Health Services equips students to handle anxiety

Jessica Setiawan—Staff Writer

Anxiety and stress are the top two factors that inhibit college students academically according to American College Health Association (ACHA). Being a student in college means that you have to navigate a lot of things, according to Dordt Counselor Jessica Hulst: being independent from parents, figuring out your identity, finding what major or career path to take, and developing mature relationships with others.

Anxiety and stress are normal parts of life, but if it starts to negatively affect our ability to function academically, emotionally or socially, then it becomes a perceived threat. Bodily reactions to anxiety include tension in muscles, increased heart rate, sweating, shakiness and a hard time breathing.

To combat this issue, Dordt’s Student Counseling Services opened its first four-week-long “Tools for Life – Anxiety Workshop” this semester.

Students said they are skeptical about learning anything new in the workshop.

Junior Jessica Cheney said she already knows self-help strategies to control her anxiety.

A friend of Cheney’s simply does not have time to attend. Making time for the workshop would only increase her anxiety.

It’s possible that people don’t want to be singled out in this kind of workshop, according to junior Anna Jordan.

Hulst wants to make it clear that this workshop is educational.

“It’s not therapy,” Hulst said. “It’s a class.”

She said the goal of the workshop is to give students good tools and experiential stress-management techniques. The classes focus on participants’ mind-body connection; how students can calm their bodies through changing their mindset, along with ways to create less stressful lifestyles.

Hulst said college is like a training ground to better equip students for the future and ensure mental and spiritual health.

“Coming to college is all about equipping yourself for your profession,” Hulst said. “But we also want to better equip you to mentally and emotionally handle the stresses life will bring.”

Hulst said participants have been very cooperative; the educators have yet to receive any pushback. However, attendance was lower than the expected 20 participants.

For those who want access to these tools, another workshop will be held during the spring semester. Sign up by calling 712-722-6990 or by emailing healthservices@d

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