GHS students learned some healthy ways to tackle their stress last week during at a talk that was one of the Outreach SADD Club’s Alcohol Awareness Week events.
Roberta Brown Brugo of Greenwich Hospital’s Health Touch Program talked about “self-care” in the context of teens’ daily stress. Exploring healthy ways to deal with stress, Ms. Brown Brugo broke her talk into four components: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual when she asked students how they relieve stress.
During the exercises she led, Brown Brugo asked students to become aware of their breathing. She suggested they breathe in through their noses, and exhale out through their mouths. Then, she asked them to place one hand on their belly and the other on their hearts.
“Let the silence come,” she said. “Come to an inner awareness, and and inner peace, just by becoming aware of your breathing,” she continued, suggesting the students place both feet on the floor and use this breathing technique when they have anxious feelings.
Ms. Brown Brugo’s goal was to give students the tools to calm themselves. She explained the “fight-or-flight” instinct as as a reaction to a real or imagined threat.
“The response may not be to a real threat,” she said. “Long ago, when a tiger was coming after indigenous people, they had to run. So, all of the blood comes to the internal organs because you’re stressed and you have to get away,” she said. “But what’s happening now is that we’re staying in that stressed response, and we’re not learning how to provide ourselves soothing techniques to become calm.”
Ms. Brown Brugo said that chronic stress effects long-term memory. “It effects your blood vessels, and causes a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, depression and certain types of cancer,” she said, adding that she was visiting GHS to give students resources to combat stress, including meditation.
“Your brain is a lot of water. Hydration is really important,” she said. “How do you relieve tension? How about dancing? Walking. Exercise, Movement… and putting good foods in your body. Emotionally, what do you do if you feel stress?” she asked. Some of the answers were medication, playing music, and taking a walk with friends and talking.
“Be still. You can learn a lot,” Brown Brugo said. “It allows you to notice what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and what sensations you’re feeling in your body and any emotions.”
Roberta Brown Brugo, a registered nurse and certified Healing Touch practitioner, visits GHS with her Healing Touch volunteers during midterms, finals and during the annual health fair. She and her volunteers share a technique they describe as an energy therapy that helps people feel calm and relaxed.
Brown Brugo said that at Greenwich Hospital, the Healing Touch volunteers work with patients in several departments, from pediatrics to cancer support, and even help patients after surgery.