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Friday, September 22, 2023

Activities & Organizations

CAPS workshop helps students manage stress

Each year, Counseling and Psychological Services ends the semester with a Food for Thought Workshop that aims to help students deal with added stress from finals.

Their “Got Stress? How to Relax Before Finals” workshop was held Wednesday in the Student Center.

Doctoral psychology intern Alison Jones and CAPS practicum student Susan Iyican presented the workshop.

“It’s really important for students to be aware of what stress is,” Jones said. “That can really help them identify how to cope because (if they) don’t know what (they’re) facing, or what the problem is, it’s really hard to know how to cope with it.”

Iyican started by explaining that stress is an adaptive human response that enables us to be more efficient and allows our organs to prioritize functioning to fight, flee or freeze. This mechanism is biologically used for survival but our body reacts the same way with everyday stressors, such as work, school and family life.

“It’s important to have students recognize that there are many different stressors on college campus,” Jones said. “These stressors may be things that aren’t necessarily all kind of bad stress and that, sometimes, there’s good stress.”

Characteristics of stress include signals that can manifest through emotions, thoughts, behaviors and physiology.

Iyican explained stress management strategies that can help prevent or cope with stress. She initiated classroom breathing exercises to bring awareness to simple things that can combat stress.

“Teaching some very simple strategies can go a long way for students,” Iyican said. “Something as simple as (breathing exercises) can really make a huge difference to how somebody is feeling.”

Iyican said students should utilize the services provided by CAPS, such as individual or group therapy, consultation and workshops. Cecilia Sun, psychologist and assistant director at CAPS, oversees the workshops and said the center has future workshops planned.

“We plan to have the same topics repeated next semester, but we’re also gonna look at the evaluation feedback from the fall and see any topics the students are requesting,” Sun said. “The feedback has been so positive for this fall semester.”

Sun, Jones and Iyican said they would like to see any students in need of guidance to come to future events.

“(Students) are not alone. There’s lots of people that feel this stress. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone, and that a lot of people are going through this, can be really helpful to relieve stress in itself,” Jones said. “By coming to one of these workshops, they could really learn some things that they would benefit from possibly long term with stress management.”

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