10 Ways to Cope with Stress

by Lauren Ruby

1)   Say “hello” to a stranger
This can help others to feel included, and lead to a friendlier, inclusive environment wherever you are. It can make yours or someone else’s day better having someone to talk to and it can boost your mood.

2)   Ask a friend for a hug
Hugs from people you trust can fight stress and depression. It can also boost your mental health, making you feel protected, remove fear and expand your confidence levels. Stress relieving hormones and dopamine, the ‘happy hormone’, are released when (consensually) longer hugs are given. There are many more benefits for giving and receiving hugs, so give them frequently.

3)   Look up at the stars
Gazing at the stars can leave you in a state of stillness, giving you a chance to enjoy nature, the universe, and life. It can be a break from the business of everyday life.

4)   Practice breathing slowly
I know that deadlines and assignments can feel like they are crushing you and the stress of not getting everything done can leave you breathless. When this happens, remember to JUST BREATHE! Close your eyes and focus on slowly breathing to relax your body and unwind your mind. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold it for around 3-4 seconds, then release it gradually through your mouth. Once you are calm, you will be able to make a rational decision on your next steps. 

5)   Learn to whistle a tune
Whistling can lift your mood and promotes healthy blood circulation and normal heart rates. It’s also okay if you can’t whistle, humming works too!

6)   Read a poem
Reading poems can improve memory and critical thinking, since a lot of poems have hidden meanings and force your brain to think about what the author wanted to say. It can also develop empathy and encourages engagement in other art forms. 

7)   Listen to a symphony
Classical music can boost your brain activity for focusing on writing or other homework. It also has a calming effect that can relieve stress and help you focus.

8)   Watch a ballet
A classic way to watch a story in a formal (or informal) setting with beautiful music and fluent movements.

Bonus: Being part of a dance class can have physical benefits. This can include: better posture; strength and endurance; flexibility; confidence booster; coordination; having a sense of discipline and getting active.

9)   Read a story curled up in bed
Reading before bed is a great way to calm down and quiet your mind before you go to sleep. As a result, you will have a better night’s sleep. It can be done no matter what your relationship is with reading.

10) Do a brand new thing
Do something out of your comfort zone to overcome any fear that is controlling you. Do something creative to stimulate the creative side of your brain. Do things you wouldn’t even think of doing (as long as it is safe, and won’t cause harm to yourself or others) to broaden your horizons and get to know yourself better as a person. And don’t be discouraged if you try something and it doesn’t come out to your liking, not everything is meant for you, just try something else.

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