Published: October 10, 2023
Author: Minh Do
Dear GU students,
You have recently handled so many things at the same time! Your class and work schedule, applications, relationships, healthcare, etc. - you are trying so hard to work on the many different aspects of your life.
Your brain hurts when you try to figure things out! Your overwhelming schedule can shut you down and zap your motivation to work. You wish for a break, and that everything will turn out just fine.
What is happening to you? What is all that tiredness and unstable energy called? Stress is the term for it. Stress, by basic definition, is the state of mind when your body feels like the amount of work that you are required to do has exceeded the amount of energy that you currently possess, both physically and mentally.
We’ve got your back! Hear from some GU students who offer you some personal de-stress methods they use to help them deal with the stress of college life.
Get yourself moving 🏃♀️🤸♀️
Take a hike in the Gullies or play sand volleyball (right in front of Hood Hall). During physical activity, your brain releases endorphins and dopamine which both can relieve pain and boost your mood. When you get yourself moving, you divert your attention on away from negative thoughts while releasing those happy-hormone endorphins. You should not handle the problem when you are not thinking logically - when you let your emotions dictate your actions.
Treat yourself 🎮🍨🧋🛌
Let yourself do whatever you enjoy! Camden Durbin (GU freshman) shared that whenever he is stressed, he just needs to sit, relax, and play games. “You cannot figure out a single thing if your mind is not relaxed,” he said. A sweet treat is a well-known mood-booster, so get yourself an ice cream from Milk House or a Caramelicious espresso drink from Scooter Coffee. Personally (voice over from the writer), a Sunday nap day always helps!
The power of pets 🐶🐱🐄
Interacting with animals makes for a great healing session. You can go to Marcoot Creamery to see the cows or visit the Humane Society to pet the animals. Pets give you support through their own love language, especially dogs, as most of the time have their undivided attention on you. Many scientific studies also show that playing with animals can reduce a stress hormone called cortisol and lift your mood up.
Working on the relationship with yourself ❤️
Having external support is wonderful, but the most important part to de-stressing is focusing on the relationship you have with yourself. That relationship goes beyond self-care; it digs deep into your emotions and helps you understand why you feel that way. Some GU students have amazing ways to strengthen their bond with themselves. Callie Adkins (GU junior) shares that she often writes down all of the things she has to tackle in life because she knows that when she actually sees it on paper, she can handle things easier. Practicing gratitude has been a game-changing habit for her. “From a psychology class, our professor taught us that there is a part of the brain that generates anxiety, and luckily that’s also where the brain contains the emotion of gratitude. So by theory, if you are feeling grateful for something, it blocks out the anxiety that we have,” she shared passionately. Cassidy Law (GU freshman) said that she often listens to calming music with no lyrics to calm herself down. When you are listening to music, your mind waves is synchronized with the beats in the music, and it lets your heavy thoughts flow through lightly. Here at GU there are various musical concerts in the Black Room, so please check the weekly Heart Beats email so that you don’t miss any good music. Music can always be a great escape from stress.
Speaking of escapes, reading can be a perfect escape from the stresses of college life. Cassidy also loves reading books. ‘“Divergent" is my favorite book. It is about a different universe, a different reality. This book allows me to escape from reality, and then when I come back, it allows me to tackle the stress without my initial feeling.”
I really hope that these stress busters can be added to your mental toolbox, to help you in some way. Please take good care of yourself and I pray for God to gracefully lead you on campus throughout this semester! Amen.