Some 200 SJC Brooklyn First Year Experience students dipped their toes into the world of stress reduction this week during a day of self-care exercises presented by the campus’ Counseling & Wellness Office.
The event on Monday gave freshmen and first-year transfer students the opportunity to introduce themselves to various modes of stress reduction techniques, including yoga, mindful meditation, deep listening and harmonic breathing.
St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., said he hoped that Self-Care Day would spark lifelong interests in mindful activities among the students.
“One of the things that happens to students is that they lose touch with their physical body when they’re in college because they have all of these demanding courses and things they have to do, said Dr. Boomgaarden, a certified yoga instructor who led the “Presidential Flow” yoga session in an upstairs studio of The Hill Center. “This is an opportunity for them to get back in touch with themselves.”
Downstairs, on the basketball court, SJC Brooklyn psychology professor Peter Lin, Ph.D., taught a “Mindful Meditation” class, discussing how mental health plays an integral role in person’s general health.
Central to this is a healthy sense of one’s self, he said. Through mindfulness and meditation, a person can feel rooted in this sense and enjoy relief from stress and anxiety. In fact, one mindfulness meditation session can reduce anxiety, according to a study published last year by Science Daily.
“Regardless of faith or background, every culture across the world believes in the importance of being true to oneself,” Dr. Lin said. “It’s in the College’s motto, esse non videri: to be, not to seem; for one to be truly at peace, it is essential that a person is aligned and not in tension with that core sense of self.”
In Tuohy Hall’s Student lounge, the calming effects of art were showcased to a group of first-year students by Veronica Kaninska, instructor of therapeutic recreation at SJC Brooklyn. During her session, students created origami hearts with positive messages in the center to share with one another.
“With this exercise, we developed motor skills through the art of folding to help us with stress relief,” said Arnaldo Deliz ’22, a peer mentor. “By taking a moment to channel one’s thoughts to create something beautiful, it helps to relieve fear and stress and generate positive energy.”
The other activities — which were all held during the campus’ Common Hour — included:
Held in the Team Room of The Hill Center, a professional sound and vibration expert to played brass Himalayan bowls and encouraged students to experi
ence the healing art of deep listening.
SJC Brooklyn’s Emily Cementina led a slow restorative form of meditation and body movement inside The Parlors. The group received the added benefit of enjoying tea and aromatherapy.
A small group of students got the chance to experience new age relaxation techniques, via virtual reality goggles.