Last March, Yale Law School students were given the opportunity to “rent out” Monty, a border terrier mix, from the school’s library. For a few days prior to finals week, students were able to sign the dog out for 30 minutes at a time. However odd it may seem, nearly 120 students signed up to rent Monty.
As it happens, Yale had scientifically sound reasons for offering a pre-exam dog rental service. Studies show that pets help to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and relieving depression.
Although Eastern probably will not be offering a dog rental program any time soon, there are other ways to reduce the stress that classes, exams, jobs, relationships and everyday tension can have on students.
First suggestion: smile. Having an optimistic outlook on life helps you cope with stressful situations. Being positive helps you feel more in control. An added bonus is that when someone is happy, other people are attracted to them.
Second: Create bonds. Friends are your social support, and having this support is essential when you are dealing with stress. It has been proven that people with more supportive friends cope with stress more effectively. Social support has a calming effect, lowering blood pressure and stress hormones.
Third: Talk about it. After you find some close comrades, open up to them. People who try to suffer in silence have more health problems than those who can express themselves openly.
Third: Take advantage of the gym. Aerobic exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety. It boosts your mood and lowers tension. Exercise stimulates brain activity in areas essential for effective coping. Plus, it gives you an energy boost to get you through the rest of your busy day.
Fifth: Try not to overdo yourself. Yes, Eastern does offer many extracurricular activities, but be realistic. You simply cannot take part in everything. The heavier the load, the busier the student, the greater the stress.
Students are under a lot of stress. As we all know, this has negative consequences on emotional and physical health. But there is always something that can be done about it.
Do not hesitate to ask for help. Between psychology professors, health advisors, therapists, nurses, RA’s, RD’s and academic advisors, Eastern is full of educated faculty and staff willing and ready to help you in any way that they can.