English prof helps ‘pop’ student stress

May 5, 2011 Community Print Print
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Pop! Pop! Pop!

The sound of popping bubble wrap resounded in the College Union April 26 when English Professor Mark Schneberger encouraged students to visualize their current stress as an unlucky bubble, and pop it.

Schneberger said stress is neither good nor bad — it just is.

He said he is working to become certified as a licensed professional counselor.

Schneberger said there are different sorts of stress, including eustress and de-stress. Although eustress is a motivator, de-stress occurs when a person has too much stress.

This bad kind of stress cannot be dealt with unless you have the proper tools, he said.

Interestingly enough, Schneberger said, the brain doesn’t know the difference between a real or fake trigger.

“If you imagine that a car is going to hit you, your mind has already triggered, and you’re veering,” he said. “It’s perception a lot of the time that triggers it.”

This is part of the de-stress form of stress, Schneberger said.

He said the first step in handling stress is to compartmentalize.

Can you control your stress? If you can’t, Schneberger said you should set up a specific time to stress about it. If you can, you should prioritize. What can be done first or second?

He said prioritizing and compartmentalizing will reduce your stress in the long run.

“If you can control your breath, you can control everything,” Schneberger said.

Within 30 seconds of controlled breathing, you are relaxed or more relaxed during a stressful situation.

“I know that sounds like new age-y type of stuff, but if you control your breath, you control your mind and your heart rate will lower,” he said.

Schneberger also offered another strategy to help with stress.

“Another thing you can do if you’re really stressed, people will think you’re crazy, but it doesn’t matter because it’s better to be crazy outward then feel crazy on the inside…” and then there was a sudden burst of laughter from Schneberger.

His point was that laughter, even phony laughter, reduces stress.

Alisha Tew, nursing major, said she found the workshop to be useful.

“The fake laugh was fun,” Tew said. “And so were his jokes. It was good to just quit thinking.”

Student Kaysha Floyd said that she attended the workshop for the helpful tips, which in turn also fulfilled her Success in College and Life portfolio requirement.

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