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Students learn to ‘OverCOMe Stress’

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 12:15 am

Cal Poly Pomona’s Special Events Planning class hosted OverCOMe Stress on Wednesday. The event aimed to teach students healthy ways to deal with the stresses of college life.

The event featured informational speakers and workshops showcasing exercise as a healthy stress reliever.

There were two informational speakers who spoke about the aspects of stress and ways to deal with it. A representative from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) discussed the mental aspects of stress, while a representative from the Wellness Center discussed ways for students to deal with and control stress.

Fernando Diaz, a health educator at the Wellness Center presented “Tame Your Stress,” which was about stress management and tips for a healthier lifestyle. Hanna Lee of Counseling and Psychological Services performed a meditation session and spoke about the effects of stress and relaxation.

Diaz’s approach was to reduce stress through the use of sleeping, eating well and exercising. On each topic the students were provided with helpful tips.

Diaz said he liked the timing of the event because students had midterms and finals in a few weeks, which made it more relevant.

He said 31 percent of students report stress being a crucial factor in academic performance.

“It was an honor to know the students’ thoughts about the Wellness Center and I know the students benefitted from the presentations,” said Diaz. “It is a way for me to expose myself to the campus and let people know we provide these different services.”

Emile Abikhalil, a third-year public relations student, enjoyed the speech about incorporation of sleep, healthy nutrition and exercise to help alleviate stress in student lives. Abikhalil also said Lee had the students meditate, do breathing exercises and had them envision imaginary objects.

“I learned it is very important to breathe deeply under stress while imagining tranquil scenery so when you are doing those breathing exercises with your eyes closed you are only focused on yourself,” said Abikhalil. “You also focus on nothing else around you, which worked because everything I was stressed out about did not come to mind at the time I was doing the breathing exercises.”

Andrew Perias, a fourth-year communication student, said the Special Events Planning class decided to do an overcoming stress event because final exams are approaching and this was the perfect time to hold such an event.

“We figured a college environment is very stressful and one useful thing that would help especially around this time is for students to learn about the tools and resources on campus that can be used to better manage your stress in an academic environment,” said Perias. “I have never really meditated and it was cool to learn about the methods. It is something he might look into in the future.”

Rosalinda Gonzalez, a second-year public relations student, said she learned a lot from Lee’s presentation because she talked about how the body is affected by stress. If the mind is affected by stress it causes the body to become tense and weak. Gonzalez also said the most useful thing she learned was to take a step back, relax the body and clear the mind of everything.

“What is important about this event is letting college students know that there are many places on campus they can attend if they are stressed out,” said Gonzalez. “The campus has programs and special people like Fernando Diaz who can help students out with overcoming any stress they may have.”

After lunch, several workshops offered different healthy methods of stress relief such as yoga, Zumba and the Bronco Fitness Center’s Boot Camp program.

Omar Elattar, a fourth-year public relations student, thought the event catered to a lot of people who do not go to the gym or have traditional workouts. The exercise portion of the event opened his mind to the value of yoga.

“I think everyone’s reaction after the yoga was interesting because I think a lot of the people who joked about it or the ones who did not take it seriously in the beginning ended up leaving really refreshed,” said Elattar. “I think it opened up a lot of people’s minds to it.”

Diaz was pleased with the outcome of the event and commended the efforts put by the Special Events Planning class.

“I really want to thank the Special Events Planning class for putting all of this together,” said Diaz.

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