Students can de-stress at The Well’s new biofeedback Resilience Lab

Mia Liadis (left), wellness health educator, demonstrates the biofeedback device with junior, Nicole Concepción (right). Photo by Tzeggai Isaac.

Eduardo Acevedo, Contributing Writer

The Wellness Resource Center now has a Resilience Lab, which provides students a way to learn and practice mindfulness techniques. 

Peer health educator Nicole Concepción says learned breathing techniques at the lab, which help with stress. Photo by Tzeggai Isaac.

The lab, introduced this semester, uses biofeedback to read heart rates and measure stress index while the patient practices mindfulness techniques. The data can then recommend techniques such as guided imagery, a form of focused relaxation that can relax stress.

Available activities include guided meditation and mindfulness techniques designed to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and manage stress.

Mia Liadis, a wellness health educator at The Well, said the biofeedback is run through a program called HeartMath, which “record[s] your heart rate variance to see how it is connected to your thoughts, physiological and stress responses.”

“The concept of mindfulness is to acknowledge what is happening in your head without getting carried away by your thoughts,” Liadis said.

This technique provides space between emotional responses and “the decision we make from that response.” She relates the concept of mindfulness to an instance of road rage. Mindfulness would be the “space” between being cut off in traffic, and the action one takes to cope with being cut off.

“It’s interesting to have the actual, physical evidence of a heart monitor to go along with stress research,” senior Logan Carmone said.

The biofeedback is received through a small clip attached to the patient’s earlobe while they perform a deep breathing exercise. As the device reads the wearer’s heart rate, it establishes a baseline stress reading.

“Just sitting here and being able to play around with [the biofeedback device] was pretty helpful,” said junior Nicole Concepión, who learned breathing techniques to help with stress. As a peer health educator, she promotes wellness topics such as healthy relationships and physical health.

“There are a lot of great resources on campus, and I think The Well has been doing a great job in trying to teach [people] how to be less stressed,” Concepción said.

The Well offers 20-minute group meditation sessions every Wednesday at 2:30pm. Photo by Tzeggai Isaac.

Students can use the biofeedback technology during a drop-in self-guided session, or a one-on-one session, which are by appointment only.

On Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., the Resilience Lab offers 20-minute group meditation sessions.  Liadis leads the sessions, and the techniques change every week.

“If you come one week and you’re like, ‘This wasn’t really my jam,’ try to come next week and see if you like it better,” Liadis said, “because we are constantly experimenting with different types of mindfulness techniques.”

The Well holds a Resilience Workshop — an hour and a half of focusing on coping skills — every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. It’s the newest session to join the Resilience Lab, in which students can learn skills like goal setting, wellness planning and other tips to cope with stress.

“Our goal is to help [students] have a positive coherence rating,” Liadis said, “which means you are aligned positively with your heart, mind and emotions.”

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