Stress workshops help students develop resilience to stress

UMD Health Services. Photo courtesy of Cassidy Johnson.

UMD Health Services. Photo courtesy of Cassidy Johnson.

Alissa Stainbrook, who works for disability resources on campus, has brought a program to campus called Rising Above, a four-session, free interactive workshop that takes place Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28.

This program allows students to build up a resilience to the stressors of everyday life.

This year will be the third semester that the program is offered. In the past, they have had an average of 10 to 15 students sign up for the workshops.

According to Stainbrook, 38 percent of students who work with disability resources have mental health problems, primarily anxiety and depression. This is ultimately what prompted Stainbrook to bring more workshops to campus to help students.

Sophomore Mikaela Spradlin, who attended these workshops last year, said that they helped by allowing her to open up in a safe space.

“I think these are helpful to students because many students will put off or brush aside the need to take time for themselves because their homework feels pressing enough that it takes precedence,” Spradlin said.

Last year, Stainbrook approached her director Emily Norborg and pitched the idea of creating a workshop where students can learn to cope with their stress in a healthy way.

With the support of Norborg, Stainbrook approached counseling to team up in making the workshop become a reality. All students are encouraged to attend the workshops.

“The coolest thing about these workshops were the connections that students made,” Stainbrook said. “It’s a lot of students going through the same kind of things.”

In the sessions, participants do stress management education where they talk about how stress impacts the body physically, mentally and emotionally. Each session focuses on different skills.

“We do a lot of deep breathing skills such as diaphragmatic breathing and we do a lot of mindfulness and meditation which is really helpful,” Stainbrook said. “It’s all about recognizing things to do when you are feeling stressed and how to reduce that stress.”

Diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing exercise that helps to alleviate stress.

Spradlin said that her favorite part of the workshops was when they all talked and opened up about their feelings. Through that, she learned that she was not the only one with homesickness.

“I work with students who have disabilities and our biggest population is students with mental health conditions,” Stainbrook said.

Rising Above registration is open on their website.


NewsCassidy Johnson