The Question: How Do I Cope With Stress

Heavy petting today!
Heavy Petting on the Main Green

Hi! My name is Gabrielle Frampton. I’m from Trinidad and Tobago but I grew up in China. I’m a sophomore concentrating in International Relations and East Asian Studies. I’ll be blogging for “The Question“. Together we’ll be figuring “THE ANSWER(s)” to your questions, and maybe even some of my own, about life at Brown.

As the first of my ominous midterms draws near I figured now would be a good time to talk about stress.

Stress is defined as ‘the body’s response to the general environment”. We feel stressed when the demands of the environment exceed our body’s ability to cope. College, especially freshmen year, is full of potentially stressful situations. These range from academic situations like finals, midterms to social contexts like dating, friendships, roommatesand even emotional circumstances like homesickness and lonliness.

Stress is exhausting, counterproductive and just all around crummy. So I figured that for the second post of the year I’d post strategies and resources for coping with stress.  I’ll be listing some general advice for coping with stress/ my own personal strategies as well as some Brown specific resources!

***CONFESSION***

While doing some light research to write this article. I discovered a plethora of services the University offers to help combat stress. Its another reminder that its not by accident that Brown is consistently ranked among the happiest schools in the country!

Find the strategies after the jump.

General Advice:

Eat Healthy + Get plenty of exercise

This one is pretty self-explanatory but still deserves mention. I think as teenagers and 20-somethings we tend to think of ourselves as invincible.  But unfortunately thats not true.

Its really important to eat healthy and to drink lots of water. But doubly so after a night out or a during a really stressful week.  Caffeine is really dehydrating. So if you’re a heavy coffee drinker like me, make sure you compensate by drinking extra water.

Sleep!

When I’m especially busy or stressed sleeping seems like a complete waste of valuable time. It may seem completely counter-intuitive but sleep is actually extremely important. To put things in perspective here’s a fun fact:  taking a test after pulling an “allnighter” is the equivalent of  taking it with a Blood Alcohol content of 0.10.

Don’t let the work build up 

This one is definitely much easier said than done. *raises hand guiltily*

I’m a chronic procrastinator. Procrastinating practically guarantees high stress levels. Its also cyclic. Procrastination leads to stress. This stress in turn makes it more difficult to accomplish anything.

Pro-tip:   

If you must procrastinate. Engage in ‘productive procrastination’. If you are unwilling/ unable to start your work. Do something that’s still a relatively good use of your time. Although I am naturally a messy person, I find cleaning therapeutic. I clean my room and do laundry whenever I’m particularly reluctant to start on my work.

Take Breaks When you Need To

Learn the art of power napping!  A twenty minute nap can clear your head and leave you feeling refreshed. Also, take study-breaks. People study more effectively in short bursts. I’ve found the website http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/ extremely helpful!

Brown Specific Relaxation Resources.

Brown University Relaxation Project:

Affectionately known as BURP, Brown University Relaxation Project is a student group dedicated to reducing stress.  They host “Feel -Good Fridays” and occasionally “Wind down Wednesday”, where they give free back rubs on the main green. Burpers” are trained by professional massage therapists!

Heavy Petting!

Otherwise known as the best days of the year!  Brown professors, staff members and other friends of the university bring their pets to the Main Green. Heavy Petting is always extremely therapeutic. Today was actually the first Heavy Petting of the semester. * I stopped by and spent an embarrassingly long time playing with a baby pig*

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Free Daily Yoga Classes:

They are multiple free daily yoga classes available at Hillel- Brown’s center of Jewish Life.

Meditation Group

Brown also has a communal meditation groups! 

During extremely high-stress times of the year their are a few ‘unique’, and slightly silly traditions.

Midnight Organ Concert

On the night before finals start during both Spring and Fall semester the University organist plays a selection of ‘death-themed’ music in Sayles Hall

The Naked Donut Run

On an undisclosed night during Finals Weeks a group of students runs through the libraries naked offering donuts to stressed students.

If you have any more questions for me to answer, shoot me an email at gabrielle_frampton@brown.edu!

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