Club helps students to be 'mindful' of stress

By Bailey Richardson
On February 10, 2014

Having to leave home to attend college can be one of the most stressful events in life.

Stress is a prevalent problem for college students across the nation.

Phillip Hestand, director of the A-State Counseling Center, said 25 percent of all college students in the United States have dealt with episodes of overwhelming stress.

Students who need help coping with stress can wind down and relax with laughter yoga and meditation at Evening Mindfulness sessions with the International Positive Psychology Club.

The one-and-a-half hour relaxation sessions are held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesdays in Suite 1909 in the Student Union.

Mindfulness centers on paying attention to what is going on inside, mentally and physically.

“It’s about paying attention to yourself and mind,” said Ezra Rodgers, a senior psychology major of Jonesboro.

When a student listens to his or her body, the body can express what it needs, and meeting those needs can reduce the amount of stress added to the body.

Evening Mindfulness sessions normally begin with tension-relieving exercises.

Laughter yoga is a new method of letting out built up tension.

During laughter yoga participants perform a series of fake laughs. Laughing releases chemicals called endorphins, which cause people to feel happy and relaxed.

Meditation is another relaxation method taught during the mindfulness sessions.

Sitting quietly for 10-15 minutes a day has shown to aid with becoming more relaxed, according to students who attend the weekly meetings.

Meditation is done by simply sitting quietly. It is suggested to keep the eyes closed and spine straight.

During meditation, the mind should only be focused on calming down the body through breathing deeply and thinking calmly.
After an effective meditation students often appear calmer and more at ease. Practicing meditation regularly could result in a less stressful life.

The club has a special device called an “emWave” that is designed to give biofeedback during meditation. A volunteer places a small clip on his or her earlobe.

The clip tracks heart rate, breathing rate and brainwaves. All this information is processed into a computer. The results determine how in tune the body and the mind are.

The original club, the Positive Psychology Club, was formed 10 years ago through Irina Khramtsova, an associate professor of psychology.

Through being mindful, students can actively improve the way they think, the way they handle situations, and how they manage stress, according to Khramtstova.

“It is a powerful technique that can make a difference in one’s life,” Khramtstova said.

Students can find more information on Positive Psychology at ASU on the club’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/98471375235/.

Students can also seek stress relief help through the A-State Counseling Center located on the second floor of the Student Union.

Counselors at the center offer students the same quality of assistance as they would find at a facility off campus and visits are always confidential.

“A lot of the work we do is outreach to teach coping skills and ways of handling problems before they can happen,” Hestand said. Counseling services are offered individually and in group sessions.

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