Stress Awareness Month: How to listen to your body, mind and spirit

Managing stress with relaxation

Downtown relaxation (© Chris LeCroy)

We are all probably feeling a little restless this time of year. Most of us have been cooped up inside since November and we’re more than ready for a little spring cleaning. But, before you begin sweeping the floors and cleaning the closets, it’s important that you take time to spring clean your body, mind and spirit. April is Stress Awareness Month and it’s about really taking the time to listen to your body, mind and spirit. Here are a few things to get started to a healthier you!

Let’s celebrate!

Spring is about new life and new beginnings—what better way to celebrate a new you by being aware of the stressors in your life? April is Stress Awareness Month and you can celebrate by learning how to manage your life while reducing the stress load that comes with being a college student! Lauren E. Miller wrote about these issues in her March 30, 2011 press release titled “Stress Awareness Month: How Well Are You Coping With Stress? Stress Relief Expert Lauren E. Miller Offers Quick Tips for Stress Management.” Miller suggests changing your thought patterns to help manage stressors that may be present in your life. “For example, if you have created a structure that is based on this belief: ‘nothing ever works out for me,’ then know that you will tune into everything that backs that belief up. Your thoughts create what you tune into, so choose wisely,” says Miller.

Keeping positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind, especially when you’ve got a lot going on in your life—finals, job hunting, thesis work, etc. —is key to maintaining power over your stress.

Find help on campus

If you spend a lot of time on or around your campus, be sure to seek out help from those around you if you feel your stress level rising. A quick search on your college or university’s website for “stress management” can bring up a selection of articles or information on who you can talk to for help. Eastern Michigan University’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers 10 tips for reducing stressors.

  • Learn to relax: It may seem simple, but when we’re busy college students, relaxation isn’t something that comes naturally. Give yourself 5-10 minutes throughout the day to sit and breathe. Nothing else.
  • Get organized: Along with making lists of assignment due dates and appointments, pencil in time for meals, sleep and relationships. Narrowing your to-do list to only daily tasks will help keep things manageable.
  • Watch your habits: When we get stressed we tend to eat more junk food, exercise less, and drink excesses of caffeine and alcohol. Listen to your body and limit the sugar intake and add in more physical activity.
  • Talk to friends: Talk is cheap and laughter can be just what the doctor ordered, as it is especially good for dealing with stress. Remember, you’re not in this alone and if nothing else, your classmates are probably feeling just as stressed as you and could use company.

Finding the strength within

WebMD suggests that the keys to managing stress can be found within. In their May 11, 2010 article, “Stress Management: Doing Meditation,” Kathleen Romito, MD, and Lisa S. Weinstock, MD, write, “You don’t need any special tools or equipment to practice … meditation. You just sit in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Or you can lie down, if that’s more comfortable.” The key to meditation is allowing your mind to “focus on what you feel at the present moment.”

Being mindful of one thing at a time is the key to practicing meditation and relieving stress.  By practicing meditation, your mind will be able to handle stressors with more ease.

So go ahead—listen to your body and acknowledge that your life may have stressors and then move on and get on with your life. The more quickly you change your attitude toward stress, the more quickly your mind will feel at ease.

What are some of your methods for coping with stress?

 

2 replies
  1. Javier
    Javier says:

    This couldn’t of come at a better time. I will speak from experience. I was doing everything wrong these past couple of months which leading to anxiety. I am glad I read this. This past week has been challenging. I’ve learned all these techniques the hard way. It has changed my life a great deal. I will apply these techniques year round. I will also add that taking baths and getting a massage helps a great deal.

    Reply
  2. Magalie Jeanty
    Magalie Jeanty says:

    It is important to acknowledge that you are stress and willing to do something about it. what work for me is prayer and meditation. we know god is in the mist of our lives, also having friends & family that cares about you helps you through out your challenging moment.

    Reply

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