The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Amid rising stress levels and rapidly approaching finals, students may find outlets for stress relief through University initiatives.

Penn’s Department of Health Promotion and Education offers the “Peace of Mind in Stressful Times” program, featuring free, 50-minute individual stress reduction sessions with health and wellness educator Sandi Herman.

These sessions include meditation, visualization techniques and acupuncture.

Pottruck Fitness Center offers free classes during “Stress Relief Week” from April 25 to 30 in yoga and pilates, as well as free chair massages.

The School of Medicine’s Penn Program for Mindfulness has developed its own stress management curriculum, which includes relaxation techniques, exercise and cognitive approaches. Students may contact the department to sign up for classes.

Those seeking stress counseling may also go to Counseling and Psychological Services, which offers free meditation workshops and several stress management methods.

Some stress is “positive” — but it’s often difficult for students to realize when their stress has escalated to a more serious problem, according to CAPS Director Bill Alexander.

If a student can’t see their “way out of a problem,” a normal set of tasks becomes “worrisome,” Alexander said.

If you notice changes in your eating and sleeping habits, or drastic mood changes, your stress level may have become a serious problem, Alexander continued.

He recommended regularly doing something non-academic that still “activates your mind” instead of “vegging out” to relax.

For students who are looking for quick study breaks, one of Penn’s most popular stress-relievers is the “Canine Chillout” in the Rodin College House rooftop lounge. The event, organized by VETPETS, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s pet-visitation outreach program, features several dogs, along with free food from Greek Lady.

Being around pets can affect physiological responses like blood pressure, heart rate and breathing patterns, according to Veterinary Grief Counselor Michelle Pich. The principle of the dog visitation is “holistic” — being able to enjoy the “small things in life” may benefit student health overall, she said.

“When you have an animal around, it’s sometimes really hard not to smile,” Pich added.

Building up peer support is also important, according to Penn President Amy Gutmann.

“To be in a high powered educational institution comes along with a normal degree of stress,” she said, emphasizing that the University works to prevent stress from becoming anxiety or depression.

Alexander echoed the same sentiments. “There’s going to be stress at Penn,” he said. “So we say, how are you going to manage it, because it’s not going away.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.