The third session of K-State’s Kat Chats’ Life Skills Series offered students guidance on how deal with stress.
Led by Dori Lambert, director of K-State Counseling Services, this session, called Relaxation, met at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Leasure Hall. The 45-minute session taught attendees skills to build resilience for handling life stresses and covered topics such as mindfulness, mind and body connections and the importance of calming the mind.
Lambert said that although this is the third of three sessions, it is not required to go to the previous sessions to attend, and all sessions will be offered again at a later date.
“So the idea is, the first two components are looking at emotion and being able to understand how you can use good problem-solving skills to become resilient,” Lambert said. “The third session today is to help you look at how you can really incorporate some things about calming your body, calming your mind and using some relaxation skills so that you develop more tolerance for the frustrations of life.”
The majority of the session was spent teaching relaxation exercises that can be utilized to help manage stress, the first of which is to practice mindfulness, or being able to focus your mind, Lambert said.
“We as a culture tend to want to try harder, to do better and to kind of make things happen,” Lambert said. “One of the things for mindfulness is to take a step back and not try so hard. By being in the moment and paying attention, we learn some things.”
Trent Bush, junior in open option and session attendee, said mindfulness to him is being “focused on the moment and blocking everything else out by falling into a natural state.”
Physical skills discussed were quick ways to connect the body to the mind, such as breathing exercises and simple movements students can do while sitting at a desk if they are feeling overwhelmed.
A third topic covered was how to calm the mind in stressful situations, illustrated by the video “The Samurai and the Fly.” The video featured a samurai attempting to meditate, but a fly kept buzzing around him. The samurai frantically destroyed the fly, but the pieces of it regenerated into more flies until the room was full of them. The samurai was only able to make the flies disappear when he calmed himself and meditated despite them.
In reaction to the video, Tosha Sampson-Choma, assistant professor of English, said self-focus can be the key to avoiding distractions.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to eliminate distractions or annoyances,” Sampson-Choma said. “It’s just better to focus on yourself and trying to center yourself in the moment amidst all the distractions.”
Stress is a natural part of life, but it can be both good and bad, Lambert said.
“This presentation isn’t going to tell you how to take stress out of your life, and it’s not going to tell you to just do this one thing and everything will be fine because stress is really important,” Lambert said. “It’s a natural thing. There’s positive stress and there’s negative stress. What we do want to do is give you some quick ideas of things that you can do to strengthen some skills for managing the stress.”
Bush said the event provided adequate information to help students learn de-stressing and relaxation methods.
“It was really helpful,” Bush said. “I’m glad I went.”