Reverting back to childhood may reduce tension, relieve stress

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ELLEN BECKER, Managing Editor—
EllensmallerIt’s no secret that college students are stressed.
Getting good grades, holding down jobs, maintaining relationships and figuring out what we want to do with our lives are just a few of the things we have to worry about.
I often find myself longing for the days when I was a kid and the only things I had to worry about was whether or not I was going to have to share my toys or if my mom was going to make me eat those horrifying green beans on my plate.
According to an article in USA Today College, reverting back to my childhood may not be such a bad idea.
The article suggests that if students want to keep their stress levels down, along with junk food and other simple comforts, there’s one unusual item they might want to add to their shopping list.
Child psychologist Nancy Schultz states that “playing with Play-Doh taps into kids’ unconscious mind and allows them to express themselves creatively. College students can benefit from the same experience and may find that manipulating Play-Doh in their hands has an effect similar to what they would gain from squeezing a stress ball.”
Some colleges are even promoting the use of Play-Doh.
The counseling center at Dalton State College in Georgia, for example, created a “No Stress Zone” for students, where visitors could escape from their concerns over midterms and enjoy simple activities, such as tackling a crossword puzzle or creating models with a handful of Play-Doh.
“Things like Play-Doh and crosswords are distractions,” said Travis McKie-Voerste, the college’s coordinator for counseling and career services. “They help students forget about exams for a little bit.”
On its website, Stonehill College lists a few “stress busters” that students may want to try when they begin to feel overwhelmed, including embracing the stress-relieving effects of Play-Doh.
“Buy a drawing pad and crayons and a nice pack of bright Play-Doh and spend 10 minutes a day finding your inner child,” the website states.
It may seem silly that a can of colored dough can ease your anxiety, but hey, what could it hurt?
But if creating purple spaghetti with green meatballs isn’t really your thing, here are some other helpful tips for relieving the stress that comes with being a degree-seeker.
1. Take deep breaths. This can release tension and help relax your mind. Bringing more oxygen into the brain reduces excessive anxiety levels.
2. Give yourself 10 minutes to just relax. If you’ve spent hours working on a paper or taking an online test, give yourself a break. Whether it’s scrolling through Twitter or taking a short walk, not only will this help you relax, but you will be better focused when you come back.
3. And perhaps my favorite tip of all, listen to music.
Research by the department of psychology at the University of South Alabama shows that listening to music after a stressful event or day significantly reduces negative emotional states.
When music affects the brains waves, it also changes body functions. It causes slower breathing, slower heart rate and an activation of the relaxation response.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to take some time to rest and recharge.
Although it can be hard to make time with busy schedules, stress management is key to maintaining your overall health.