De-stress with Mind and Body Awareness Week

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March 16, 2009

Last Tuesday, Mind and Body Awareness Week hosted a stress-relief education day to help students during the mid-semester slump.

This event featured Guided Meditation at the Chapel and a Management Workshop at the Solidarity Lounge.

Junior Cecilia Aguilera, an organizer of the health programs, spoke about how the health-awareness events would address stress in students lives, both personal and academics while tabling Monday morning.

“We want students to realize that mental health is a process, and we want them to know that they have a lot of power in their well-being,” she said.

A small group attended the weekly meditation at the Chapel hosted by Erika Macs, the Director of Spiritual and Religious Life. Macs offered visitors’ tea, and a space for students to talk about their daily stress levels.

The session even began with one student expressing relief for the upcoming spring break.

After a couple of relaxing breathing exercises, participants were able to join in a walking meditation around the chapel while listening to tranquil music. Macs spoke about why meditation is an important part of people’s lives.

“Meditation helps us quiet the mind and can produce a feeling of well-being,” she said. “It is a great stress-releaser.”

All were invited to participate in the meditation including freshwoman Natori Coleman, who said, “It was a good start to exploring different types of meditation. It was good to let myself go.”

Marvin Barahona, a junior from UC Berkeley, even participated as a workshop requirement for his studies in alternative medicine.

“It was really relaxing, active moving while meditating helped me focus,” he said. “Time seemed to go by slow, and I felt in control of my body and surroundings.”

Later that evening, Erica Browne, the Health Programs Director, hosted “Nurturing the Revolution Within.” This Stress Management Workshop addressed topics on defining positive and negative stressors, stress relief tips, and ways in building one’s self-confidence.

Some students addressed common school-related stressors such as procrastination, and worries about life after graduation. Browne helped alleviate the students’ stress by recommending humor as a stress relief.

The group was even able to laugh loudly for an entire minute to release tension, and to relax.

“You know what helps me when I am stressed? Laughter, just laughing down deep from the gut,” explained Browne. “I just want everyone to laugh as hard as you can for the next minute.”

After all the noisy guffaws died down, students were able to discuss stress-relief tips. Some students talked about exercise as stress relief, and others spoke about needs for time management.

Browne suggested creating simple to-do lists to help students get through their busy schedules.

“And keep your lists short with seven things to do for you day,” she said. “So you would not feel disappointed or even overwhelmed if you can’t finish what you need to do.”

Browne even recommended students to attend the Friday’s Gardening Gathering as means to relieve stress, and to participate in a new activity.


De-stress with Mind and Body Awareness Week was published on March 16, 2009 in Features

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