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Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up

Have you ever listened to one of those ridiculous radio contests where they provide listeners with a vague clue and then they have to guess what the answer is? Well, if you have not heard one of these contests I have one for you now. What is something that many people want to get rid of? I know, too specific right? How about this; it is a six letter word that we all have experienced in one way or another. It is a feeling that we all know a little something about, or if you are me you know a lot about it. The answer here is stress. We have all experienced this feeling at least once in our lifetime and it is most certainly something we always want to get rid of. After all, who wants to be stressed anyway?

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If you are a stressor like me, you will meet tons of people who are not and they will tell you to let it go. Well, that is a lot easier said than done. School is without a doubt the biggest thing I stress about, especially my GPA. However, a recent professor of mine told me that my GPA does not define who I am. There was something about my professor’s comment that was so obvious and clear, but it had never dawned on me before that my GPA really says nothing about me. It does not express that I have a job and an internship all while trying to get an education. It does not show that I am a horrible test taker because I get so anxious during exams and it certainly does not show that although I only received an 86 on an exam, I gained a lifetime of knowledge. Since the day my professor shared this insight with me, I have tried to stress less about acquiring a GPA high enough to graduate Cum Laude.

Some days are better than others and vice versa, from time to time I continue to stress about certain things like upcoming due dates. Yet, the detrimental aspect of stress is that it seems to consume you if you let it. In my experiences, I always take my stress out on other people, especially those I care most about. My boyfriend always seems to be in the line of fire for this one, which is ironic because his educational motto is “C’s get degrees”. The damaging part of all of this is the state of mind stress can cause, the anxiety it can bring, and the undesired actions it can ignite. Avoiding these scenarios is the main reason why I try very hard to manage my stress or let it go completely.

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I have realized that stress is something that will have a constant presence in my life. It is college now and in the future it will be my career or my struggle for a work-life balance. But, I have discovered a few tricks that help me stay positive and calm through stressful times. As silly as my suggestions may sound I urge you to try some to see if they work for you:

-Stop and Take a Huge Breath (7, 3, 8 Breathing Technique- Inhale slowly for 7 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale slowly for 8 seconds)

-Temporarily Removing Myself from the Situation

-Looking up Positive Videos/Quotes (This is one of the recent videos I have watched):

https://www.ted.com/talk/neil_pasricha_the_3_a_s_of_awesome)

-Drinking Chamomile or Green Tea

-Going for a Walk

-Listening to my Favorite Type of Music

-Playing with My Dogs Outside

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These may sound simple, but each of them allows me take a step back in order to regroup and relax. One thing that I did not put on my list is letting your loved ones know how much you appreciate them. This one is especially important because it makes others feel good and reinforces that their efforts in the relationship is not going unnoticed. This is that one time a year you can let all those people who you take your stress out on know that you are thankful for them. Stress is now a feeling that I have learned to manage and not affect my life. I encourage you to try my stress managing tricks or to even research some of you own that may work for you. YouTube is a great source for discovering different ways to manage stress. At first it may feel awkward and uncomfortable to work on your breathing technique, for example, but stick with what works for you and soon enough you will be experiencing a new level of tranquility. I hope my fellow stressors find the same equilibrium as I have found.

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~Angelica Cabral, Bryant University ’16

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