Stress workshop promises relaxed state of mind

Mindfulness-based stress reduction workshop offers unique approach to help students cope.

Dr. Victor Day explains a stress management questionnaire. Photo: Andrew Kudel

Staying up all night studying. Drinking cup after cup of coffee worrying about an upcoming exam. This is a common picture that one gets when thinking about students under stress.

For Meade Humble, a third-year science student at Dalhousie, stress is something that is a part of everyday life as she makes her way through university.

"Exams are definitely a stress factor but right now, in third year, the biggest stress factor is end-of-year projects," she said.

Fortunately for Humble, she has been able to find ways to manage stress in her own way by staying on top of her schoolwork and getting sleep when she can.

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Dalhousie students discuss how they relax and cope with the stress of exams.

When is the Workshop?

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Where is the workshop?

Counselling Services Centre, 4th floor, SUB

To register drop by Dalhousie counseling services or call them at 494-2081. Cost is $5

Jennette White is the instructor 

"I make sure to take time for myself. Relaxing is important to help take some of the stress away from exams and I think I handle stress pretty well. But for people who are feeling anxious or stressed I think a workshop would be a good idea," she said.

The Dalhousie Counselling Services Centre is trying to help students who feel overwhelmed by stress. A mindfulness-based stress-reduction workshop is being offered at the centre with the goal of helping students manage their feelings toward stress. The mindfulness-based workshop is being offered to students at a time when stress becomes elevated as final exams approach.

Dr. Jennifer Volsky Rushton, who is the supervisor of workshops that are offered at the centre, feels that the mindfulness workshop offers a unique approach to stress management.

"Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment," she said.

"The goal of mindfulness stress reduction is to get people to focus on the now. By not thinking about other things, people are able to eliminate stress through clarity and focusing on one thing at a time."

The way that students learn to handle stress may be different from preconceived notions they may have about relaxing and relieving stress. The workshop helps students relieve their stress through meditation and focus.

"The workshop is based on active participation through guided meditation and visualization. By doing these things and practising them, students are able to slow down, become more focused and consequently not worry about things that may stress them out in the future," said Volsky Rushton.

The goal of the mindfulness-based stress-reduction workshop is to help students combat exam stress and to help improve their mental wellbeing and everyday management of stress.

Dr. Victor Day, director of the centre, says most people experience stress in their lives. For some it can be a minor issue while for a small percentage of people it can be quite problematic. Day says the important thing is that people who are bothered by stress can benefit from learning to handle stress and anxiety.

"It is important to identify the source of stress and there are many different stress management techniques that can be used to cope with stress. The focus (of the workshop) is on one particular stress relief technique. Mindfulness refers to mental focusing and meditation," he said.

Day says one of the side effects of stress that affects students the most is worrying and becoming more anxious by thinking about how stressed out they are. This is what the workshop on mindfulness hopes to help people eliminate in helping them learn to live in the now so that they don't worry constantly about future stressful events.

The workshops goal is to help students to be more relaxed and less stressed when exams or major projects start to pile up.

"Most people who are stressed don't want to feel stressed," said Day.


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