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Three Tips To Destress When Wound Up

You ever stay up at night and think so hard that your breathing becomes harder to catch and the darkness seems to be swallowing you whole? That might sound a bit strange (and specific) but I have a feeling that many college students know what it’s like to stress to the point that you feel like exploding. It’s like this weird  pressure on our brains, tightening more and more until something breaks.

It’s like when a musician is plucking a guitar string, and like the instrument, when we’re pushed to our limits, we can’t seem to function as well anymore. We all probably know this: when we over-stress, we can’t work efficiently. So…then…why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep dragging our health until it’s buried so deep we forget how to breathe?

One word: college. Another: work. And a few more: relationships, not feeling well enough, overthinking, an unknown future.

It’s a list of way too many things that seem to come with our rollercoaster lives whether we like it or not. It’s true that we don’t always have a choice in having bad experiences because it’s part of growing up, but boy, sometimes we’re a bit too talented at making ourselves feel worse for it.

Personally, I have this terrible habit of stressing so hard that I become claustrophobic right in the moment and my breathing becomes erratic and I just become this big jumble of panic. Even my heart will beat so hard that it keeps me awake at night.

For others, stress might make them feel so off they snap at everyone, or they might push themselves so hard they find themselves passed out from exhaustion. Unfortunately, I notice a lot of this throughout the school day, in school especially as the semester progresses. And sometimes we can’t help how bad we stress our poor brain out even when we know our health should be our top priority. So what might help when we feel like dying a little bit? A blanket! Or a mat that simulates your pressure points! Alright, let me explain. Or rather let Google inform us.

Weighted Blanket

As you might have guessed from the name, this blanket is heavier than a usual blanket. Inside there are pellets sewed evenly throughout the product, which is approximately 10% of a person’s weight. According to autism researcher and pioneer of this therapeutic product Temple Grandin, the blanket will feel like a hug that doesn’t become uncomfortable after a while. Hugs increase our happiness chemical levels, and with this product imitating the action, it would also cause us to release oxytocin. P.S. the weighted blanket won’t be as uncomfortable as long hugs. (Those can get pretty awkward.)

Acupressure Mat

As strange as it may look, according to research from 2015, it does its job to relieve an individual of anxiety. It’s a form of traditional Chinese medicine that as the name might point out, has 5,000 spikes (the good ones) that stimulate pressure points in the back, neck, and shoulders. With the backpack I carry around all day, this sounds like a dream.

Adult Coloring Book

Alright, so most of us probably haven’t colored since elementary school (well in my case, my middle school French class), but apparently doing so can really help relieve tension. According to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, it causes one to divert their attention from their lives and problems, leading to a decrease in stress. Because it is such  a simple activity, there aren’t really any consequences, making it a relaxing and, thankfully, distracting activity.

It’s nice to know that there are certain things that can help keep the mangy stress at bay,but we still have to be our own daily reminder to keep ourselves at least decently functioning for the days ahead. It’s our brain and body so we should probably give them a break now and again. We can’t be breaking our strings. A guitar can’t play music without them, so without a healthy state, we can’t expect ourselves to play as nicely either.

Diana Arellano Barajas is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Arizona State University. She LOVES creating: graphics, animation, video editing, it's all fair game! Originally from a small town in Mexico, Diana currently resides in Phoenix. In her free time, if she isn't found attached to a book, she's writing about everything and anything including experimenting with visual content. Excited to write for HerCampus, Diana's ready to make readers smile, laugh, and possibly cry (in a good way). Feel free to contact her here: [email protected]
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