Scott Ste Marie
is a mental health advocate based in Toronto whose mission is to demystify mental health and create honest dialogue about mental health and well-being.
Scott joined us at Greenwood to talk to our Grade 12 students about three keys ways to calm anxiety and how these approaches can create harmony between our emotional, psychological and social well-being.
1. Ask Better Questions
Scott asked our Grade 12s if they ever get questions such as, “What do you want to do with your life?” and “What are your passions?” Almost every person raised their hand. He then asked, “How many of you don’t know the answer or get stressed out when you’re asked those questions?” Again, almost every single student raised their hand.
Asking questions about ‘the unknown’ can impose stress and anxiety, especially for young adults who are trying to figure out where they want to go to school and what career path they wish to take. He advised students to reframe these questions in a way that focuses on the present. For example, asking “What do you like doing that makes you happy?” This question is much easier to answer and immediately makes you think about your current hobbies and interests. Asking better questions and focusing on the ‘now’ can really help reduce anxiety and stress.
2. Practice Gratitude
A key part of practicing gratitude is focusing on what we have and not on what we don’t have.
Scott asked the students what gratitude meant to them and the most common responses were: “lifting each other up”, “doing something nice for someone” and “showing appreciation.” Scott encouraged students to try and practice gratitude on a daily basis. Whether it be writing down one thing you are grateful or complimenting someone, gratitude can go a long way for both yourself and other people.
3. Spend Less Time With Pixels on Rectangles
Lastly, Scott addressed one of the most common stressors of all: social media.
Spending countless hours on Instagram, Facebook or any other social platform can cause anxiety, affect your sleep and even cause loneliness.
How to avoid this:
Build and maintain relationships in the real world rather than a virtual world
Turn your phone off well before you go to bed
Set a daily timer for how much time you spend on social platforms
If you practice all of these tips, it can go a long way in promoting positive social, emotional and psychological well-being.
Scott’s presentation was inspiring and helpful for our Grade 12s, who will be entering postsecondary next year.
We encourage everyone to check out the great work he is doing through his online platforms as well as his social media @depressiontoexpression