Keep calm and be proactive about handling stress

From freshmen adjusting to life on campus to seniors preparing to graduate, stress affects students of all levels for a variety of reasons. Stress is so prevalent, in fact, that a survey published by The Associated Press for NBC news reported that one in five college students are stressed all of the time. Although stress does help students stay alert, it can also be harmful to both their mental and physical health.

Fortunately for students at Mizzou, the university offers programs that provide remedies and solutions to the effects of too much stress. The MU Student Health Center has an entire set of activities it sponsors solely to help students dealing with stress. From daily meditation to laughing yoga, these activities help to target the main issues that stress causes and relieve them.

Danielle Zoellner, a student at Mizzou, attends the meditation sessions to help maintain a healthy level of stress.

“I really enjoy attending meditation because it gives me a break from worrying over school,” Zoellner said.

Meditation sessions are 25 minutes long and are held in the Contemplation Center, which is located in the basement of the Newman Center. These sessions are covered by Student Health fees and are free to students. Meditation sessions are held daily at 12:15 p.m.

“We are merely [there] to guide you through,” said David Tager, meditation facilitator.”  We want you to meditate with as little interruption as possible.”

In addition to meditation, the Student Health Center also sponsors other stress-relief programs such as Stressbusters and BREATHE. Both are student-run, and their purpose is to help students feel more relaxed and better prepared for tackling stressful tasks.

Physiological signals that are identified during a session of BREATHE help raise awareness of how stress works on the body. And, according to Wilson, these signals can also help one understand how to efficiently combat stress with breathing techniques.

“We’re trying to give practical advice for maintenance of stress through respiratory exercises,” Wilson said.

Breathing and Relaxing Experimental Activities To Help Everyone was founded five years ago by students wishing to help one another deal with the negative effects of stress. BREATHE provides students with a unique and effective way to learn stress management. The organization holds meetings in the Contemplation Center every Monday at 7:30 p.m. Meetings include a 30-minute sit-down period where different techniques are discussed and practiced throughout the evening.

In addition, BREATHE now hosts structured sessions in the Contemplation Center and answers calls to demonstrate relaxation techniques in classes and residence halls. After five years, their main goal has not changed: help students cope with stress in the best way possible.

Another student-run organization, Stressbusters, shares similar goals. Instead of focusing solely on self-improvement, however, Stressbusters employs the use of physical relief through massage therapy. The program is run by students who administer five-minute massages to individuals needing to relieve some tension

The organization dispatches volunteers to events and residence halls

Therapeutic massage is scientifically proven to relieve stress according to numerous studies, including one conducted by the University of Illinois in 2005. Massage is also known to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Over time it may even reduce pain and depression, according to the study.

In addition to BREATHE and Stressbusters, students seeking relief can find other activities in the Contemplation Center that pinpoint different areas of stress. Classes like yoga, laughter yoga, and love and kindness meditation are free to students and can help in stress relief. Unlike the yoga classes students may find at the Recreational Center, these classes focus more on mindfulness and spirituality rather than just physical aspects of flexibility.

For most individuals, stress is an inevitable part of everyday life. However, Mizzou works diligently to help students deal with it effectively. With the help of the Student Health Center, the Newman Center and all of the students involved with BREATHE and Stressbusters, students have a chance to sit back and relax.

Karlie Schaphorst

About the Author Karlie Schaphorst

My interest in writing started early, as did my interest in the natural world. After a particularly gripping science presentation by our local meteorologist in my second grade class, I knew that my future would consist of getting up close and personal with the natural phenomena. I found a passion in my AP Biology class for writing about biology and scientific advancements. That is what I hope to do in the future.