If you spent time in the St. Francis food tent after Hurricane Sandy hit, you may have noticed people getting a massage, acupuncture, or a reiki treatment.
After seeing the effects Sandy had on Rockaway residents, Stress Is Gone founder Brett Cotter approached Msgr. Brown, who gave the green light to allow stress relief tools and professionals into the tent to help ease the pain.
Most of the people who received treatments were extremely grateful. However, tents are made to go up and come down quickly.
When the tent closed stress was still very high. Cotter then approached Colleen O’Rourke and Meghan Courtney with the W.I.S.H. Foundation. Through these dynamic and dedicated women and with the help of John Mc- Cann, the Belle Harbor Yacht Club became the next site to host free stress relief classes for Rockaway residents. Brett Cotter and John Roberts, a retired stress management expert and teacher for the Department of Education, teamed up to offer an effective stress management program that started to help residents on a deeper level.
Angela F. of Rockaway commented, “Attending the classes has taught me proactive skills to take better care of myself. I’ve learned techniques to reduce my stress levels, so the feelings are no longer unmanageable.”
Due to renovations, the BHYC was no longer able to provide space for the classes. A participant in the weekly group graciously offered to host the program at her home and the classes continued.
Another Rockaway resident Dympna noted about the program, “The objective is to make stress relief as natural as breathing itself, resulting in an experience that quickly calms the mind and body.”
The classes have four components: music and movement to release physical tension, an assessment to surface the source of the stress, guided expression to release emotional stress, and meditation to clear mental stress.
Vicky S. of Belle Harbor expressed that, “Since attending this class my ability to cope with stress and my decision making ability has improved dramatically.”
“The most important thing to remember about stress is that it’s just a reaction”, says Cotter. “We can quickly disengage our fight-or-flight reaction by; (1) Touching the tension in our body. (2) Breathing deep and slow, and (3) Once per breath silently saying, “I’m okay”, until all the tension goes away.
Practicing this technique at night helps people fall asleep fast.
Applying the technique during the day each time we’re stressed, helps us regain calmness and clarity while facing stressful situations.
Today the classes are offered every other Monday at 6 p.m. on Beach 126th Street.
Let’s continue to rock the stress out of Rockaway.