6 Things You Can Do To Combat Stress
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Health and Wellness

6 Things You Can Do To Combat Stress

With finals week steadily approaching...

6 Things You Can Do To Combat Stress

Every high school or college student knows that the end of the semester is easily one of the most stressful times out of the academic year. Finals week and the week proceeding it can get pretty crazy because there is a time crunch to hand in any remaining assignments and study for final examinations. With that being said, it becomes very easy for students to feel overwhelmed and just plain stressed out. Having just experienced a stressful couple of weeks myself, I decided to assemble a list of things that help me decompress and get in control of my end of the semester freak out. I encourage you to try some of them out while continuing to do whatever it is that helps you de-stress.

1. Take a deep breath

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Breathing deeply is a simple and natural way to relax your body. It increases the oxygen supply to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body. It also gives you something to focus on besides whatever it is that is causing your stress and anxiety. This is an easy way to reduce stress and quiet your mind that can be performed literally anywhere and at any time.

2. Find a furry friend

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Research shows that spending time with an animal can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain to ease tension and improve your mood. Many colleges and universities schedule time for therapy dogs to come and interact with students during midterms and finals week. If your school does not offer this service, try visiting the local pet shelter to get some puppy snuggles! Not only will you benefit from visiting, but they will love the attention as well.

3. Yoga

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Yoga is a great way to reduce tension (both physical and mental). The physical challenges brought on by yoga can assist you in diverting your mind from what is stressing you out to the task at hand. Some specific poses that are helpful in relieving stress include child’s pose, corpse pose, and standing forward bend. Practicing yoga will not only improve your mood, but it will also improve your balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength so you should give it a try!

4. Get moving

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It is important to fit enough time into your busy schedule to exercise because it is essential in relieving stress and improving your overall well-being. Working out on a regular basis lowers your stress level by pumping up your endorphins (the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters). This is typically referred to as “runner’s high.” Exercise is also helpful in reducing stress because it distracts your mind from the day’s events and forces you to focus on your body’s movements. Last, exercising regularly will improve your sleep and boost your self-confidence. Lack of sleep is a direct contributor to high levels of stress and anxiety. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress while improving your physical well-being simultaneously!

5. Eat healthy

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Changing your diet from junk to healthy food is another step that you can take to improve your mood. I know it can be hard sometimes to eat right when you are stressed out. When I am stressed out, I tend to crave comfort foods like macaroni and cheese or pizza. After a few days of eating poorly, I typically start to feel worse. Complex carbohydrates including whole grain breads, pasta, and oatmeal prompt the body to produce more serotonin. Leafy green vegetables like spinach are high in magnesium which is responsible for combatting headaches and fatigue, both of which can result in more stress. Almonds and other nuts are high in B vitamins, which are essential for energy metabolism. Eating raw vegetables can reduce tension in a mechanical way through munching. Staying hydrated is important too because it will eliminate the occurrence of dehydration and headaches. After getting into a healthy eating routine you will probably notice an improvement in your energy and in your mood!

6. Talk it out

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When you are feeling stressed or anxious, one of the worst things you can do is to bottle it up inside or pretend that those feelings do not exist. Talking to a family member or a friend can dramatically reduce your stress. When you discuss your feelings with another person, you will often notice that they are having similar problems. It is always nice to be assured that you are not alone.

I hope that the next time you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out that you will consider giving some of these things a try. Excessive amounts of stress has very harmful effects on the human body and your life. Stress can cause depression, hypertension, stomach ulcers, and musculoskeletal pain (often felt in the back and shoulders). Stress also increases your risk for a number of health problems including but not limited to heart attacks, stroke, influenza, the common cold, and other opportunistic infections and illnesses. Combating stress before it becomes too overpowering is so important. Pay attention to your body, recognize when you need to step back and recuperate, and respond accordingly by taking time to do things you enjoy and to take care of yourself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Chris Barbalis

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