Counselors talk stress

Emma Stoltzfus — Staff Writer

About 15-20 students sat around tables in a classroom the science building stairs playing with gel stress balls. The “squelch” of the brightly colored gel balls accompanied the words of two women describing the importance of mindfulness.

A Stress and Anxiety Management Workshop took place in the evenings of Oct. 17th and 24th. The two sessions of an hour and a half each focused on understanding what stress and anxiety are and providing students with tools to combat them.

Of college students seeking counseling, 61% report having anxiety and 45% struggle with stress according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health’s (CCMH) 2017 report.

Jessica Hulst and Arlene Heynen, both counselors at Dordt, first taught the workshop last fall and plan on doing so every semester moving forward.

This year more students attended, Hulst said, probably due to it being an hour shorter and taking place in the evening instead of the afternoon.

Dordt has two on-staff counselors—the national average for schools under 1,500 according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

“We really want student to know that taking care of their mental health is a good thing.” Said Heynen, “Everyone struggles and seeking help doesn’t make you weak or make you different from anyone else.”

The stress and anxiety workshops arenot supposed to take the place of counseling, the two said, but is an opportunity to learn tips and tricks for managing stress and anxiety.

The information packet handed out for the two sessions included space for self-assessment, tools for stress and anxiety management, planning potential lifestyle changes, and tips on being mindful of your thoughts and actions. In each session students followed along with the handout as they learned about the effects of stress and anxiety.

“It can be beneficial to all students” Hulst said, “every year—on some level or another—experience stress and we want people to be equipped and be aware of what works best for them.”

Contact Student Health and Counseling Center at (712) 722-6990 or email counseling@dordt.edu to schedule an appointment.

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