By Samantha Fournier
As students we have deadlines, tests, studying, jobs, relationships and our futures to stress over.
On Wednesday Sept. 23 students had the opportunity to attend a stress management presentation given by the Interdisciplinary Biofeedback and Physiology Center sponsored by the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center.
“Young people are under a lot of pressure, taking care of yourself is a big thing that students need to learn,” Associate Director of the Counseling and Wellness Center Victoria Ginter said of the demands on students today.
“Figure out ways to lead healthy lives, find peace of mind, and find healthy ways of dealing with stress,” said Lindsay Fabrizio as a recommendation of what the women who sat scattered around a large table should take away from the presentation.
Fabrizio and Faith Perdue are part of a team of students who work for the five-year-old IBP center led by professors Carol Shaw Austad and Michael Gendron, which serves to educate the campus and the community about stress management and biofeedback techniques.
Since Fabrizio and Perdue are both students, it was clear that they understood student perspectives on stress as they presented an informational PowerPoint presentation aimed at the average college student.
“When we’re alarmed we are under stress, whether it’s good stress or bad stress” Fabrizio stated and added that we respond the same way to any type of stress put on our bodies. The team explained that even boredom is a stressor when the body would rather be active.
External stressors such as relational and financial problems and internal stressors, or self-generated stress, such as negative self-talk and pessimism can both affect health in the long run. Long-term stress can cause sleep problems, anxiety, depression, memory impairment and heart disease.
Fabrizio and Perdue explained that the time it takes for stress to affect the body is relative to each person and could be three days or three months.
The team presented many take-home strategies for coping with your most current stressors.
“It’s just a temporary relief,” Perdue said, referring to reaching for the tempting cup of a caffeinated coffee or an alcoholic drink. Instead of looking to caffeine, alcohol or drugs students should find alternatives like taking a walk, writing in a journal, listening to music, or finding another fun activity to do with friends. Having a strong network is important for being able to deal with stress appropriately.
Ginter agrees that having a supportive group of friends and surrounding yourself with positive people is important part of coping with stress.
“I’m a big fan of Devils Den at 10 p.m.,” Ginter said of the night intended as a drinking alternative. Getting a job on campus is another way Ginter suggests getting involved in the school to meet new people.
“It is really important for [you] to stay positive,” and to “accept what you can’t change,” Perdue said. To avoid getting into that negative state you should avoid events and people that stress you out, manage your time, and try to live a healthy lifestyle in terms of getting the right amount of sleep, eating right, and exercising.
If you do find yourself stressed, Austad said two of the best mechanisms you can use to calm yourself down are learning how to breathe and learning how to relax your muscles. These are the techniques that the Biofeedback team would like to educate the campus and community about.
“Just getting things done on time,” stresses out Stephanie Chaia, CCSU student.
Elyse Vanwynaarden, CCSU ‘12, said that “school, dance, friends, and the normal things I guess,” are what’s going through her mind.
Stress management presentations are scheduled to be held throughout the semester, as well as an eight-session workshop that the center hopes will be available this semester.