Take a moment to De-stress

Ali Chiavetta
Staff Writer

As the middle of the semester approaches and professors prepare to give midterms, it’s really easy to let your stress level to get out of control. For some, this may cause fatigue, irritability, or heightened emotional reactions. For others, the symptoms are more severe and can cause depression, anxiety disorders, or panic attacks. Managing stress in healthy ways is a skill that can be learned over time if the participant is willing.

Kate Morin, a blogger for the health site Greatist, writes about 23 ways to greatly reduce stress. Among those methods are a few that stand out. Progressive relaxation is a great technique that helps individuals relax in a physical way. If a person is physically relaxed, they are more likely to become mentally and emotionally relaxed as well. Progressive relaxation occurs when the individual starts by tensing their entire body as much as they possibly can. Little by little, starting at the toes, and working up through the rest of their body, the person relaxes their muscles.

Before you go insane studying for midterms, try deep breathing exercises, which have been proven to lower blood pressure and anxiety levels.
Before you go insane studying for midterms, try deep breathing exercises, which have been proven to lower blood pressure and anxiety levels.

This method is particularly useful if the person is lying in bed getting ready to sleep. The next three methods go hand in hand with one another: deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Often times, yoga involves breathing deeply and meditating, as well as the benefits of the exercise itself. Deep breathing has many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and lowering anxiety levels. Another method of stress relief is to try aromatherapy. Certain scents like lavender and eucalyptus have been clinically shown to reduce stress levels. For students that reside in residence halls and are not allowed to burn candles, try using a lotion or body spray with those scents.

Chewing gum has been proven to lower cortisol levels and increase alertness. If you have a large project to work on or test to study for, try chewing gum to lower your anxiety level and clear your head. Another method of stress relief is self-hypnosis. To some, this may seem a bit farfetched, but training your brain to calm down in stressful situations can prove to be very beneficial. One of the most popular methods of stress relief is to tap into the creative side of your brain.

Try writing lyrics or poetry, for example, or working on a creative art project. By focusing on one short term task for that amount of time, you are able to put aside the things that are stressing you out. Using your creativity is a great way to express yourself and your emotions. Displays of affection like hugging and kissing are shown to release chemicals that lower stress levels and reduce blood pressure levels in adults. Another great way to get rid of stress is to take a walk. Taking a walk is often looked over by people who dislike exercise, but even a leisurely walk can work wonders for your emotional health.

By breathing in fresh air, you are able to clear your head and think more rationally about whatever problems you may be facing.
The bodily movement will raise your heart rate and release endorphins, which send “happy chemicals” to your brain. Though there are also many unhealthy ways of relieving stress, such as drinking or taking drugs, these solutions are temporary and harmful in the long run. Treat your body well with these stress relief methods, and you may be surprised as your worries begin to feel distant.