Exercise your Mind and Body

Kharissa Forte

When speaking in terms of health, the first concerns relate to what people eat and how often they exercise. Being healthy, however, also pertains to being well. The MindBody Connection (MBC) focuses on enriching students to benefit their wellness and health.


Psychologist Rachel Pierce of UMKC’s Counseling Center in the Division of Student Affairs has served as a member of MBC’s coordination team since its opening in 2007. Her role varies from student counseling to supervising doctoral students who are training to become psychologists and managing the Center’s outreach activities.


Pierce explained the connection between the mind and body is inseparable.

“Our mind directs our body, and our body provides feedback to our brain,” she said. “Stress and emotions are experienced both mentally and physically, and many mental health concerns have physical symptoms. Likewise, many physical health concerns can have an emotional impact.”


MBC provides a space for students to learn skills to help manage academic and personal stressors.  It strives to help students recognize personal strengths and grow. It also helps students find relevant campus and community resources based on their personal needs.

MBC offers various services to achieve this objective. The most popular service is the state-of-the-art massage chair.

MBC also has two HeartMath computer stations.

“HeartMath is a computerized biofeedback program by which, by seeing your heart rate on the screen, you learn to induce feelings of calmness, relaxation, focus, and positive emotional state,” Pierce said.

“Wii Hours of the Day” is another UMKC favorite, for which students can drop by and play the Wii during designated hours for fun physical exercise. MindBody also has a “ReadCycle Center” that serves as a library for students who want to learn more about holistic wellness.  “MBC staff members are available to consult privately with students who want some short-term support around a specific problem or concern,” Pierce said. Other staff members include clinical social worker, Dale Voigt-Catlin, and UMKC Master’s in Counseling program alum, Robin Laubenthal. MBC is searching for a Health Educator to join their team.

For people who can’t make it to the MBC, there is MBC2GO, an online collection of stress management resources, interactivities, soothing sounds, articles and blogs. MBC2GO even has five apps for Android and iPhone users. The apps are great for those seeking stress management, biofeedback, are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or who want track their emotions and stress responses.


Pierce says that MBC has served as a daily reminder to slow down and take care of herself. Her favorite relaxation technique is HeartMath.


“Once you get it down,” she said, “it’s a skill you can activate anywhere. It gets me into a calm and focused space where I feel more open and capable. It’s not hard to learn and it’s actually fun to see your heart rhythm change on the screen.”


The MindBody Connection can be visited from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in room 112 of the Student Success Center. For more information, visit www.umkc.edu/MindBody and “like” them on Facebook.


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