Expert: All stress not necessarily bad

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer

Work-place stress is an inevitable fact of life, and so Eastern New Mexico University’s counciling and career services department made it the subject of their first Lunch ‘n Learn workshop of the semester Tuesday morning.

“I hope that (participants) walk away with some actual techniques to cope with stress better,” said Susan Larsen, ENMU’s director of counciling and career services.

According to the workshop, stress is the ‘wear and tear’ our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. There is good stress, which compels us to action, and bad stress which can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression and it can also lead to health conditions like headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Larsen has been at ENMU for four years, but she has been speaking out about the effects of stress and offering helpful stress management techniques for more than 15 years.

“I hope they get a little bit of fun,” Larsen said. “Because fun helps you to renew your sense of humor and helps you to go back and handle your stress better.”

Kathie Rolston is a secretary at ENMU’s health and physical education department and said the workshop helped her.

“(The workshop) was fantastic. It gives a lot of good ideas for how to deal with stress,” Rolston said. “(Our stress has to deal with) students not finding their classes and deadlines, stuff like that.”

“We can’t eliminate it, stress is a fact of life,” Larsen said. “But we can help people to manage it.”

Bonnie Sink is an office coordinator at ENMU.

“Our phone is probably our biggest stressor up there and (also) working with vendors,” Sink said. “You know, you learn a lot of quick tips and if you just answer the phone with a smile you’d be surprised how you can diffuse (problems).”

In the past, the committee has conducted similar workshops on topics like time management, organization, dealing with difficult people and customer service.

“It helps make our jobs easier and to give better service to students and people who interact with Eastern,” Larsen said. “Stress also has a lot to do with study habits and test anxiety,” Larsen said. “If we can help (students) to manage their stress and test anxiety than we can help them do better in school.”