Stress Relief Tip #1: Get Physical

We are all feeling the pressure at this time of year with midterms ending, term papers approaching, balancing time between Halloween festivities and academic endeavors and what not. Stress is inevitable at any given point in your University career. We all may feel the urge to disintegrate our healthy eating and adequate sleep patterns in replacement for junk food and all-nighters, but there are simpler, easy ways to drastically decrease your stress levels in this intense academic-focused time.
So, what is stress and what causes it?
Stress is the acting of forces on a individual both externally and internally that in turn affect the body and mind. We generally view stress as a negative force but in fact stress can be a culmination of positive or negative experiences or experiences of neutrality. Like I said, stress is caused by external and internal forces. External forces include school, jobs, parents, financial issues, etc. Internal sources of stress include mental and physical state, such as amount of sleep, exercise received, nutritional status and emotional well-being. Everyone deals with stress differently and we all identify with very different stressors in our lives. Something important to understand in your attempt to decrease and even eliminate certain stresses in your life is identifying what causes your stress and how you react to the influences.
Identifying Stress
When identifying your level of stress look at somatic (physical) symptoms such as tiredness or lack of sleep, increased desire for junk food, muscle tensions and differences in breathing such as sighing and heavy breathing. Other symptoms of stress include more emotional aspects such as anxiety, mood changes, and irritability. It is very important to note these changes during stressful situations or moments in your daily life in order to do something about them. In addition, it is extremely important to inform friends, family and especially colleagues of stressful situations to avoid potential disagreements and upsets. It may sound silly, but getting things out on the table will help others understand your mood changes and stressors.
Health Promo On The Go Stress Relief Tip #1: Get Physical
A continuous exercise regime, whether it be daily intense workouts or just 20 minute runs, 3 times a week, is one of the best solutions to stress management. On a more scientific note, exercising regularly throughout both times of relaxation and stress, decreases the production of stress hormones and associated neurochemicals in the body and brain, essentially, exercise acts as an anti-depressant and combats stress and anxiety. Additionally, we have an abundance of resources for exercise here at UBC, so there are no excuses! Some ideas for exercise to be done on a regular basis include yoga, running, walks, swimming and even pumping some iron at the gym. In addition, a regular exercise pattern will create some sense of routine in your busy everyday life which also proves a great cure for periodic stress.
So, come up with a simple workout plan that is easy for you to maintain and can help to dissolve some of your academic, financial or social stresses and get the most out of your university experiences!

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