Health and Fitness: Swap the stress for peace of mind

Being a college student can be stressful.  We all have those days when we are frantically doing work and have no time to sit down and relax.

Stress can be caused by pretty much anything: procrastinating, spending too much time on the computer, not sleeping enough and partying too much, not being organized and not staying healthy.

It is normal, but too much of it can be bad for your mind and body. When you are under a lot of stress, your body releases a “flight or fight” hormone called cortisol, and if you stay stressed for long periods of time, it resides in your body and can end up doing damage.

According to Medical News Today (MNT), stress can make your blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar increase because of the hormones that it releases. Stress is also proven to cause depression, anxiety, acne, sleep problems, digestive problems, heart disease, loss of memory and numerous other problems.

The best way to prevent these health issues is to decrease the stressor, plain and simple. If you are constantly stressed out because you find yourself waiting until the last minute to complete schoolwork, you should avoid procrastinating and work on your time management skills.

You can also relieve stress through various activities. MNT states that there are five easy ways to help relieve stress: exercise, healthy habits, adequate sleep, laughter and organization.

Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, making you feel elated and clearing your head of negativity. Simple options like running, walking and biking can help in doing so. The best part about exercise is that you don’t have to be an athlete or in any sort of top physical shape in order to relieve stress.

Coping with daily stress is much easier if you have a healthy body. If you fuel your body properly all day long, your mind will clear up, which will decrease your stress. To keep your body feeling good, you should avoid unhealthy habits that are linked to stress such as smoking, excessive drinking, eating too much or not eating enough.

Sleep is something that a lot of college students are deprived of. Being tired all of the time increases your stress levels because sleep deprivation makes it harder to concentrate on tasks. Also limiting the amount of caffeine and sugar you eat will make you feel more relaxed and allow you to sleep better.

Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine when it comes to being tense. Making jokes with your friends or watching a funny movie can cause your muscles to relax, therefore releasing some built-up tension in your body.

Finally, there is no hope of relieving stress if you are not organized and if you don’t set aside time for managing your schedule. When you know where everything is located you are left with peace of mind.

      Being a college student can be hard at times, but it doesn’t always have to be something we need to stress out about.

-Paige McAtee

Junior journalism major

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