Students educated on stress

” How often have we, as busy college students, felt convinced that our lives would be much less stressful if the day were only a few hours longer? Students have yet to find a way to make that possible, but the Counseling Center at the University of Akron attempted to help students deal with stress in a way that is suitable to the 24-hour day – with techniques that don’t involve pulling out hair.”

How often have we, as busy college students, felt convinced that our lives would be much less stressful if the day were only a few hours longer?

Students have yet to find a way to make that possible, but the Counseling Center at the University of Akron attempted to help students deal with stress in a way that is suitable to the 24-hour day – with techniques that don’t involve pulling out hair.

The Counseling Center held its second meeting in its Women’s Wellness Workshop series Wednesday. Stephanie Cunningham, a practicum counselor, led the meeting and informed students of where stress comes from, why it is so significant in women’s lives and specific techniques that help students deal with stress.

The Counseling Center is interested in reaching out to women who deal with stress from multiple sources.

According to Cunningham, just being a woman in general can be a source of stress.

Many women of this generation can be described as the sandwich generation, explains Cunningham.

Many women find themselves caring for their elderly parents as well as for their own children. Although they may have a brother who is just as capable of caring for the parent, women tend to take charge of the nurturing role.

The inability to just say no is one of the biggest stressors in the lives of women I talk with. Cunningham admitted. They often bring the stress upon themselves this way, although, if they do say no, they may stress about being considered selfish.

While some stress can be good, too much of it can cause problems. Heart disease is the number one killer of women.

Although most people know that heart disease may be avoided by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet, a less known contributor to the disease is too much stress. The body releases hormones when it is stressed, and these hormones overwork the cardiovascular system.

Over time, this can lead to heart disease. There are, however, simple ways of relieving stress, Cunningham revealed, some that you can even do while in class or at work.

A key factor to relaxing ones body may be understanding their breathing pattern.

Believe it or not, there is a wrong and right way to breathe, Cunningham said. Many people breathe from their chest instead of from their stomach. She encourages students to take the time to get into the habit of breathing from their stomach because it helps them breathe deeper and slower. Another way to relax is to realize when ones body is tense, as many tense up without realizing it. Body scanning involves checking each part of their body to make sure it is relaxed. She recommends starting at your head and working your way down.

I often realize how tense my back is when I use this technique, Cunningham said.

There are more advanced techniques, such as guided imagery, which Cunningham describes as advanced daydreaming. While using this technique, the person imagines that they are someplace that makes them content and happy. This may be a beach, a family vacation spot, or depending on the day, perhaps just back in your bed under the covers.

Really try to incorporate all of your senses, Cunningham said. Visualize that you are at that place. Try to imagine the sounds and smells that accompany it.

The Women’s Wellness Workshop will be holding two meetings in April. They will talk about effective time management on April 11, and assertiveness skills on April 24. They will both be held at 6 p.m. at Polsky 313.