Between school, work, homework, and trying to maintain some type of social life, life can get very stressful and a little hectic. Our body has a process when responding to stress. When the body feels stressed, the hormone cortisol floods our systems, producing a “fight response” in which our heart rate goes up, we breathe more heavily (requiring more oxygen) and our blood vessels constrict. The feeling of your heart rate excelling or a pounding in the back of your head is enough to let you know you’re getting stressed or overwhelmed.
Although that anxious feeling can come upon us quickly, there are many ways to control that feeling and de-stress. Just as the body produces a stress response, the body also has a relaxation response, during which your breathing slows, and your body starts to calm itself down. Here are a few ways to de-stress:
Exercise – during a workout the body releases endorphins which can help release stress. Just 20 minutes can get you to a relaxation point. “Working out has always been my go-to de-stress activity. When I am working out, I become very focused on the activity I’m doing, which helps me forget all about what I was stressed out in the first place. My body throws that negative energy right into exercising,” said Madison Dorn, a junior communication major.
Take a Nap – let’s be honest – naps are great at any time, you really don’t need a reason for a nap. However, taking 10-20 minutes to pause and rest can be very beneficial. Not only does sleeping really help you relax, but it’s a way to separate from what is stressing you out.
Listen to Music – listening to music can be soothing and a way for your mind to focus on something else. When I’m feeling stressed, one of my favorite things to do is put my headphones in, find a favorite song, and just take a few seconds to dance. It reminds me that life is not all that serious and everyone should take a few minutes just to have fun and laugh.
Drink Green Tea – green tea contains theanine, which is an amino acid that promotes relaxation. Just drinking a cup of green tea can be very soothing to the mind. If your feeling extra stressed, you can throw a spring of lavender in there to really help you relax.
Write – dedicating time every day to write about a situation that is bothering you can greatly reduce tension and give you stress relief for the rest of the day. A journal is a place where you can reflect on your thoughts and feelings, in a place where no one can judge you.
Laugh – as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is proven to lower tension and improve blood flow. Tell yourself a joke, rent a funny movie, or hang out with that one friend who’s full of corny jokes. Laughter can help you forget about your worries for a while.
Whenever that feeling of stress comes over you, don’t panic. There are tons of ways to de-stress and relax. By doing any of these de-stress activities, your body will be able to calm down and restore itself back to its relaxation point. College is a stressful time, but as long as you don’t let the stress get to you, you’ll be just fine.