be anything from football, to tennis, to cross-country. I am also sure that sometime during your participation in this activity, you have heard someone say that too much money is invested in this area and that budgets should be cut.

Athletics is so much more than wearing cute uniforms and winning medals. High School athletics to Jeremiah is, and I quote, “My lifeline, probably kept me out of juvie.” Athletics is beneficial to school systems, and the budgets should most certainly not be cut. Athletics improves academics, students who participate tend to be healthier, and athletics teaches good morals.

 Our first benefit of athletics is that it improves academics. Now, wait a minute. Don’t sports take up a ton of time? The answer to this is yes. So, if sports take up time, wouldn’t that mean students have less time to focus on school? Yes, and no. A study done by the University of Missouri accessed April 2nd on MUhealth.org- talks about skill sets that are directly relevant to classwork. The study shows that sports require “memorization, repetition and learning. The determination and goal-setting skills sports require can be transferred to the classroom. “From this study we gather that the skills learned on the field and court can also be applied sitting at a desk. These skills help student athletes learn how to focus and, therefore, they can pay better attention in class and receive better grades. As you can see, even though time is taken up by these events, the quality of time spent on academics is actually enhanced.

Students who participate in athletics also tend to be healthier. We all know, obviously, that it helps decrease the amount of obesity. So that is not what we are going to cover. What you might not know is studies have shown that participating in physical activity prevents diseases.

According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development accessed April 2, 2016 – “Physical activity… contributes to developing healthy bones and efficient heart and lung functions.” Athletics helps prevent chronic diseases including cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and depression.

We have seen how athletics improves academics and health, but one of the most important qualities to me, is that athletics teaches students good morals.  Athletic Director Joe Drennon from Mineola ISD has been coaching for more than 25 years. He said, “Athletics is a big part of a student’s life in the fact that it helps prepare them for the real world and teaches them how to earn their way everyday. That nothing is a given. It teaches them how to be thankful for their victories, and learn from their defeats.” After almost every sporting event fans observe both teams shaking hands and telling each other good job. This might not seem like a big deal, but one of those teams didn’t come out top. They had to learn how to accept their defeat and move forward. They had to learn how to improve so they could fix their mistakes and compete better the next time.

As you can see, athletics is more than just throwing a ball down a field or kids “looking cool” in jerseys. And according to the National Federation of State High School Associations accessed April 2, 2016 – “more than 7.6 million high school students, 55% of our student population, participates in athletics.” The funding going towards athletics provides for more than just sports. It provides an opportunity for students, some like Jeremiah, who would have otherwise taken a completely different path. He is on the fast track to college, whereas in middle school, he wanted nothing more than to drop out. Athletics provides classroom enhancement, health benefits, and good morals. So before you think about cutting athletic budgets at your local schools, remember the 7.6 million, remember the benefits, and remember Jeremiah.

Danger: Chemical Agriculture!

Allison Hall

A problem facing modern society remains the use of chemicals in agriculture. While they provide some benefits, the negative aspects far outweigh the positive. Chemically modified agriculture poses a threat to humanity by contaminating livestock, poisoning plant life and contributing to the international phenomenon of global warming.

Modernly, farmers and livestock owners use growth hormones and other chemicals to rapidly grow animals to disperse the meat in bulk and quickly. These methods are used not only to help the animal to grow but also to bump up the speed to which they grow to profit both farmers and corporations. These chemicals pose not only a threat to the animals but also possibly to the people ingesting it. If the thought of humans ingesting excess growth hormone does not terrify you, then the idea that factories use substances such as ammonia to sterilize meats should. The real points are the idea that these animals do not get the proper treatment and care that they deserve and the ingestion of this meat could result in dangers. Most chickens raised for their meat lack the ability to walk or see by the time they are slaughtered for profit. These steroids have the capabilities of working on humans the way that it works on any other mammal. It is impossible to tell whether the hormones in the meats eaten are natural or not. According to Renu Ghandi and Suzanne M. Snedeker, authors of “Consumer Concerns about Hormones in Food”, “… it is not possible to differentiate between the hormones produced naturally by the animal and those used to treat the animal. This makes it “difficult to determine exactly how much of the hormone used for treatment remains in the meat or the milk.” This obviously raises questions, such as whether these added hormones are contributing to ailments such as cancers or obesity.

In relation to the contamination to meats, plants are suffering as well. Genetic engineering, pesticides and weed killers are being used to kill insects and weeds and enhance plant growth; however, it is being done in excess and at times not even hitting the intended target. Instead, it partakes in run-off which adds to the contamination of both water outlets and, yet again, animals. These chemicals travel from the plants to other location via rain and normal hydration methods. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring says, “… chemicals sprayed on crop lands or forests or gardens lie long in soil, entering into living organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death.” Not only does this harm animals, but it harms animals that, once again, humans consume. This is not the only draw back to chemicals in farming. As far as chemically modifying plants, it would have the same effect as modifying animals. These growth hormones and chemicals are present in food consumed by man. The effects may not be drastic immediately, but a slow build up is sure to be a problem.

It is no secret that the earth’s atmosphere has been altered in ways that could be both artificial as well as naturally produced. In fact, Carson wrote “The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous lethal materials.”  These chemical contaminating, pesticides in particular, contribute to global warming. They increase the carbon levels in the atmosphere which plays a hand in the rising heat levels. Carbon creates this sort of blanket that traps in heat. With no escape the rays from the sun bounce around in the earth’s atmosphere and cause rising heat levels. Yes, other things have become a problem in this regard, but in trying to fix the issue, chemical agriculture should be looked at.

In conclusion, using chemicals in our agriculture lessens the health accountability for both our animals and plants while also playing part in the demotion of atmospheric stability. It may, at this point, not be a possibility to completely outlaw the use of chemicals, but alternatives could be found and in the mean time the use of these chemicals can be lessened.

Lifting Yourself

Derrick Flowers

Most people take interest in something during the early stages of their lives. Church, music, sports, and food are just a few examples of things people might take interest in. That was not the case for me though! Growing up I was always considered a fat kid although I was athletic. I just was not happy with the way I was put together and I knew that was not how I wanted to look for the rest of my life. When I was in the ninth grade I was introduced to weightlifting and conditioning as it was a mandatory part of the football program at my high school. It was at that very moment I knew I had struck gold with something.

Working out and conditioning can be somewhat therapeutic for some people. Of course there will always have those individuals that dread the thought of working out, but for those who do not dread it can be extremely beneficial. Working out can be broken into two separate, but equally important parts. There is the physical part which requires exercise and conditioning of some sort, but there is also have the nutritional part of it. In my opinion getting in shape is actually seventy percent nutrition and thirty percent exercise. Think about it like this, if your car runs at maximum performance when you use supreme gas you cannot expect to put regular gas in it and it run the same as before.

It is understandable that some people have various reasons as to why they do not workout. Whether it be low self-esteem, health ailments, or lack of motivation. I cannot make anyone work out, but I can tell you that if you have the desire to workout you should definitely give it a try. As stated earlier, working out can be somewhat therapeutic for some people. Not only that but working out also puts you at a greater chance for a longer life. I am not professing to have found the fountain of youth, but that is a proven fact. Getting active supports almost every function in the human body.

Another common reason why some people are intimated by working out is the fact that there are so many different machines and equipment to use. I experienced this issue first hand when I first started working out. There are all of these big, sweaty, and intimidating people around you pumping serious iron. That would frighten most people who are new to a gym, but I am here to tell you that anyone can do it. First things first, it is mostly about confidence. Even if you are not the strongest person in the gym going in there with a clear and concise mindset will allow you to benefit just as much as more seasoned gym rats will. Secondly, have a plan. In today’s world almost everyone has a smart phone, so you can go to the app store and download a workout app. Lastly, stay to yourself in the workout room. Several people use the gym as a place to congregate…that’s how you get off track. Take your headphones or ear buds and tune out all distractions.

Everyone loves vegetables and fruits right? What about the thought of cutting processed foods from your diet entirely? I know the thought of that will frighten people for sure! As stated earlier in the essay, in my opinion nutrition is seventy percent of maintaining a healthy body. Processed foods, anything from the shelf, need to be cut drastically from your diet. As hard as it may seem, I promise you will benefit from it tremendously. Not only will you realize you have more energy by eating healthier foods, but you will also see your body start to change. Three key things you must know from the nutritional aspect: Drink water, replace desserts with fruit, and eat lean protein.

In conclusion, weightlifting and conditioning are two great ways to ensure a healthier lifestyle. Along with eating the proper foods it is almost guaranteed that you will not only look better, but you will feel better as well. It is never too late to start preparing yourself for a healthier lifestyle!

Pinktober

Leslie Arietta

“On Wednesdays we wear pink,” Regina George says in the film Mean Girls. Well, I have a new quote for Regina George, “In October, Texas A&M University-Texarkana (TAMUT) wears pink.” October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness and the students and faculty of TAMUT have come together to contribute to this month.

On Thursday, October 8th the National Sorority Interest Group (NSG) held a bake sale. This bake sale was breast cancer themed and some of the funds went towards breast cancer awareness. NSG had plenty of goodies on their bake sale table and all of them were pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer.

The next morning Friday, October 9th students and faculty of TAMUT gathered together on the lawn of the University Center to participate in Pink Out Friday. Everyone was wearing pink and gathered to make a human pink ribbon to take a photo. The outcome was successful and it was a fun way to get a variety of people to help raise awareness of breast cancer. Later on that evening TAMUT women’s soccer team was hosting a game against Dallas Christian College. For this game the members of the soccer team had a piece of pink on them during the game whether it was electrical tape for their socks or ribbons and headbands for their hair. The Eagles were in full support.

Texas A&M University-Texarkana will continue to support the month of breast cancer awareness. Students, faculty, organizations, and athletes will all be participating in Race for the Cure this Saturday, October 17th at the Four States Fairgrounds. Some will be running or walking in Race for the Cure while others will be helping with setting up and getting ready for Race for the Cure.

Small Steps to a Stronger Immune System

cold remdies
Ashley Morrow

As a college student, balancing work, school, and free time can become overwhelmingly busy and getting sick doesn’t help make it easier. Try using these tips as preventatives before full-blown cold or flu symptoms occur. Follow nature’s way to health!

Sips of Citrus- Adding a lemon or a lime wedge to water or tea allows the body to detox and rid itself of any impurities. Both fruits are a great source of Vitamin C, and they are an inexpensive alternative to orange juice or Vitamin C tablets. Lemon and lime both contain anti-microbial properties that assist in fighting bacterial or viral infections.

Tea Time- Herbal tea with Echinacea root can be found in most health food stores or grocery stores. Echinacea is a powerful herb that stimulates white blood cells, which help attack foreign bodies. This herb is also an anti-septic which is used to alleviate sore throats, allergies, colds, or the flu. Fair warning: tea with Echinacea does not taste great, but it beats a trip to the doctor.

Diet and Exercise- Compared to supplements and pills, eating your way to health is much more satisfying. Fruits and veggies containing Vitamin A, B-6, C, and E are the best immune boosters. Vitamin C can be found in many foods including broccoli, oranges, kiwi, and strawberries. Blueberries provide several B vitamins. Sweet potatoes and carrots are a good source of Vitamin A, and green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale contain Vitamin E.

Exercise increases and strengthens blood and lymph flow. The lymphatic system protects the body from infections by tracking down and killing any invading germs that have already entered the body. It takes only 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, but activity must be moderate and consistent to be effective.

Essential Oil Massages- Again, the lymphatic system is responsible for cleansing the body of waste by moving cellular fluid through the system. Lymph nodes are filtering centers for the blood and can be found all over the body including the throat and underarms. Massaging lymph nodes with essential oils such as rosemary, lemon, and grapefruit may aid in boosting the effectiveness of the immune system. Essential oils are all natural and may be found in health food stores, selected grocery stores, or online. If you are interested in essential oils, popular brands are Now and Young Living.

Cold Water Blasts- Some may not be eager to jump on this tip, especially during the cold months. Scientific studies from Canada and the Czech Republic show that exposure to cold water temperatures is a mild stressor that activates the immune system. This does not mean the entire shower must be a cold one. Take a regular warm shower and only use cold water the last 30-60 seconds of the shower time.

Drinking enough water, lowering stress levels, and getting enough sleep are also necessary for a healthy immune system.