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Distress? No, De-Stress

 Get counseling to deal with stress, depression, and the dreaded finals week  by Daniel Friedman

For any college student, stress is always on the menu. At the City College of New York, Student Health Services (SHS) is lending a hand.

A counseling fellow at SHS, Brian Mueller has been hosting “The De-Stress Group” in Shepard Hall on the college campus throughout the semester. This week, the group met in room 275 and students were able to participate as much or as little as they liked.

Mueller described the group as a place for students to discuss “what stresses them out, how to identify it”, and methods for dealing with the effects that stress can have on our health.

Mueller first gave an overview of what stress is and asked us how we as students define it. He gave the example of a human in ancient times having their first interactions with a saber-toothed tiger to give us some historical context. “Our stress mechanism first evolved to give humans a quick burst of energy when they were in danger.”

The human’s adrenaline begins to circulate through their body because of the stress induced biological effects of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. That biological process is what gives us the inclination of fear, and makes us run from danger. We can identify that this process is happening by being aware of “increased heart-rate, elevated breathing,” and other symptoms.

At City College, our saber-toothed tiger is finals week or that extra makeup assignment because of Hurricane Sandy. According to a student in the group that wished to remain anonymous, “we all have multiple stresses in our lives, especially school.”

To help students deal with stress and the effects it can have on our health, Mueller engaged the group in discussion to see what students do already to help de-stress their lives. Many described exercise, sleep, and playing sports as remedies. Mueller suggested that students all try to engage in practices to relieve stress whenever we find ourselves starting to feel the effects of cortisol.

To reach the Counseling Center for short-term help, students can call their main office at (212) 650-8222. For more advanced or prolonged counseling there is a second office open in the North Academic Center on the 8th floor. To make an appointment for prolonged help, students can call (212) 650-6602. “The De-Stress Group” will also be meeting weekly throughout the semester, you can find out when and where on the CCNY Events Calendar.