Thursday, November 02, 2006

You Can Learn To Control Everyday Stress
By Alee Morrison

It is completely accurate to say that students these days are loaded with so much on their plates that the idea of a stress-free life seems like a fairytale that would take place in a far-off land. Stress has become a part of our everyday lives as students.

It can be caused by numerous things that we deal with daily, from the mountainous piles of schoolwork to the competition we fight everyday with our eyes, begging them to stay opened for one more hour in order to finish a paper. From the need to keep a social status and life while managing enough time to finish the necessary work, to feeling the need for our mother’s homemade muffins in the mornings instead of the venti skim latte from Starbucks that we must have in order to begin our day in a productive state.

No matter the cause of the stress we experience, it is important to treat it in some way everyday to avoid the possibility of going insane. Studies have found that yoga provides a stress free feel to one’s day due to the relaxation and breathing exercises. Breathing is a huge part of relaxation that we unfortunately forget to take time to do. Of course, we breathe naturally in order to survive, but we must take a few minutes out of our frenzied schedules to merely suck in air deeply through our noses and exhale through our mouths. This should be done for a few minutes throughout the day as it provides the opportunity to clear our minds of anything bothersome and simply focus on the air we are breathing in and out.

By allowing thirty extra minutes in the morning before beginning a day filled with any type of work, we are able to have time that our bodies and minds need to themselves to concentrate on being who we truly are before we must deal with our everyday routines of note taking, writing papers, doing math problems, hearing lectures, or maybe even listening to our boss complain about the lack of organization at work. These extra minutes that we take out of our day can used by reading for pleasure, sitting and thinking about things unrelated to school and work, practicing yoga and reconnecting the body with the mind, or even going for a jog.

It is important to begin your morning with emphasis on yourself, your mind and your body. This is unfortunately a concept we overlook because we are too tired to wake up thirty minutes early, or we have some work to finish before rushing to class, but it is a form of relaxation for you brain as well as your muscles.

Time management is another key aspect of keeping life as stress free as possible. This is a concept that is generally learned during our college years as we are now beginning to face life in the real world. (This is quite a scary thought, being a college student myself. I enjoyed a world where my parents paid for my meals, cleaned my room, and established that my only job in high school was to make good grades. Now, I am living in a daunting place where I go to work a few times a week to pay for my meals and clean my room myself). I was used to a world where the only time management that I had to think about was getting my homework done before dance class every night.

Now I am bogged down with deadlines, a work schedule, and a social atmosphere along with every other college student my age. It is hard for us to actually find time to spend with our friends without thinking in the back of our minds how we should really be at home or in the library glued to a computer writing our seven page paper that is due in a few days. However, balance is an essential ingredient in life. If we live life focused solely on the completion of school work, then we will miss out on important parts of life that we should be experiencing as young people in our twenties. On the other hand, if we only focus on these fun and exciting times we are having, then we will fail at our schoolwork resulting in a bad and useless college experience.

The key to living a less stressful life is to remember that you are a person who exists on this planet and needs time outside and away from any type of work or anything that causes a stressful feeling in the mind or in the body. We must take time to appreciate our natural state of being and reward who we are with a few minutes of personal gratification in any form that suits one’s brain and/or body.

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