Story and photos by Destiny Mizell / Contributing Writer
Wondering what those loud smashing sounds and uplifting cheers were all about in the Middle Tennessee State University Campus Recreation Center on Wednesday? Only the fifth event in MTSU’s De-Stress Fest: Take 15 week!
April 11 through 15, MTSU carved time out to incorporate events that promoted relaxation and stress relief, such as “Smash the Scale” and other events like Love on a Leash Pet Therapy.
Smash the Scale, sponsored by Campus Rec, Blue Raiders Drink Up and MTSU Health Promotion was originally going to be a part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Week in September. However, when making plans for De-Stress Fest, some student volunteers brought it back up.
“We decided that far too many students put unnecessary stress on themselves trying to look like a certain body type that may not be healthy or even possible for them, and thus felt like it made sense to make it a standalone event during our week of activities,” event coordinator, Lisa Schrader said.
Students could write body-positive, self-loving affirmations on sticky notes and place them on a mirror. There was a wide span of content on the sticky notes, from “Scales are the Devil!” to other affirmations like “I am resilient.” Students were also able to obliterate a scale with a “Walking Dead”-style bat. Whether it was a more gentle or physical approach, MTSU students and faculty were able to smash and destroy standards that demean self-worth.
MTSU Health Promotion educated students on healthier ways to take care of their bodies—not just means of nutrition and physique, but mentally.
“We are learning more and more about the links between mental health and physical health,” Schrader explained. “When people are flourishing, that is, emotionally, socially and psychologically thriving, they tend to live longer and experience less illness than individuals who are not as mentally well. That connection holds true even when you control for other risk factors like age, gender and family history. Having a healthy attitude towards the amazing things our bodies can do at any size is one element of positive mental health.”
Kaitlyn Peck, an MTSU Junior, said, “I think this was a great addition to de-stress fest. I like how the university is acknowledging other stressors in student life and not just the academic ones.”
Students can have it hard enough holding a school, work, family and social life. Insecurity and low self-worth have been proven to hinder even more.
“Body positivity is linked to self-esteem and self-confidence. When people feel confident and capable, they are less likely to feel negative effects from stress. It is an overall component of positive mental health and psychological well-being,” Schrader said.
De-Stress Fest will end in the JUB Ballroom with a lecture about addressing the stigma around sensitive topics.
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