3 easy ways for students to relieve stress

A student takes a walk across campus on Feb. 26.

All college students experience stress — and whether it’s classes, deadlines, the future, or one of the other countless things that college students stress about — everyone has different ways of relieving it.

We asked students on campus how they blow off steam when they get worked up.

Going for a walk

A common way for students to relieve stress is to take a walk around campus. According to Harvard Health, taking a 20-30 minute walk can help clear your mind and relieve stress. 

“I have 20 or 30 minutes in between my ZOOMs normally, so it’s a good way for me to get up and move before I have to sit back down for the next hour,” said sophomore Ella Graham. 

Freshman Megan Zabel stated that the fresh air and wind usually clears her mind completely. 

For students who don’t enjoy walking, simply going outside and enjoying the sun can reduce stress and improve overall mood. 

A study done by the Department of Environmental Conservation says that stress can be relieved within minutes of stepping out and being in nature. 

Spending time with friends

Although COVID-19 has made it more difficult for students to spend time with their friends, safely being with the people you love can significantly reduce stress. A study done by the US National Library of Medicine shows that deeper social ties almost directly correlates to better mental health. In fact, the same study shows that reducing time spent with friends and family almost always decreases happiness levels. 

“To relieve stress, I always take time out of my day to hang out with my friends for an hour or so,” said freshman Sydney Bowles. 

Freshman Cooper Steward stated that spending time with his friends instantly makes him feel less stressed. 

While it can seem like social time is unproductive, it can actually have an opposite effect by increasing productivity and reducing stress. 

Playing instruments

It’s known that listening to music can reduce stress and increase happiness levels, but studies have shown that playing music can do even more. 

A study done by the National Institute of Health shows that playing an instrument reduces cortisol, which is the body’s fight-or-flight response. According to the same study, playing music can even help people cope with depression and PTSD.

Steward stated that playing an instrument is therapeutic and clears his mind.

“Whenever I’m doing homework, I find myself randomly picking up my guitar and playing it,” Steward said. 

Whatever your go-to way to relieve stress is, it’s important to practice it often to keep your stress levels down. Reduced stress levels increases productivity and happiness levels — so go on that walk, take a break and hang with friends, or grab a guitar. 

Jacob Latimer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.