As busy college students or even afterwards in the "real world," stress is always prevalent. It's insidious and though psychologists do mention that there is a distinction between good stress and bad stress, more often than not we subject ourselves to the latter. We forget about our health and our mental state when trying to accomplish superhuman goals. The longer you succumb to this stress, the more negative the impact is on your health. To help you with your battle against stress, here are five methods to help:
1. Take a step back and think about your surroundings at least once a day.
Okay now, I know you've heard about mindfulness to the point where it's frustrating and almost cliché. However, it does have published evidence that it helps in reducing stress. Positive benefits of mindfulness include reducing physical ailments, ameliorating psychiatric conditions, and increase stress coping mechanisms. All it takes is having a certain time a day where you focus on one task.
2. Reach out to your social network.
It's easy to forget about your social needs when you're stressed and trying to get everything on your to-do list done. However, humans are social creatures (even introverts need some time with people though definitely not as much as extroverts). So make sure to take the time to reach out to your support group, even if you think you don't have time. It will help you feel reenergized and actually increase your productivity.
3. Listen to music.
This one's a gimme. Listening to music has been shown to decrease anxiety immensely. But make sure that you are also practicing mindfulness when listening to it for maximum effect, otherwise it just remains as background noise (though this too has been shown to be helpful). In fact, why not take the time to listen to the song that was scientifically created to reduce stress (also keep in mind that it is illegal to listen to this song while driving due to its calming effects):
4. Get moving.
You've probably heard this one before, but I cannot stress enough just how much exercise can help reduce your stress levels. Just make sure to remember that there is no one form of exercise. Anything that gets you up and about can work.
5. Start a gratitude journal.
Humans naturally have a tendency to focus on the negative. Starting a gratitude journal will help you realize all that is going well in your life. Something as simple as "I ate my favorite candy bar" counts, and that is what makes a gratitude journal so amazing. You begin to realize the little, positive things that happen in your daily life.
***Please note that these are all suggestions. If you are facing crippling levels of stress and are unable to cope, these might be signs of a more intense condition. Please seek medical attention if this is the case.***