The Best Ways to Relieve Stress

Student smiling in the library
Dillon Korte, an ENMU student, shares strategies to manage stress. (Photo by Dillon Korte)

The Best Ways to Relieve Stress

Sometimes, people get overwhelmed. That's okay, and there's no reason to be ashamed of it. However, it can be easy to let your stress take control of you, which can be scary.

That being said, there are right ways and wrong ways to handle your stress. The goal, after all, is to safely relieve your stress. There are several healthy ways to stay relaxed:

You can do your hobbies. There's no better way to relax than doing your favorite things–Julia Andrews could have sung you that. Whether that be watching movies or going on walks, hobbies tend to help you focus on something other than your stress and can let you reapproach things as you see fit.

Laughing is always a good release. Nobody can deny that finding someone or something that can make you laugh is cathartic in its own sense. Netflix has many specials featuring a plethora of comedians, as well as a large variety of television shows for viewers. If none of that tickles you, YouTube has many popular users who can supply you with guffaws.

Don't be afraid to refuse your help. Many times, stress can come from an overly-booked schedule. As hard as it is to tell people that your services can't be offered, sometimes it's necessary to refuse to help others. Don't be afraid to admit when you've taken too many responsibilities and drop the ones of lesser importance.

Meditation, by personal opinion, is very helpful. I have practiced meditation for almost four years now and have discovered it to be very relaxing. Meditation doesn't necessarily mean that you sit with your legs crossed while reciting "ohm" endlessly for three hours. Rather, meditation is a practice of relaxation–a way to zone out and focus only on the next breath, whatever method that may mean for you. It clears your mind while refreshes your energy as you relax.

Keeping a journal to transcribe thoughts is very freeing. Writing your thoughts down on paper is a good way to release anger and confusion when you need it. Although writing may not be for everyone, you don't need to be a writer to describe thoughts to yourself. I have found that making a small fire on a cool summer night and then burning the completed journal is also very cathartic. Fire, after all, has been symbolized as purity. It burns away old growth so that new growth may begin again.

Sleep more. Sleep is, by its nature, healthy. Your stress may be a result of lack of sleep. Regardless, sleeping tends to be a good idea. Big problems may seem much smaller after a nice night of rest, and the next day is always a new one.

Eat more healthy foods, like vegetables and fruits. Eating the food your food eats is beneficial to you–we all learned its effects in high school. Eating healthy food literally makes you feel better because… well, it's healthy for you.

If all else fails, find a reliable therapist or counselors. It's all well and good to recite these methods on paper, but sometimes it's necessary to receive outside help from a professional. Therapy or counseling is good because it gives you a confidant disconnected from people in your life–someone who will give you honest help, as well as someone who will keep what you say classified.

You can reach Counseling and Career Services at 575.562.2211. Alternatively, you can find them in person at Student Academic Services, office 232.

Whatever you may do, just remember that your stress won't be the end of the world. Everything is always solvable. Everything works out in the end, and if it doesn't work out–that's okay. All it means is that you haven't reached the end yet.