When exams start creeping up on us, most students begin to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Exams measure how well students perform under pressure while lacking normal resources such as books, notes, and a phone. They also tend to cause students to stress, have anxiety attacks, and constantly worry about failing. We’ve all been there, so here’s ten ways to help you deal/relieve stress.
1. Deep breathing: When you notice yourself start to become short on breath or feel anxious, stopping to take calm, deep breaths send signals to your body to relax and calm down. This helps relax your muscles, soothe tension, and relieve stress.
2. Expressive Writing: Allowing yourself to find a quiet place and collect your thoughts alone helps reduce stress. When you feel overwhelmed and your problems feel too big to control, writing them down brings everything into perspective and allows you to view your stressors differently.
3. Visualization: Helps you use your imagination to create images in your head that not only calm you down, but will let you create goals and find ways to achieve them. The simplest way to do so is to close your eyes, and imagine a peaceful environment, once you’ve calmed yourself down you create picture goals and ways to achieve them.
4. Stretching: When most people get stressed their muscles become very tight and knotted. Stretching relieves the pressure and tension throughout their body. Stretching also helps clear the mind and increase productivity.
5. Cinnamon or peppermint: Studies show that the smell of cinnamon and peppermint helps increase alertness and ease frustration. Aromatherapy helps stimulate the brain and the cinnamon or peppermint boost motivation, performance, and stop fatigue. Studies also show the peppermint can decrease anxiety.
6. Meditation: While meditating you allow yourself to focus on one thought or subject, ignoring everything that triggers your anxiety, and it allows you to let the negative thoughts go. Some people prefer writing down their troubles on a piece of paper, then burning it in a fire place, as a symbolic way of letting go of them.
7. Challenge defeating thoughts: Rather than telling yourself “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to fail” push yourself to do better. Tell yourself that you can and will because you are capable and smart. Don’t let your negative thoughts hold you back.
8. Exercise: Some people use exercising as an easy, healthy way to take your mind off whatever is stressing them out. Exercise is a great way to distract yourself while working off any anger and anxiety caused by stress.
9. Unplug: Any form of technology distracts us and reminds us of whatever is the source of our stress because we know we could be more productive, but we won’t put down our phones. Taking a break from your phone allows you time to process your thoughts as well as be productive, possibly solving whatever is the root of your stress or anxiety.
10. Eat certain foods: Wild salmon, oysters, oatmeal, dark chocolate, orange juice, asparagus, and pistachios all help relieve stress.
While some are more preferable than others, they all help with stress from controlling stress hormone levels to increasing feelings of tranquility. So next time you’re neck deep in homework and lecture notes for finals week, take time to eat some chocolate.