Some ideas for deflating the stress bubble

By Renee DiPietro
March 15, 2001

by Renee DiPietro

Adrenaline rush, your heart is racing, echoing in your ears, you are sweating, you feel nausea and the butterflies in your stomach just did a triple somersault dismount off the uneven bars. what a fun way to wake up in the middle of the night. Nightmare right? Wrong, these are all physical symptoms of stress. The question is how to answer your cry for help.

How do you handle the situation when your best friend becomes overwhelmed with stress? You probably try to give them an escape from the hell of their stressful day and encourage them to relax or to escape out to a party. You tell them to forget about the problem for a little while and not to dwell on things they cannot control. As the situation gets worse you comfort them, remind them to approach their problems one step at a time and you basically are a good friend and take care of them.

When was the last time you were a good friend to yourself? Think of all that you do for other people, how much you give of yourself to others and how many times you are there for friends and family. Now is your time to look in the mirror and see the self-neglecting that is happening. When the muscles in your neck cramp up and the side of your head is throbbing you cannot concentrate or focus on what you want in life. The signs of stress need to be responded to and soothed because your body is telling you to seek some help.

If you do not know where to turn, help can always be found with the peer educators. Junior John Wood is one of the peer educators and is majoring in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice. He said that students’ main source of stress is schoolwork and he would like to remind everyone that they must “take one step at a time” when dealing with stress.

“During the last week of classes the peer educators are going to be organizing a Stress-Free Zone from 12-3 on that Tuesday and Thursday afternoons,” Wood said.

During the Stress-Free Zone, massaging chairs are going to be brought in for students to be able to kick back and relax in and aromatherapy will be taking place. A student can create a stress ball from filling a balloon with rice and flowers. Making the stress ball provides two products, a stress ball and a little procrastination, a very good friend to many.

The peer educators just started office hours this semester. They were trained last semester and currently are going through additional training. They encourage students to stop by and set up appointments if there is an issue that the student wants to discuss. Do not ignore stress because it affects daily performances and interferes with decision making. Negative thinking can result from stress and damage one’s self-confidence, according to the American Institute of Stress.

Wood said, “If you have too much to deal with, take a break and step back from the project and remind yourself to pace yourself and not to do everything at once.”

Many students have their own way of dealing with stress. “I go to the mall to shop, walk around and to eat,” said junior Conrad Crane, psychology major and Spanish minor.

“I try and find some time for me,” said junior Carolyn Ashton, psychology and Spanish major.

“I take time out to think,” said senior Abel Rodriguez, math and Spanish major. He commented later that soothing music “always does the trick.”

Stress seems like an unavoidable aspect of life but it is avoidable and has many remedies to be treated with. Each person has his or his own preference. Some more suggestions from people of all ages on how they deal with stress are to ride a motorcycle, play pool, go to the mall, set aside personal time, listen to music, grab a blanket and take a nap, and to just take a step back and look at one thing at a time.

Best case scenario is to realize there is a problem and it needs attention. The longer stress is put off, the more likely the stress will become damaging. The physical and mental strain that result from stress can affect the appetite, result in frequent colds or illness such as asthma, sexual disorders, aches and pains and feelings of intense and long-term exhaustion or tiredness, according to the American Institute of Stress.

When life’s begins to throw the fastballs and you begin to see them as threats instead of challenges, it is time to deal with the stress in your life.

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Renee DiPietro

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