Dealing With Stress

Activities for stress relief

Managing stress is a crucial skill to develop. Stress will always be prevalent, regardless of your major, career, or life situation. It’s impossible to avoid, but there are ways to put yourself in a positive mindset and not let stress control your life.

These are various activities that I do to manage and suppress my stress.

The first activity that I do when I’m overwhelmed with school and everyday pressures is to listen to relaxing music and practice deep breathing exercises. Usually, our stress comes from external forces. If you can tune out the noise, you can focus on your thoughts without distraction. This can help you re-align your thinking and put things in perspective. The music helps clear your mind and the deep breathing exercises physically calm your body.

Another activity that I do frequently when I’m stressed is hanging out with friends and being social. I recommend doing this if you can afford to spare some time. Spending time with friends is a distraction mechanism. It can take your mind off of the source of your stress. Depending on your friend group, the activities that you do will vary. My friends and I keep things lighthearted. Joking around with my friends lightens the mood and gives me a break from the weight of my stress.

The most effective technique that I’ve used to manage my stress is running.  I started running at a young age. For most of my life, it was just exercise. In middle school and high school, I ran to train for soccer. When I got to college and my stresses increased I found that running was a good way to escape. Instead of focusing on my problems, I would focus on my breathing and the physical strain.

Another aspect of running that is very therapeutic is the solitude. While it’s fun to run with a friend, it’s also very beneficial to run alone. You’re able to be alone with your thoughts.

Running also releases endorphins. This can reduce immediate anxiety. After running long distances, I feel relaxed and I can think more clearly. This is my favorite benefit of running.

These are just a few techniques that I used to manage stress. Everyone has different activities that make them happy. It’s important to do these things when you can. This seems simple but many people don’t take time out of their day to do this. By doing the things you like, it puts things in perspective and mitigates stress.