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CSU Health Network workshop aids students in mindfulness

The+Colorado+State+University+Health+and+Medical+Center+located+on+the+corner+of+West+Prospect+Road+and+College+Avenue+in+Fort+Collins+April+11.
Collegian | Garrett Mogel
The Colorado State University Health and Medical Center located on the corner of West Prospect Road and College Avenue in Fort Collins April 11.

Stress is incredibly common across college campuses, particularly during this time of year with midterms, projects and finals looming. To help students manage this, the Colorado State University Health Network is holding Mindfully Managing Stress workshops, and the next one is set to take place over Zoom from 9-10:30 a.m. each Monday from Nov. 6 to Dec. 4. 

A workshop for mindfulness isn’t anything new at CSU; it’s been around since 2012. It follows a curriculum written by Duke University that was adapted for CSU and its students, and the workshop and its curriculum were updated last year. The three workshops each hold four sessions per semester, both in person and virtual. 

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Viviane Ephraimson-Abt is the manager of well-being initiatives at the Health Network, and she facilitates the workshop. 

“The other thing about this workshop is that CSU collected about five years of evaluation data about what the impact was for students, and Duke University, also through their medical school, did a randomized control trial about the impacts of this workshop for students,” Ephraimson-Abt said. 

There are many tools students are provided with throughout the four weeks.

“Students’ perceived stress goes down, … and that’s true for CSU and the randomized control trial, which means that even if their stressors remained the same, our experience of the stressors are less problematic,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “We feel less stressed.”

“Lastly, self-compassion went up, which is really important because self-compassion has a direct relationship on success,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “Because if we have things like bumps in the road and we’re not self-compassionate with ourselves, if we’re really hard on ourselves, we’re more often likely to take ourselves out of something (like a class or activity).” 

There are many aspects of mindfulness that are covered in each session, and each has different goals and benefits. 

Stephanie Zee works in the Health Education and Prevention Services at CSU, which focuses on prevention and educational outreach. Zee works with the mental health well-being team specifically. 

Many students may feel like their situation isn’t severe enough to warrant getting support or that their stress isn’t that big of a deal. From the experts, that is not the case. 

“There’s no situation too small that we don’t have resources for,” Zee said. “Students gaslight themselves at times, thinking, like, ‘Oh, my situation is insignificant,’ or, ‘I don’t want to take resources from someone else.’ And so my thing is, if you need resources, we have them.”

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“The overview of the program is (that) we are introducing and having practices on mindfulness,” Zee said. “Each week we will cover kind of the concept of what mindfulness is (and) what can get in the way of being in the present. Mindfulness is being in the present intentionally without judgment, and we often focus a lot in the past and in the future.”

This resource is available to all undergraduate and graduate students free of charge, and it can be used more than once. It focuses on an aspect of mental wellness that is often overlooked because it is so common, but it is all the more reason to bring attention to the stress that students experience and how to manage it. 

Reach Aubree Miller at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Garrett Mogel, Photo Director
Garrett Mogel is a third-year journalism student with a second field in philosophy. He is one of two photo directors for the 2023-24 school year.  Growing up in Colorado and surrounded by dreamlike landscapes and adventure sports, it was only a matter of time before Mogel picked up a camera. For over a decade, Mogel explored Colorado, portaging rivers, postholing through several feet of snow, rappelling over cliffs and skinning up mountains, all with a camera in hand. Through his adventures, Mogel began attaching stories to images and began to engage viewers in conversation about their favorite areas. Eventually, Mogel’s passion for photography and storytelling drew him to pursue a degree and career in photojournalism.  In his years at college, Mogel has worked with The Collegian every year. In progressing through the publication, Mogel has seen all the ways student media fosters growth both individually as well as through collaboration. Additionally, the opportunity to witness how impactful a story can be on a personal, organizational and community level is his greatest lesson thus far.  Beyond The Collegian, Mogel still finds time to appreciate his Colorado upbringing. When not on assignment, he can usually be found mountain biking, skiing, camping, river surfing or at home planning his next adventure.

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