The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Working out, smiling keys to stress relief

SE Campus students learned to turn bad stress into good stress Feb. 22.

Melissa Evans, SE Campus assistant professor of health and physical education, began her Stress Management presentation leading an energetic workout and followed with a series of stress-fighting tips. Despite the early morning hour, students broke into smiles during Evans’ exercise sequence.

“Smiling is also a stress reliever,” she explained, smiling herself.

Students should know, she said, that stress is not 100 percent negative. Evans said good stress, or eustress, can often get a person out of bed in the morning and can create a competitive edge leading to success. The idea is to maintain and accept the difference between eustress and distress, she said.

Exercise is a key factor in reducing distress, Evans said, and can even help build brain cells. Just half an hour of rigorous activity a day, she said, leads to a better night’s sleep that, in turn, makes it possible to absorb and process more information than after a four- or five-hour nap.

Her other principles for keeping stress levels healthy include laughter, time management, journal writing, music, pets, healthy diets, relaxation and a good amount of sleep.

“You want to get as many stress-coping strategies in your bank as possible,” she said. “You don’t need to do them all every day.”

Rather, Evans said, it’s good to have a backup plan for normal stress relief activities. Exercise regulates breathing, Evans said, which stimulates brain wave activity and prepares the brain for learning. Taking a relaxing moment to breathe slowly and forget about stressors was another suggestion for reducing stress.

Evans finished with a calm, relaxing breathing exercise intended to slow heart rates and thus prepare brains for another stressful day of learning in college.

—Kirsten Mahon


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