Views: Stress management

March 19, 2012 | 12:19 p.m.

Stress is inevitable but should be managed for better overall health

Culture | Emma Theis

Views: Managing stress

Don't let stress dominate your life.

Stress--it’s a disease that is present in everyone, everywhere. Its symptoms can be headaches, chest pains, stomachaches, migraines, heart attacks, strokes, seizures and so much more. People worldwide deal with these symptoms on daily basis due to innumerable reasons caused by family, work, school, money, health, etc.

Why does the world in 2012 continue to exist in such distress? Why do people carry on just “dealing” with their stress while continually adding more to their pile? For some, stress is unavoidable; it is a side effect to building your life, career and family. Yet for others, stress is purposefully present to cover deeper problems or memories. No matter what the context, stress is here and it’s not going away anytime in the near future.

So what do we do about it?

Even though they sound quite similar, “dealing” with stress and “managing” stress are two wildly different things. Dealing with stress is just covering up the symptoms without assessing the source. Managing stress is assessing the source of your symptoms, changing your thought processes and sometimes getting help. Most of the time people just deal with their stress instead of managing it, when managing it could actually control the symptoms.

A lot of people turn to food when they’re feeling blue. I have found myself on many an occasion sitting at the kitchen table devouring an entire tub of ice cream while wallowing in my sorrow. It’s human nature to want to try and make ourselves feel better, and most of the time there is nothing wrong with that.

The problem occurs when people turn to the wrong things to soothe their stress. Drugs and alcohol deceive the consumer into the thinking that their stress is being managed, when in reality they are just covering up their symptoms in a very unhealthy way that will only lead to increased stress down the road.

For the student, stress may be caused your classes, so an effective managing solution may be to plan a detailed homework schedule, sign up for tutoring and join a study group. These actions would ease the source of the stress and therefore soothe the symptoms.

Exercise is the number one stress symptom soother. I know you have heard this a million times. The last thing you want to do when you’re feeling stressed and depressed is go for a run. Even the act of peeling yourself of the couch may be a victory for you, but when you do any sort of physical activity that gets your heart rate up, it temporarily relieves your stress. Don’t believe me? Try it!

I stood at the bottom of my stairwell tonight and listened to my roommate blasting the latest pop music through her stereo and dancing away her stress about her college classes. Dancing is an amazingly healthy way to relieve stress symptoms; it gets the blood flowing and clears your head.  The next time a stressful situation comes up, take a deep breath and break into dance!


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