Health Corner: Tips to relieve stress


BY DANA REYNOLDS – STAFF WRITER

With the semester soon ending and finals fast approaching, every one of us becomes consumed in exorbitant amounts of stress. It is not uncommon to see Centre students frantically sprinting across campus after oversleeping due to a long night of studying, and trying to get to the library to have as much study time as possible. Stress is a normal part of life; our bodies are equipped to handle stress and react to it. It can be positive, as it helps us remain more alert and productive, but it can be negative, causing a person to face continuing challenges without relief.

Continued stress can lead to distress, which causes further symptoms including: headaches, stomach aches, elevated blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and chest pain. Although sometimes seen as an outlet and simple solution, drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco products are some of the worst things you can do to relieve stress. These products instead tend to put the body in an even more stressed state and cause more problems.

Below is a list of tested and approved tips to relieve stress that may work for you.

  1. Keep a journal. This may seem weird, but it works. Sometimes, when I feel extremely overwhelmed, I take a second, open a Microsoft Word file, and write down everything that I am thinking about. This process allows you to evaluate your current state and put things into perspective. In the grand scheme of things, that paper, final, or final project is really not that bad. It is only a small part of your life—and, at that, it’s helping you culminate the skills you will need for the real world. While you’re writing down what you’re thinking, write down what you are grateful for as well. You’ll realize that there are many things to be grateful for.
  2. Practice deep breathing. Sit up straight, with your eyes closed and one hand on your belly, then take five minutes to focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and then slowly exhale through your mouth. According to psychologist Judith Tutin, “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.” I tried this for myself and found that it does work. After focusing on my breathing, I studied more effectively and found that I got more work done.
  3. Get a cup of coffee/meal with a friend. Whenever I am feeling particularly stressed, I’ve found that laughing and talking with friends one of the best things that I can do. Laughing makes me feel better and less stressed.
  4. Exercise. When I am really stressed, running is the best thing I can do. It helps me refocus—even if it is just for twenty minutes. It improves your mood, pumps endorphins, and gets rid of daily tension.
    When sophomore Amber Cowell feels stressed she goes rollerblading with friends.
    “It is something different to do and helps me relax,” she said. “We blade around campus. It lets us forget about all the work we have to do for a little while.”
  1. Take a nap. Sometimes, you just need twenty minutes to recharge. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), researchers found that a short nap can reduce stress and support a healthier immune system. I’ve found that sometimes, I just need a nap. Don’t feel guilty. Just do it.
  2. Listen to music. Sometimes listening to music/singing along is a great way to take a few minutes and de-stress.
    Senior Victor Pataky enjoys listening to music when he is stressed.
    “I listen to music and stop for a few minutes,” he said. “Afterwards, I feel calm and relaxed. I am able to study more productively.”

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