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Workshop helps students deal with stress

Elsie Ramos
Staff Writer

College students are subject to a variety of different stresses.

Whether it is writing term papers or studying for finals, not dealing with this continuous anxiety can lead to harmful consequences.

Rocio Rosales and Joan Twohey-Jacobs, both assistant professors of psychology at the University of La Verne, held a workshop to teach students safe and effective ways to manage stress.

“Bigger problems happen when stress goes untreated,” Rosales said.

“Studies show that stress may actually be the cause of many diseases and illnesses,” Rosales said.

A rise in blood pressure, higher risk of heart attack, a weakened immune system and an increase in the chance of heart disease can be the result of untreated stress.

However, Rosales and Twohey-Jacobs gave easy tips to relieve constant tension and anxiety.

“People need to learn to distinguish the differences between controllable and uncontrollable stresses,” Rosales said.

“They also need to learn to control their emotional responses,” Twohey-Jacobs said.

Rosales said that the brain cannot distinguish whether the stress is physical or psychological.

So, Rosales said we need to train our brains to relieve stress.

There were two relaxation exercises performed during the workshop that help train the brain, one dealt with learning to breathe effectively and the other was a meditation type of exercise.

The breathing technique is simple and can be performed at any place or time. Sit comfortably on a chair, take a deep breath, and let it rest at the bottom of your lungs, then slowly let it rise towards your chest, hold for three seconds and release.

“It’s like trying to blow air into a big balloon,” Rosales said.

The second exercise, known as the Rainbow-Visualization Relaxation exercise, is longer and requires more patience.

However, its effectiveness is felt almost immediately.

The first step is to inhale calmness and exhale all of the tensions in the body.

The second part of the process is to visualize yourself coming down all the colors of the rainbow, and at the same time gain mental relaxation, emotional control, clarity and self-awareness, unconditional love and positive energy.

Then, one must imagine themselves exploring a peaceful place in nature.

And at the same time one should become more and more relaxed.

The final step is to come back up the colors of the rainbow, count to three and open one’s eyes.

“I feel mentally asleep, but my eyes are open,” sophomore, psychology major Vanessa Perocler said.

Rosales and Twohey-Jacoby began this workshop as part of their First Generation Program, which helps first generation students deal with the college process.

There will be workshops held every month at the Campus Center Ludwick Ballroom.

For more information on stress and anxiety or dealing with school issues, contact Rocio Rosales at rrosales@laverne.edu or Joan Twohey-Jacoby at jtwohey-jacobs@laverne.edu.

Elsie Ramos can be reached at elsie.ramos@laverne.edu.

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