How to Chill the F*ck Out When You're Stressed

Even though you know college is supposed to be “the best years of your life,” that doesn’t mean it isn’t also going to be a stressful time. Sure, you may not have a mortgage or kids to worry about just yet, but you do have a good G.P.A to maintain and work schedule to adhere to.
There are healthy and not-so-healthy ways of dealing with stress. Unfortunately, the not-so-healthy ways always seem like they are the easier option—drinking, avoiding your problems, bitching, etc. But these unhealthy habits actually make your stress a lot worse and only add to your problems. Drinking doesn’t make your problems go away; it just makes you temporarily forget you have them.
The importance of developing healthy stress management habits is crucial. You are never going to get to the point in your life where problems don’t exist and you don’t get stressed out—so you’re better off figuring out ways to cope with stress as soon as possible. When your mind is in a healthy place you are more likely to better manage stress as you deal with it.

Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness is not about neglecting your responsibilities or never worrying about what the future. Having some degree of concern is inevitable—healthy even. But there is a difference between acknowledging your stress and letting it consume you. Meditating, even just for a few minutes a day, is a way to re-center yourself and allow yourself to focus on what really matters.
But even if you aren’t really into the whole meditation thing,or don’t know where to get started, there are easier ways to add more Zen into your life. Download a mindful app like Buddhify.

Get moving

You already know that exercise is important, and can help you deal with your stress. But don’t think that you have to knock out an hour at the gym to use your body to help improve your mind. Go for a walk just to clear your head. If you are stressed out, simply changing your physical environment can help transform your mental space as well.

Write a gratitude list

Ideally this would be done every day. But it is easy to let the habit slip. Either way, if you are stressed one of the best ways to combat your anxiety or overwhelming feelings of doom is to take out a pen and paper (yes, the notepad in your iPhone will work just a well) and list everything you are thankful for in your life.  It can be as small as “I’m grateful for Netflix,” or as corny as “For my family and friends and their constant support.” Any and everything you can think of, write it down. It will be hard to stop once you get going, and you will feel a lot better after.

De-clutter

Junk has a way of making you feel more stressed. If you have a messy room, you are not going to feel very calm. Whether it is your closet, entire apartment, or even just your Mary Poppin’s purse, take some time to completely empty it out and sort through everything you don’t need. Sometimes if we are really stressed out, and unable to work through a situation or problem in our heads, it helps to physically de-clutter our physical environment.

Watch stand-up comedy

Laughing increases endorphins and can help make you feel more at ease almost immediately. And, let’s be real, you really didn’t need another excuse or reason to curl up with your Netflix account.

Eat candy

There’s a reason why you always reach for junk food when you need comfort: sweet food can stall the production of glucocorticoid, our stress hormone. Try snacking on some dark chocolate. Chewing gum may also help, as studies have found that it can help relieve anxiety and reduce stress while you’re multitasking.
[Lead image via Shutterstock]

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