7. Managing Stress Through Mindfulness with Dina Nunziato

Stress takes on a whole new meaning in 2020. How can you give yourself moments of micro-recoveries throughout your stressful days? In this episode, Sara speaks with Dina Nunziato, LCSW, the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at the Health & Wellness Center at Sarah Lawrence College about recognizing stress in the body, mindfulness and other self care techniques. 

In the Saracast, Sara uses Creative Exercises to ground herself & her guests before each interview. We can bring moments of intention and creative expression to our day in small ways, like at the start or end of meetings, or as we transition from one activity to the next, to feel centered, grounded, and present as we move through our days.

Creative Exercise: Heart to Heart

Place your hands over your heart as you breathe, noticing your heartbeat slowing down. Pay attention to the pace of your heartbeat as it slows. Take three deep breaths in and out. 

 

“Luckily, our bodies have not just a sympathetic nervous system but a parasympathetic nervous system that can balance one another. Once you notice that your body has gone into a stress response, the point is not to stay in this chronic stress space but to really start to elicit a relaxation response, where you bring on the parasympathetic nervous system and really start to balance it. We can’t wait until that annual 2 week vacation. I would argue we can’t even wait for a weekend. I argue for micro-recoveries all day long so that you’re not ratcheting up, but all day long you’re trying to keep yourself in balance and in what I would call a healthy stress place.” -Dina Nunziato

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Resources Mentioned

Managing Stress and Developing Educator Self-Care through Mindfulness Course Description

About the Counseling & Psychological Services at Sarah Lawrence College

About Dialectical Behavior Therapy

“One of the things that I really hone in on is the idea of understanding how your body communicates and reacts to the stress response. We’ve all heard of the stress response, flight fight or freeze, and I think it’s very, very important to know our own body’s signals. Because the response my body sends to me when I’m stressed are not necessarily the signals your body sends to you when you’re stressed. We can talk about them in general, because they’re physical. There are physical cues, emotional, behavioral, there’s cognitive cues. You need to understand your own stress response, and then you need to pay attention to it.” -Dina Nunziato

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About Dina Nunziato

Dina Nunziato, LCSW, is the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services at the Health & Wellness Center at Sarah Lawrence College. She completed her Master’s degree at NYU in 1989 and received postgraduate training at the Training & Research Institute for Self Psychology. In addition to her work at Sarah Lawrence, she has taught Integrated Clinical Practice at NYU’s Graduate School of Clinical Social Work. Her current research interests include the use of mindfulness and positive psychology to support academic success, social engagement, and emotional wellbeing.

 

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