Becoming More Mindful: Workshop Gives Tips

Dr. Kim Chestnut gives tips on living a reduced-stress or mindful lifestyle.

It’s that time of the semester again. Fresh out of mid-terms and with finals right around the corner, many students are feeling bogged down. Dr. Kim Chestnut, Director of the Wellness Resource Center, gave some tips to students and student organization leaders at a workshop recently to quell the stress.

Attendees were taught several mindfulness techniques that could be used during times of intense mental pressure like cramming for exams, contentious personal moments, and when focusing becomes a challenge.

“This has a little bit more personal touch on it and we talk about more options to personalize stress and time management techniques,” said Dr. Chestnut.

Student writing
A participant takes notes on Dr. Chestnut’s presentation.

Chestnut presented a three-step process in understanding stress:

  1. Identify the cause – We all perceive stress differently; what is stressful for one person might not be stressful for another.
  2. Monitor your moods – It is important to learn your stress signals.
  3. Recognize how to deal with stress – We all respond to stress differently.

“Part of it, too, is that distinction between a stress reaction and a stress response. The reaction is the unmonitored response. A stress response says ‘How do I want to respond to what happened?’ and builds in ‘How do I want to feel?’ in response,” said Chestnut.

Although Chestnut insists that there is not one stress management technique that works for everyone, she says a healthy mindset in the face of stress looks the same, for the most part.

“I want to be compassionate to myself, nonjudgemental to myself, and let it be,” Chestnut said. “It’s not just about planning better, it’s not just about getting more organized. I think students already have a lot of that figured out, but that being hard on yourself part, we don’t have figured out as much.”

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