Options in handling stress

Stress can be an overpowering obstacle that makes it seem like there is no way to avoid the anxiety, pressure and strain to achieve a relaxed state of mind. The mindfulness and stress reduction workshop provided by Counseling and Psychological Services teaches individuals how to manage it with academics, society and emotion.

In the group they supply several useful strategies to cope with stress and any student is allowed to attend the meetings. The workshops were divided into three meetings and all on different subjects.

The last of the three workshops, on Friday, was led by Isabel Avila Saiter in Stevenson 1002. Everyone in the group was first asked to do a check-in for the session. They asked how everyone is doing or what they did for the week. The focus of the workshop was compassion for others as well as oneself.

 Packets were handed out for this session just like the last two meetings which contained information on the stress relieving exercises, definitions and poems. 

The group met for about an hour and practiced several stress relieving exercises. This included how to make one’s own metta script, which is normally about four lines of one’s positives writing about anything the individual wants. 

Another useful technique was mindful listening, which can bring significant insight into how people listen to each other and how a person’s mind can wander. 

The goal is to have a conversation with another person by just listening without interrupting them, and when they are done respond back to what they said. 

This teaches one to listen to others fully and how to bring the mind back when it wanders. 

The meeting came to an end and even though this was the last session there is a significant chance these workshops will be done again next semester. 

Some of the topics talked about in the first two workshops encouraged wellness through mindfulness, dealing with pessimistic talk and strenuous emotions.

 At each session a packet was provided that gave further insight on each topic. Each packet outlines specific strategies of how to be aware and move forward to accomplish goals. 

The first packet explained how to practice being mindful with an easy to follow five-minute mindful breathing technique. It stated how to do the five-minute exercise to help an individual feel relaxed. 

The second packet focused on how to deal with negative self-talk and difficult emotions an individual might encounter in everyday life. One of the exercises available was walking mediation. 

This is when an individual walked in a quiet place, takes into account their surroundings and focuses on only their every footstep.

The last packet focused on compassion. Another practice available the group didn’t have time to do was called STOP. S stands for stop; T represents take a breath; O is for observe; last P is for proceed.  

The strategy STOP is used to lower one’s stress in everyday life and bring one back to being at peace or centered.

 If ever stressed, one can take a moment to take a deep breath, analyze their environment and take the next step in what they decide to do.

All the methods listed above were provided from the mindfulness and stress reduction workshops and they are easy to do. These workshops give students techniques to help them cope with stress and anxiety. 

Several of the strategies are mediation oriented, which can help one feel at ease and relaxed. 

Whether it’s not doing very well on a test, pressure to do well in a class or other obstacles, these workshops truly help in making stress a manageable aspect of life. 

“I felt very relaxed, when doing mediation,” said Mike Acquista, attendee of the event.