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Good Advice

Mindfulness toward a balanced life

If you've visited the Honors Office over the past couple of years, you have probably seen senior Psychology student, Sally Wynn, answering phone calls and meeting with students as a student advisor. She juggles this role along with working on her thesis titled “Mindful Musicians: Mindfulness, Anxiety and Depression Levels in College Musicians by Instrument Category.” In whatever she does, Sally is a go-getter and is an integral part of the Honors advisement team.

Sally chose Psychology due to her passion for helping people find their path. She first tested nursing as a possible career path, but she quickly realized that her passion lay more fully in advising instead of treating. Working with the Honors Program helped guide her to a future career in high school counseling where she can use her skills in organizing schedules and academic planning. She said her favorite Psychology class was PSYCH 349: Introduction to Positive Psychology and she believes all students should take the class. She notes the class focuses on how to cultivate mindfulness and maintain healthy mental states and doesn’t require prereqs.

Despite spending a lot of time in the Kimball tower for Psychology classes, the Maeser building is Sally’s true home on campus. Sally has worked as an Honors advisor for two years and her favorite parts of the job include helping set new students up for success and providing encouragement to students who are struggling to find their place in Honors. She encourages all students to reach out to her and schedule an appointment through the BYU Honors website anytime. There just might be free lip balm, chocolate, and a clarified graduation plan in it for you!

When choosing her thesis topic, Sally knew that she wanted to create an interdisciplinary synthesis of her favorite topics. Coupling her love of clarinet and her passion for mental health, Sally is looking at depression, anxiety, and mindfulness rates in wind instrumentalists compared to other instrumentalists. The idea stemmed from statistics stating that anxiety and depression rates are higher among string and percussion players. Sally hypothesizes that this is due to those instrument classes focusing only on tactile senses while wind instruments are both tactile and require regulated breathing. Under the advisement of Sandra Sephton in the Department of Psychology, Sally will send out surveys and then synthesize her data this fall. While going through the proposal and research process, Sally said she realized an interesting thing about herself: she struggles to listen to mindfulness breathing exercises because the instructor often breathes out of sync with the beat of the background music. It seems that mindfulness, though better in wind instrumentalists, is still something that takes dedication and patience.

Beyond Honors, Sally volunteered as the Executive Director of Foster Love, a Y-Serve program for foster children. She persisted in bringing the program back as the COVID pandemic waned. The program helps bring foster children together once a week for an activity to encourage friendships and mentorship. Taking a couple hours each week to focus on the wellbeing of others was key to cultivating a more balanced life, something Sally is very passionate about.

Balancing fun and school, Sally enjoys a variety of unique hobbies. She is adamant about enjoying listening to baseball games and watching them in-person, just not watching them on television. Quilting, reading Russian literature, and watching every Star Wars series with her husband takes up the rest of her time.

Sally is excited to graduate this December and the Honors faculty is excited to see her succeed as well as sad to see her go. She will surely bless and organize the lives of many grateful high school students just as she has done here in the Honors Program. Remember to schedule an advising appointment with her before she leaves here.