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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Stress-relieving techniques guide students to relaxation

Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. SE counselor Divya Patel explains how using mindfulness techniques can combat stress during the school year.
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. SE counselor Divya Patel explains how using mindfulness techniques can combat stress during the school year.
January 29, 2020 | Jill Bold | editor-in-chief
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. SE counselor Divya Patel explains how using mindfulness techniques can combat stress during the school year.
Photos by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. SE counselor Divya Patel explains how using mindfulness techniques can combat stress during the school year.

Students gathered on couches with eyes closed in the student success center on SE Campus, breathing deeply, clenching fists collectively. They practiced progressive muscle relaxation during their first Mindfulness Monday workshop on Jan. 27. 

Over the course of several weeks this spring, four workshops will focus on mental wellbeing using techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, music, visualization, imagery and a nature walk over the course of four workshops.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice and a form of meditation, SE counselor Divya Patel said. Mindfulness has proved to increase concentration and help relieve stress, Patel said. Everyone can benefit from mindfulness.

Patel had the students tense every muscle in their hands and then release the tension. The students were to focus on the sensation that followed this release, to be mindful of how it felt. This is called the progressive muscle relation technique. 

“Feel the tingles, feel the temperatures, do your fingers hurt now…are you sweating?” Patel said. She asked the students to observe and voice what they detected. Narrowing in on the sensations help create mindfulness. When clenching all the muscles in the hand, students can feel their nails digging into the skin of the hands, and this focus on one’s present state of being is mindfulness.

SE student Alondra Tostada said she’s been dealing with anxiety as a result of taking on advanced math classes for her astrophysics studies. She said she decided to make an effort to first try to de-stress instead of dropping the class altogether.

“Hold on a second,” Tostada said. “I’ve already talked to the teacher about this. Maybe I’m stressing out too much over something.”

She paused and took a deep breath. Then she remembered what she learned at the workshop. 

“It really helped a lot. I feel at ease.”

SE students Donovan Jackson and Alondra Tostado practice progressive muscle relaxation to relieve anxiety.
SE students Donovan Jackson and Alondra Tostado practice progressive muscle relaxation to relieve anxiety.

Patel said mindfulness can improve self-awareness and help manage emotions.

SE student Micah Scott attended with her emotional support dog Kodak. She said she struggles to regulate her emotions, but the breathing and progressive muscle relation techniques she learned today helped her. She would like to come back for another session.

“Can’t wait for the music one,” Scott said. “I want to hear different types of music to see if it can help me express my feelings better.” 

Patel suggests that those who practice mindfulness need to actually practice the technique on a regular, consistent basis, setting aside two 15-minutes periods of time during the day to be actively mindful. Doing this for seven consecutive days can make a difference and start the formation of a habit. 

“When it becomes a habit you know to go mindfulness automatically when you’re stressing out or you need a tool to start concentrating,” Patel said. “It works great for test anxiety or if you’ve got too much on your mind.”

Patel reminded students that they can’t stop thinking and turn off their minds, but mindfulness will help keep a full mind at ease.

The workshops in this series will take place on the 4th Monday of every month on SE Campus. Students can earn a certificate of completion signifying their participation in wellness education. 

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