Relieving Stress During Exams

Stress can be a good thing. Yes, you read it here first; stress can be a good thing, but only if you learn to use it as strength.

Eustress is defined by a University of Mississippi study as “positive stress that improves performance, motivates and focuses energy.”

Reaching a point in which the stress you’re dealing with becomes a motivating factor in studying and maintaining a high self-esteem can become beneficial for your grades, appearance and overall health.

Distress is the opposite of eustress, defined by the same University of Mississippi study as “negative stress that can cause anxiety or cause for concern.”

The concept of distress and eustress is prevalent on a college campus. Depending on your perspective, the pressure of this time period can either bring the best or the worst out of a student.

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This time of year is critical for the typical NC State student. With exams, projects and presentations due, the stress is at an all-time high from Main Campus to Centennial Campus.

Dealing with the stress is pivotal to attaining academic goals. Preserving the body physically can prepare the body for the mental rigors of the exam period.

At University Recreation, we offer four activities in particular that allow participants to turn distress into eustress. Here are my favorite activities:

YOGA

As an activity predicated on building flexibility and balance, yoga is perfect for dealing with stress. According to a recent study from the MGN College of Education in India, “Seven weeks of regularly doing poses, practicing yoga breathing and participating in mediation practice reduced students’ stress levels, which translated into better academic performance.”

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The facts stated show the effectiveness of yoga in relieving distress and building eustress. Utilizing breathing techniques to clear the body of negative energy while training the muscles to adapt to various positions almost replicate the process of retaining information.

When you study, you try to learn the unknown and master the material. The similarity to yoga is scene through the repetition and the adaptation of the mind and body to its environment, making yoga a fantastic activity for exam week.

BOXING

Boxing has long been heralded for its ability to build cardiovascular fitness while releasing stress that can way a person down. The combination of the two opens up the mind to receive information through releasing the bad vibes that can plague the thought process.

“Studies have shown that working out can help relieve depression, stress, anxiety, and anger. When you get your adrenaline going, your mind starts going, too” said renowned psychologist/physical therapist Elizabeth Lombardo.

Through a sport that drains you of negative emotions and clears the mind, the strenuous process of studying can become easier, especially when it comes to retaining information with a clear mind.­

H.I.I.T.

High Intensity Interval Training. The words that spell out “H.I.I.T.” all are vital descriptions of this activity. Built upon the principle of maintaining a high rate of activity in a short span of time, H.I.I.T. is a fantastic way to build fitness while clearing the mind.

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The vast combination of workouts and intervals provide a mercurial realm of activity that forces the participant to build a sharp, attentive mind state. This activity evolves through an individual workout in a similar manner to the material you learn in class.

Within a curriculum, the information grows in difficulty and quality of time. H.I.I.T. replicates that system through a rise in tougher activities as you get acclimated to the initial exercises. This model of progression can get a student into that mindstate of climbing their ladder to success.

SWIMMING

In a recent study conducted by Speedo and Ipsos MORI, swimming was discovered to be a perfect activity to wind down the stress of the day. A quote from the study stated, “Over two thirds of those surveyed feel that swimming can have a positive mental impact, with 70% agreeing that it helps them to feel mentally refreshed.”

Recognized as a perennial sport in regards to building fitness, swimming is perfect for allowing the participants to trade their negative energy for positive, clear-minded thoughts. Through the rigorous strokes necessary to progress within the water, swimming provides a great workout with minimal force to the joints.

Getting in water overall is a great feeling. It creates a weightless feeling for the participant that almost immediately alleviates the pressure on the mind that can carry on to other parts of the body. Swimming is perfect for clearing the mind and relaxing the body during exam week.

As the semester wraps up, all of our hard work from the past four months will come together. Group projects, presentations and those dreaded exams stand no chance if you can maintain eustress and avoid distress.

With strenuous nature of the last two weeks of December, we hope to provide you with an alleviating alternative to you day. To learn more about what we offer, visit recreation.ncsu.edu/.

Think and DOminate,

Cherif