November 7, 2018

Today is National Stress Awareness Day. This is a holiday that we involuntarily celebrate 365 days a year. A study from Ohio State University published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dealing with long-term stress can actually change your genes, leading to an increase in inflammation that can bring on a variety of health issues.

Everyone has different stressors in their life. From homework to natural disasters, learning how to properly cope with stress can go a long way for your everyday health.

Here are the best and worst ways to deal with stress:

  • DO: Get some fresh air
    • Sunlight provides us with vitamin D that can elevate your levels of serotonin (that’s the stuff that makes you feel good). Taking in the different sights, sounds and smells can redirect your focus from your worries. Also, isn’t it just fun to go out and enjoy nature? Fargo-Moorhead is plentiful with parks and walking paths. Find where to explore here.
  • DON’T: Rely on unhealthy vices
    • Drowning your stress in alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine or an unhealthy relationship might feel good in the moment, but turning to these unhealthy choices will only set you up to stress out more when the high wears off. Entering into this vicious cycle will just make you feel more stressed over and over again.
  • DO: Rely on a schedule
    • Whether it is listening to your favorite playlist on the way to class, taking a morning walk or taking a bath before bed — having a comforting routine can help reduce stress. Having a consistent routine will allow you to feel like you have control over your day and will also help you sleep better. Try keeping a planner that doubles as a personal journal, this will allow you to keep track of your life and document personal goals and achievements. Amazon has a wide variety of options.
  • DON’T: Hibernate
    • Hiding under the covers sounds like a lot of fun when real responsibilities are knocking on your bedroom door. Sleeping too much actually is never the answer. This will only make you feel more tired and it will make it harder for you to focus. It is recommended that college students get an average of eight hours a night.
  • DO: Get out of your head
    • Stop that loop of negative thoughts immediately. Try engaging in activates that puts focus elsewhere. Try working with your hands by baking, sketching, knitting or engage your body in physical activity. Did you know MSUM has a rock wall? Exercise will produce endorphins, lowering the symptoms associated with mild depression. It will also boost your energy and help you remain calmer and more focused. The Russell and Ann Gerdin Wellness Center has something for everyone. Immerse yourself and get ready to press that mute button.
  • DON’T: Ignore the problem
    • Avoiding the stress in your life is counterproductive. Putting something off will only make it worse. Try to live by the two-minute rule. If it’s something you can get done in two minutes or less — like paying a bill or doing the dishes — just do it now so you don’t have to worry about it later.

Here are a few more articles on how to cope with stress in a healthy way.

Tips to control stress

Coping with stress

How to be mentally strong

Emma Harris

Emma Harris
Admissions Marketing Assistant
Public Relations and Mass Communications