Ways To Reduce Stress
The human body strives to achieve balance in all things that happen in or to it. Just like the third law of motion states, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The state of complete and utter balance in the body is called homeostasis. Anything that attempts to upset this state is called a stressor, and the response to the stressor is known as stress. There are essentially two kinds of stress as far as the human body is concerned: positive and negative stress. Positive stress is such as which elicits a positive response from the body, in the form of immunity or even psychological strength. Negative stress, however, is such as which affects the body in terms of mental, physical and emotional health.
There are many medical and general ways to reduce health, and most of them have been modelled around the Four A’s. The Four A’s model is a skeleton of four ways that can be adopted to avoid stress, all of which fall under two categories. According to the Four A’s model, we can reduce stress by changing either the situation or our response to the situation.
When it comes to changing the situation, we can either:
- Avoid the situation:
- Alter the situation:
- Accept the situation:
- Adapt to the situation:
We can try to evade the factors that stress us out. For example, if crowds make us anxious, we can try online shopping instead.
Altering the situation really has a lot to do with time management and handling techniques. Make to-do lists and stick to them. A very good way of doing so is to cross off every task that you complete off the list. This will not only give you personal satisfaction, but also motivate you to work to complete other tasks on your list.
Similarly, if you have a habit of procrastinating, you can complete less important tasks as a way to put off the more important ones.
In the same way, when talking about changing our response to the situation, we can:
Accepting something that goes against what you want or are used to is hard, but a very good way to refrain from stressing yourself out over it is to talk to people and try to let your feelings out. This will act as a cathartic medium for you, and you will feel lighter and happier.
Another way to deal with stress is to adapt to the hostile situation. For example, when moving to a big city from a small town, you are bound to feel stressed at the culture and lifestyle differences. However, by giving yourself some time and exposing yourself to the city atmosphere periodically, you can get used to the ways of the new place and soon become a part of it.
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Young people should have everything to be happy about, but as the generation with the least responsibility we actually experience the most stress. A 2013 survey by the Nightline Association found that 65% of students feel stressed.
Students juggle part time jobs with university, worry about assignments and stress about the future and how to make the next step. Trying to manage all these things at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
As a student, every spare minute seems to be filled with worrying – you feel like you have to achieve something and make plans for your future. Instead of relaxing in the holidays, you're planning an internship to add to your CV, or working to earn some well-needed extra cash.
If you're not careful, working too hard and worrying too much can lead to "burnout" – when everything seems bleak and you have nothing left to give.
It might not seem like it when you're feeling down, but living a more stress free life is possible. There are some really easy ways to beat stress effectively. Here are some that I have encountered as a student:
1. A varied and healthy diet
Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, such as orange or grapefruit juice, are said to be good for your immune system so can help with stress.
When you're busy and tired it can be tempting just to grab another pizza or ready meal, but cooking from scratch can be therapeutic as well as being healthier.
Doing sport at least once a week is the best way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins, which make you feel good. Even daily walks of 30 minutes can help reduce stress levels but it's even better to work out intensively. Even if you don't feel like it at the time you will feel the benefits afterwards.
Joining a sports club could also help with stress as the regular contact with other people should help improve your mood.
And why not try yoga? It's a great way to ease your mind and relax your muscles.
It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really help with stress levels. If you've never tried meditation before, it's worth a go.
Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm you down and beat the stress.
4. Take breaks regularly
Short breaks between working can help you switch off. But longer breaks are important too.
How about taking the weekend off to relax? Make time for fun and for yourself even if this means that you have to schedule time away from your work. You'll hopefully come back to your work feeling fresh.
5. Get a pet
It is said that spending time with animals is good for your health. If you pat a dog for a couple of minutes, your body releases hormones that make you feel happy and can decrease the amount of stress in your system.
Most uni halls won't let you keep an animal though, so spending some time with friends or family who have pets is a good option: you get the love without the commitment.
6. Sleep (and sign off Facebook)
Sleep is always the best medicine and some people find that small 20-minute naps can help increase productivity.
As students we tend to spend too much time on social media sites and answering emails, texts and phone calls. Sociability is fun – but too much of it, and too much computer time, can lead to more stress.
Failing to switch off from work because of your electronic gadgets will only make you even more stressed.
7. Quit smoking
Some people say they smoke to relax, but researchers on the European Board for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco suggest that nicotine suppresses the hormone serotonin, which fights stress. Another good reason to quit.
8. Try to see the positive side
If you missed a deadline, try to appreciate what you learned from this mistake: now you know how to plan ahead. Things might seem bad, but if you try, there is usually something positive to be learned.
9. Listen to music
Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind. If you're feeling stressed, putting on some calming music while you work could really help.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it's really true. Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress.
Not taking life too seriously can help everyone live a better and easier life. Make time for yourself, log out of Twitter and take breaks. It's about time that we students accept that we can achieve just as much in life without all the stress.
How do you manage stress? Share your tips in the comments section below