Stress is no laughing matter, especially when the stress is over an exam that could make or break your grade. Also not funny are the effects of stress on your body. Depression, skin outbreaks, insomnia, headaches and irritability are just a few of the many ailments stress can cause. The funny thing is that, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter actually is the best medicine for stress.
Laugh Out Loud
Laughter relieves stress by stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles and causes your brain to release more endorphins. Think about what makes you laugh out loud. Maybe it's a viral video you've seen a million times but that still makes you howl, or maybe it's a particular episode of a sitcom, or anything written by Augusten Burroughs. Seek it out and let the laughter commence largely and loudly.
Increasing your heart rate and blood pressure raises the production of endorphins in your brain and momentarily takes your mind off what's causing the stress. It leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed. So put on the one song you would never, ever admit to loving, stand in front of the mirror in your coolest rock 'n' roll pose, and dance as wildly as your heart desires. You'll probably laugh at yourself, which will provide another dose of stress relief.
Pet Your Pet
Research shows that when we pet an animal, our body releases chemicals and hormones that produce feelings of peace and tranquility. Take a break from studying to teach your dog a new trick such as dancing in circles for a treat if she's small, or rolling over if he's big. If you have a cuddly cat or dog, nestle him in your lap and teach him what you already know about what's on the exam.
Meditation brings calm and focus to your mind. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply. Envision all the anxiety you're feeling about the exam being sucked into that one breath. Hold the breath for a brief moment, then exhale slowly. Feel the stress leave your body with your breath. Focus on not thinking about anything. Choose a funny word you really like: Collywobbles, bric-a-brac, fondue. As you continue to breathe, say the word out loud as you exhale.
- Mail Online; Last Minute Exam Stress Can Actually Help Students To Form Stronger Memories; May 2011
- The American Institute of Stress: Effects Of Stress;
- Mayo Clinic; Stress Relief From Laughter? Yes, No Joke; July 2010
- Mayo Clinic; Pet Therapy: How Animals Help Us Heal; E.T. Creagan, M.D.; July 2010
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise And Stress: Get Moving To Combat Stress; July 2010
- WebMD; Stress Management: Breathing Exercises For Relaxation
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