A note from the Editor: Stress

As the end of the year approaches, stress levels rise while students prepare for finals, plan for next semester or start to figure out life after college, and it all seems uncontrollable. But stress management is all about taking control: of your future, of your emotions, of your schedule and everything that demands your attention in a given day.

The first step is identifying the sources of your stress. Maybe it’s not the workload causing your stress, but rather your own procrastination and approaching deadlines. Maybe you are taking on too much and need to find a better balance between work, school and relaxation. It is also time to take a look at the ways you cope with stress, as there are many healthy and unhealthy options out there.

Unhealthy ways in which students deal with stress include smoking, drinking, zoning out in front of TV or computer screens for hours, procrastinating, sleeping too much, taking your stress out on others, among many things.

The more we stress out, the more susceptible we are to colds, flu virus, and life-threatening illnesses, and if you are using any of the stress relievers above, you are even more susceptible.

So take control of your life. Breathe easy. Laugh. Remove yourself from those stressful situations if possible. Just take a moment to smile.

Normally people smile because they are happy and relaxed, but it has actually been proven that smiling can make you happy. In 2009 scientists performed an experiment in which they administered a depression and anxiety survey to a group of women after giving half of them frown-inhibiting Botox injections. Their study concluded that women who were unable to frown generally were happier than the women with the ability to frown.

I’m not saying suppress your emotions, but once in a while just smile for no reason at all. It may lighten your mood as well as those around you.

If smiling doesn’t work, do what I do: yoga.

Yoga is a combination of stretching exercises, breathing and relaxation. It releases the tension in your muscles while forcing you to focus only on your breath, and ignore what is going on around you. The deeper breathing attained in yoga helps quiet the body and the mind.

It releases you from your everyday torments, and if you end each session with a little meditation in Shavasana, you won’t regret it.

I hear a lot of people say, “I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible enough. I don’t know the poses,” but it is really about form, balance, and breathing. Lowering your blood pressure and clearing the negativity from your mind.

The yoga center in town, across from the elementary school, also offers free yoga classes to Johnson State College students every week. So, if you don’t have the motivation to do it on your own, try taking a class. Grab a friend and stretch your limits to achieve nirvana. There are definitely healthy ways around campus to reduce stress without indulging in harmful habits.

If an altered state of mind is what you’re looking for, I’d say that you can achieve it with yoga.

-Kayla Friedrich, Editor-in-Chief