Students get help with holiday stresses

Exams aren’t the only things that cause stress for students. Last night the Counseling Center held a workshop giving students tips to deal with stress during the holiday season.

The discussion, led by University counseling psychologist Becky Davenport, offered students many tips to mentally combat stress, as well as a number of exercises to physically relieve tension. One of the physical exercises explained was a breathing technique in which the person inhales deeply, fills the lungs as if they were a balloon, holds the breath in for four seconds and exhales for six seconds.

Another physical exercise outlined was an eating meditation in which the person eats very slowly, paying close attention to everything they are doing, from reaching for the food, to smelling the food, chewing and swallowing.

According to Davenport, the goal of this exercise was to practice “staying in the moment, without worrying about anything else.” Also explained was an exercise known as progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves tensing different muscle groups, holding the tension for a few seconds, releasing the tension and repeating.

Davenport recommended doing this whenever students feel physical stress.

Besides physical activities, Davenport also suggested many mental exercises which can relieve stress.

One of these exercises included figuring out what is causing you stress, and assessing how stressful that situation truly is. By doing this, Davenport said, students will realize that often times stressful situations are not as bad as they seem.

Another goal of this exercise is to stop students from stressing about things that are un-attainable. Davenport gave the example of worrying about never having a supermodel body, when in actuality, it is almost impossible to attain that type of figure.

The goal of the workshop was to “give students a few more tricks in their bag to manage stress,” Davenport said.

The handful of students in attendance said the event was helpful, and plan on using the techniques they learned.