Most students experience significant amounts of stress, but with all of the activities and responsibilities that fill a student's schedule, it's sometimes difficult to find the time to try new stress relievers to help dissipate stress. That's why we've compiled the following list of stress relievers that are most appropriate for students: relatively easy, quick, and relevant to a student's life and types of stress. They'll help you to function at your best, and enjoy the journey.
1. Power Naps
Students, with their packed schedules, are notorious for missing sleep. Unfortunately, operating in a sleep-deprived state puts you at a distinct disadvantage. You're less productive, you may find it more difficult to learn, and you may even be a hazard behind the wheel!
This one is easy, effective, and can help you to do better in school. Visualizations can help you calm down, detach from what's stressing you, and turn off your body's stress response. You can also use visualizations to prepare for presentations, to stress less and score higher on tests by vividly seeing yourself performing just as you'd like to.
-- Here's How:
- Get into a comfortable position.
- Use diaphragm deep breathing and close your eyes, focusing on breathing in peace and breathing out stress
- Once you get to a relaxed state, begin to envision yourself in the midst of the most relaxing environment you cna imagine. For some, this would be floating in the cool, clear waters off of a remote tropical island, where attractive people bring drinks and smooth music plays in the background. For others, this might be sitting by a fire in a secluded snow cabin, deep in the woods, sipping hot cocoa and reading the latest bestseller while wrapped in a plush blanket and fuzzy slippers.
- As you imagine your scene, try to involve all of your senses. What does it look like? How does it feel? What special scents are involved? Do you hear the roar of a fire, the splash of a waterfall, or the sounds of chipper birds?
- Stay here for as long as you like. When you're ready to come back to reality, count back from ten or twenty, and tell yourself that when you get to 'one', you'll feel serene and alert, and enjoy the rest of your day.
One of the healthiest ways to blow off steam is to get a regular exercise program going. Students can work exercise into their schedules by doing yoga in the morning, walking or biking to campus, or reviewing for tests with a friend while walking on a treadmill at the gym. Starting now and keeping a regular exercise practice throughout your lifetime can help you live longer and enjoy life more.
4. Breathing Exercise
When your body is experiencing a stress response, you're often not thinking as clearly as you could be. A quick way to calm down is to practice breathing exercises. These can be done virtually anywhere to relieve stress in minutes, and are especially effective for reducing anxiety before or even during tests, as well as during other times when stress feels overwhelming.
- Sit or stand in a relaxed position
- Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to five in your head
- Let the air out from your mouth, counting to eight in your head as it leaves your lungs. Repeat several times. That's it!
- As you breathe, let your abdomen expand outward, rather than raising your shoulders. This is a more relaxed and natural way to breathe, and helps your lungs fill themselves more fully with air, releasing more "old" air.
- You can do this just a few times to release tension, or for several minutes as a form of meditation.
- If you like, you can make your throat a little tighter as you exhale so the air comes out like a whisper. This type of breathing is used in some forms of yoga and can add additional tension relief.
Another great stress reliever that can be used during tests as well as before bed (to prepare for sleep). or at other times when stress has you physically 'wound up', is something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR. This technique involves tensing and relaxing all muscles until the body is completely relaxed. With practice, you can learn to release stress from your body in seconds.
- After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
- Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale
- Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling
- Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
- Continue down your body, repeating the procedure
A convenient stress reliever that has also shown many cognitive benefits, music can help to relieve stress and either calm yourself down or stimulate your mind as your situation warrants. Students can harness the benefits of music by playing classical music while studying, playing upbeat music to 'wake up' mentally, or relaxing with the help of their favorite slow melodies,
7. Stay Organized
It's a fact that clutter causes stress, and can decrease productivity and even cost you money! Many students live in a cluttered place and even have cluttered study areas, and this can have negative effects on grades. One way to reduce the amount of stress that you experience as a student is to keep a minimalist, soothing study area that's free of distractions and clutter. It's worth the effort!
8. Eat Right
You may not realize it, but your diet can either boost our brain power or sap you of mental energy! While a healthy diet isn't generally thought of as a stress management technique or a study aid, it can actually function as both! It takes virtually no extra time, and can keep you from experiencing diet-related mood swings, light-handedness and more.
9. Self Hypnosis
Students often find themselves 'getting very sleepy' (like when they pull all-nights), but - all kidding aside- self hypnosis can be effective stress management tool and a power productivity tool as well. With it, you can help yourself release tension from your body and stress from your mind, and plant the seeds of success in your subconscious mind with the power of autosuggestion.
- Find a quiet place, free of distractions, and block off some uninterrupted time.
- Get into a comfortable position. Many people like to recline, but others simply fall asleep if they get this comfortable, and prefer to sit in a cozy chair or in a cross-legged position. Experiment, and see what works for you.
- Decide on a goal for your session, and put it into a positive statement for later use. For example, if you’d like to help yourself become less messy, decide on the positive phrase, “I’m becoming organized and efficient” (or something similar) rather than the negative statement, “I’m becoming less messy”. Since the subconscious mind doesn’t always register negatives, your mind might focus on the word ‘messy’, reinforcing that idea, rather on the goal of ‘organized’.
- Start breathing deeply, expanding your abdomen on the inhale instead of raising your shoulders. Imagine that you are breathing in ‘calmness’ and breathing out all the stress from your day. Feel the oxygen spread from your chest through your arms and legs and to your fingers and toes.
- Pick an environment that’s relaxing to you, and imagine going further and further into it. Imagine that you are walking down a long corridor, or deep into the woods, for example, leaving your current surroundings far behind. You may not get a feeling of ‘Wow, I’m in an altered state now’, but if you keep focusing on this visualization, you should get there. It’s more like the state you get into while daydreaming or deep in concentration than what you may be expecting.
- When you are completely relaxed and feeling far from your regular life, begin repeating the positive phrase you chose for this session. You may choose to visualize the words, focus on their sound in your head, or visualize the end result.
10. Positive Thinking and Affirmations
Did you know that optimists actually experience better circumstances, in part because their way of thinking helps to create better circumstances in their lives? It's true! The habit of optimism and positive thinking can bring better health, better relationships, and, yes, better grades.
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