CSU Health Network adds a new program to help students manage stress

Emery Love

Viviane Ephraimson-Abt explains what mindfulness is, and why there is a new mindfulness program at CSU. (Photo credit: Hannah Beckwith)
Viviane Ephraimson-Abt explains what mindfulness is, and why there is a new mindfulness program at CSU. (Photo credit: Hannah Beckwith)

Stress is something no student is a stranger to, so the CSU Health Network is trying out new ways to help students manage it.

The Mindful Drop-In Group is a new program launched by CSU Health Network spring 2015 to help students manage their stress using a technique called mindfulness.

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Since the 2012 school year, the CSU Health Network has had a mindfully managing stress workshop for students.  This four-week workshop helps students to understand their stress and learn to combat it.

The Mindful Drop In group is a similar stress management option, but doesn’t require the month-long commitment that the workshop does.

Viviane Ephraimson-Abt, coordinator of resiliency and well-being, thought students needed more opportunities to learn about stress management and prevention, which inspired her to start the Mindful Drop-In Group.

“I wanted to really increase opportunities students have for things like this to support their resilience and well-being,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “Mindfulness is defined as being present moment to moment with an attitude of non-judgment. I like to add in an attitude of curiosity and kindness too.”

The group has been running since January, and around 5-8 people attend every week. The group helps students learn about living mindfully. CSU human development and family studies major Molly Clay already participates in mindfulness exercises.

“In one of my classes, my professor reserves the last 20 minutes for mindfulness activities, like breathing exercises, “Clay said. “It is really helpful for managing stress.”

However, the mindful drop in might not be for everyone, Clay said.

“I think I would be interested in trying out the mindful drop in,” Clay said. “The only problem is that sometimes thinking about taking an hour off during the day adds even mores stress.”

Susan MacQuiddy, director of counseling services for CSU Health Network, thinks mindfulness is another option for students to manage their anxiety.

“Mindfulness practice is a great way to improve our health,” MacQuiddy said. “The Mindfulness Drop-In Group offers another opportunity for students to develop these helpful skills.”

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Mindfulness is a well-researched stress management method that is shown to have many positive impacts.

“Researchers have looked into the benefits of practicing mindfulness and what impacts it can have,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “It can reduce anxiety and depression and can increase everyday joy.”

Ephraimson-Abt said she wants CSU students to remember that our mental and physical health are intertwined.

“Our mental health is so related to our physical health, so for us to divide the two doesn’t really make sense,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “Whatever is going on with us mentally is directly connected to us physically.”

The group meets in the Lory Student Center room 376 Wednesdays from 12:10-1:00 p.m., and is open to every student and faculty member free of charge with no registration required.

“I want CSU students to know that anything that will improve our life, will improve both our mental and physical health,” Ephraimson-Abt said. “Mindfulness is a great place to get started improving.”

Collegian News Reporter Emery Love can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @emerynlove