Student Perspective – written by Sung Soon Gaval
Stress is a funny thing. We all experience it, but in different ways. When we’re stressed, we lose sight of why we’re here (our purpose) and what we want (happiness). A quick Google search can clue you into the many techniques used and recommended to combat stress. Although this may give you a new idea or an inspiration, that alone won’t change your life.
Reflect on how you deal with stress.
Get to know yourself. You may find that you de-stress by moving your body, meditating, being alone or with other…but you won’t know until you take the time to look inward. Self-awareness is the key to intentionality.
I discovered that when I manage my stress with these techniques, I am fully present, happy, and free. Then, I am able to be more grateful for the people around me, sensitive to others, and motivated to invest in my big dreams.
Here are 10 ways that I handle stress:
- Compassionate friends: When I’m feeling sad or down, spending time with people who are caring, empathic listeners is my number-one way to de-stress. It’s important for me to feel heard.
- My “Feelings Journal”: When I’m overwhelmed, I used to stifle heavy feelings because I didn’t like to be too “emotional.” I realized this just prolonged the problem. I find peace and closure by writing down what I feel and why in a small book that only I will ever see.
- Gregarious friends: You know those people in your life that are always ready with a laugh or joke? When I’m ready to take life on, I connect with one of these friends and it gives me confidence to ‘Just Do It.’
- Prayer: For me, connecting to God and looking for His perspective brings clarity to my present situation. Getting too wrapped up in the day-to-day can prevent me from seeing the bigger picture. That’s when I reach out to God to keep myself centered.
- Creative expression: Jotting poetry, sketching, abstract art, and writing are some ways that I release my feelings onto paper. Being able to visualize and bring to life patterns, designs, metaphors with the stroke of my hand and flick of my wrist sooths me any day.
- Power naps: Sometimes, a total reset is in order. For me, that means grabbing a pair of sweatpants and hunkering down for a quick nap. It doesn’t have to be long, but comfort, warmth, and detachment from my racing thoughts and feelings are much needed. (To learn more, read our article, “Taking the ‘Nah’ Out of Naps.”)
- Stare at the Water: I have always loved water–oceans, bays, wide rivers, etc. It’s no wonder that when I’m feeling anxious, gazing at the shifting ripples on a tranquil shoreline can do wonders.
- My sister: I’m blessed to live with my younger sister while away in college. There’s something incomparable about sharing what weighs me down with her. She’s not going to solve my problems, but she’ll always be by my side while I figure it out.
- Action movies: Sometimes, watching an intense movie causes me to feel invigorated and motivated. Something about seeing a character overcome the odds to succeed encourages me too.
- Write a to-do list: I get lost in all the things I need to do fairly regularly. I then waste energy trying to juggle between tasks, further slowing myself down. When I choose a single item or two to tackle in a given session, I stay focused.
What are some ways that you tackle stress? Let me know.
Send an email to email@example.com with the subject “how I handle stress.”