As final exams and projects start making way, UCF students relaxed and relieved stress to the beat of several drums in a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) workshop Tuesday.
During the “Drum Your Stress Away” workshop, students played different kinds of drums including talking drums, steel, frame and buffalo drums. They followed each other’s rhythm as they went high and low to be in synch and later played a slower beat as they imagined themselves in a relaxed, stress-free place through guided imagery.
The “Drum Your Stress Away” workshop is part of CAPS’ “Take Charge Tuesdays,” a series of workshops on a variety of topics, including improving your mood, stress relief and help with careers, that are led by different therapists.
Christine Dassow, a specialist in student counseling, is trained in health rhythms, a research-oriented and outcome-based protocol with the intent to relieve stress, to help people feel empowered and feel the support and connection that is around them. She said the workshop is very important, especially during this time of the semester.
“We want to make sure people are handling their stress in a healthy way,” Dassow said. “The workshop’s purpose is to help relieve stress in a very physical and emotional way.”
Robert Dwyer, licensed mental health counselor at CAPS, said the drum workshop is helpful because not all mental health necessarily deals with anxiety or depression. There is a way to increase a person’s overall well-being by doing things that are really fun and connected to other people.
“We perform better when our stress is in a range that we can control,” Dwyer said. “A little too much stress and we become overwhelmed and we don’t have the opportunity to show what we know in our classes and if we are too low on stress, we become really disengaged.”
Dwyer said the workshops are meant to help students get to the “sweet spot in between” where they are really engaged and motivated but not overwhelmed.
Dassow said drumming is helpful physically, spiritually and emotionally. It releases endorphins therefore there is more happiness, a decrease in anger, anxiety and depression. Physically people are going to have a relaxed heart rate and less muscle tension, it also helps increase immunity, is really soothing, grounding and it helps with release and catharsis.
The “Drum Your Stress Away” workshops are offered once a month by CAPS and any student is welcome to attend without appointment, whether they have experience in drumming or not.
Other workshops CAPS will be offering before and during finals week include:
Mindfulness Monday - Nov. 27 at noon
Take Charge of Social Anxiety - Nov. 28 at 4 p.m.
Take Charge of Test Anxiety - Dec. 4 at noon and Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.
Bodhi Time with the CAPS Therapy Dog - Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.