Elizabeth Soza/Contributing Writer
Counseling and Psychological Services is now offering Heartmath, a free software that helps reduce stress and anxiety and improve students’ mood.
Heartmath is a nonprofit organization that created the software to help people worldwide reduce stress, according to the Heartmath website.
Instructions on how to use Heartmath is provided by CAPS on their website and in their office. Students may ask for the program at the front desk, and they are then given an iPad to use the program.
When starting the Heartmath program, students are prompted to follow the on-screen instructions and work through various breathing exercises and images to help calm them.
Wendy Ordonez, the coordinator of Outreach and Educational Media at CAPS, oversees the program and the peer educators that help promote the program on campus.
“Hopefully they incorporate those skills of breathing in their daily lives whenever they’re feeling stressed out to help them overcome their situation quicker,” said Ordonez. “It actually helps, I used it myself.”
Over 200 students at FIU have used the software, according to Ordonez. The free software is for students only, and CAPS plans to have Peer Educators at campus events promoting Heartmath.
Daniel Pino, a Peer Educator, said that it’s important for Heartmath to reach a wide audience.
“[Heartmath is] very, very simple, it takes a minute. When we go around campus, we just ask the students how are you feeling, and perform the actual Heartmath and let them breathe for about 45 seconds, and then you show them their progress,” Pino said.
The peer educators are encouraged to try out the software so they can have a better understanding when promoting the program to other students.
“It’s a great experience,” said Luhit Recinos, a peer educator. “After a minute of use, I felt really relaxed.”
Heartmath is available free upon request at the Student Health Center 270 at Modesto Maidique Campus. It is available during their office hours, Monday and Tuesday at 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday at 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Heartmath is not yet available at the Biscayne Bay campus.
For more information visit the CAPS website at caps.fiu.edu