Natural Methods of Managing Stress

There are many simple ways to deal with the stress of balancing a busy university schedule

As students at Mount Allison, we are no strangers to stress. Pressure to balance our academics, jobs, extra-curricular activities and social lives can leave us with very little time to relax. At times, excessive stress can be debilitating and actually hinder your ability to get everything done. However, there are many natural methods to help manage stress on a daily basis.
Living an active, healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce your stress. Exercise improves your overall health, which in turn helps you maintain a healthier mind. Physical activity releases endorphins which help improve your mood and self-confidence. Exercise also helps you focus and shed the specific stresses of the day. Regular exercise can even improve your quality of sleep, which can often be interrupted by stress or anxiety.
Meditation and breathing exercises can also be very useful in focusing and cooling down during a particularly stressful time. Deep breathing has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby helping achieve relaxation. Activities such as yoga can be particularly helpful as they combine physical exercise with breathing techniques. “Mental silence” through meditation can also be very useful in staying calm and managing stress. Meditation helps clear you clear your mind, stay calm, and focus on a singular task. The Mt. A Wellness Center hosts a Mindful Meditation group each week to help students develop this stress management technique.
The Wellness Center has a variety of resources available to help students manage stress when they have difficulty doing so on their own. In addition to regular medicine, the Wellness Center offers appointments in massage therapy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Massage therapy is not only beneficial in alleviating pain but also in managing stress. By relieving the physical strain of stress on your body, your mind feels more relaxed as well. The Wellness Center also offers counselling sessions for those who need help learning how to manage their stress on a daily basis.
Finally, when managing stress do not forget to take time for yourself. Schedule time to relax and unwind by reading a good book or listening to music. Laughter itself has been shown to improve the physical effects of stress. Spending time with others is also very important in reducing stress and staying mentally healthy. Though it may feel that you need to constantly stay in and study, taking time to build relationships and have fun with others can leave you feeling rejuvenated. Chronic stress can cause a wide variety of health problems on a daily basis and later in life. Although you want to do well and succeed academically, be sure to look beyond your daily obligations and enjoy life. In the end, you will feel much better for it.

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