Five strategies to reduce stress

Kate Marlett 

kmarlett@uccs.edu 

     As exams and assignments from midterms and finals begin to fall on students’ shoulders, stress can run rampant. The word “deadline” holds a lot of meaning for students as they rush to complete everything by a certain due date.  

     It is easy to become wrapped up in this cycle of stress. Because of this, it is important to remember to refocus, take a break and see the bigger picture. Below are five practical strategies to help you manage your stress this semester:  

Listen to music 

     Music can help set the tone. In movies and television, music is used to create a mood, whether that be happy, sad or scary. It is the same with real life. 

     Creating a playlist or listening to one by someone else can significantly help in reducing stress. I sometimes put on peaceful spa music while I study or work on my assignments. Setting a peaceful and calming soundtrack for your day can help in managing stress and encouraging a peaceful mental environment. 

     The Scribe has a staff playlist for the month of November. Listen here

Express your creativity 

     Creativity is something that is important to remember to hold on to, even if class assignments do not require it. Engaging in activities such as creating visual art, writing, making music or playing an instrument can help reduce stress.  

     The options do not stop here; there are endless avenues through which creativity can be expressed. Perhaps creativity could be expressed through baking or cooking. It can also be done by doing makeup. 

     The main point is to take a break from hard work and to focus on the creative; creativity is something that can be lost while engaging in a lot of logical and practical thinking. 

Try meditation 

     Some believe that the reduction of stress can begin in the mind. Taking a few minutes every day to relax and cool off can help significantly. These moments are important as they can allow clarity and refocusing on daily tasks. 

     Mindset matters and beginning each day with a few peaceful moments and a positive outlook can help reduce stress. 

     Meditation comes in a variety of forms. It could be expressed through breathing exercises, focusing on an inspirational or meaningful passage of text, or taking time to plan out your week with breaks accounted for. 

Keep a journal 

     Writing down ideas that come to mind can help organize thoughts and clear out stress. This could take the form of a creative writing notebook, a personal diary or even a planner. 

     The most important thing to remember while writing a journal entry is to be honest. Being honest with oneself while communicating thoughts is incredibly important.  

     Writing down and expressing what is on your mind helps to identify the source of the stress so that you can begin the work of unpacking it.  

     Keeping track of personal thoughts while also staying organized with assignments can assist in time management as well as understanding trends in thought and mood patterns. 

Exercise 

     There are many benefits to physical exercise. It can help strengthen your body while also helping relax and refocus the mind.  

     There are many different types of exercise to choose from. Going on a run or a walk, playing a team sport, engaging in weight training or practicing yoga are all great options for exercise. Yoga is a form of exercise that can be very helpful in recentering the body while also refocusing the mind. 

     Getting outside can also help when engaging in a sport or physical activity. Taking a break from studying to enjoy some fresh air can go a long way in reducing stress. 

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