No need to stress

There are a few ways to relax as the most stressful time of the semester approaches.

Vanessa Ramstack

Stress. Even the slightest mention perpetuates its existence. I for one have fallen victim to its sly ways. It interferes with school, work, friend and family time âÄî always at the most inopportune moments.
As midterms and finals approach, I find it increasingly difficult to remain positive. Every two-page paper seems like an eight-page paper and every quiz feels like a culmination of everything IâÄôve learned âÄî but also forgotten âÄî in my entire life.
Some people are able to remain cool and collected at all times, even when schoolwork is devouring their brains.
I do not have this ability. I cannot simply ignore stressors in the hopes they will disappear. The longer I ignore them, the faster they seem to multiply.
If you are in the same boat of stressing over stress, uncovering any shred of usable advice can be difficult. As brilliant as it would be to drop everything and take a trip to India for mediation and self-discovery purposes âÄî à la âÄúEat, Pray, LoveâÄù âÄî the same stressors which we hope to escape are what pull us into the unhealthy realm of apathy and worry. Then, when nothing is accomplished at all, we feel more stressed.
I am not here to feed you the secret to a stress-free life. A task like that stresses me out way too much. (I am trying to avoid that.) Besides, everyone handles stress in a different way.
But I have taken time out of my studying schedule to read up on things like âÄú7 Tricks for Instant CalmâÄù from Health.com, to seek advice from the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Center for Spirituality and Healing and to browse through my second-hand copy of the âÄúTao Te Ching.âÄù
Health.com suggests grooving to your favorite music to reach an instant state of calm. The article cites research from the University of Maryland, which says listening to your favorite songs relaxes blood vessels. This allows for more blood flow, which calms the body down.
I traveled back to the 90s to reacquaint myself with the ever-beloved boy bands *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. You donâÄôt have to follow suit, but beware: âÄúBye Bye ByeâÄú might make you want to bust a move, a sure way to de-stress.
Another simple tension reliever involves applying 30 seconds of firm pressure to the âÄúhokuâÄù spot: the skin between the index finger and thumb. Researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University say this traditional Chinese medicine trick has the ability to reduce upper-body tension by 39 percent.
I tried this. I still have not had consistent success âÄî but do not let my uncertainty stop you. Half a minute out of your day possibly leading to a better day overall does not seem like too much of a gamble.
I contacted the UniversityâÄôs Center for Spirituality and Healing and received a âÄúStress MasteryâÄù outline. Most of the bullet points are pretty basic, but one stuck out in a âÄúduh-how-come-I-never-thought-of-thatâÄù way. It said, âÄúChoose not to worry about things you cannot control.âÄù Simple enough, right?
The âÄúTao Te ChingâÄù says, âÄúStop trying to control. Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself.âÄù
To me, this means focusing on the small goals in life but never forgetting the bigger picture. It means embracing each day for what it is, but never allowing tomorrow to inhibit the possibilities of today.
This thought process might be too simple for some of you, or perhaps too corny. But when stress unexpectedly appears, you are going to need a battle plan. Enough with the avoidance tactics; meet stress head on and show it you mean business.