Updated: Nov 22, 2020
In our previous article, Math Lobby discussed about how stress can aid us in being more efficient and improve our productivity, but it is inevitable for it to be a double-edged sword – getting overwhelmed by stress can be detrimental to our health and today, we are going to learn the top four ways to keep our stress in check and hit the optimal levels to maximize its benefits for us. Let’s begin!
1. Eat healthy!
The easiest and most important way to keep your stress levels in check is to eat healthy! It is important for us to incorporate food with important nutrients like: oranges and citrus fruits for its vitamin C, whole grains, fruits and vegetables for its complex carbohydrates, fatty fishes (like salmon and tuna) and seeds and nuts (like pistachios and walnuts) for omega-3 fatty acids.
When you consume food with vitamin C, it helps to decrease stress levels and boost your immune system, which is essential during examination periods. You do not want to fall sick and be in a bad condition for your examinations! It also helps to lower down your cortisol levels which is a stress hormone and blood pressure during increased-anxiety situations.
Complex carbohydrates are beneficial in lowering stress levels since they stimulate the brain to produce more of a chemical called serotonin, which is also known to be associated with happiness, and lowers our blood pressure.
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fishes or nuts and seeds also helps to reduce stress levels. Furthermore, it can also aid in the deterrence against heart diseases, depression and premenstrual syndrome.
2. Exercise regularly and get sufficient sleep
Through exercising on a regular basis, it stimulates your brain to produce higher levels of endorphins, which acts as a natural painkiller, to aid you in sleeping better. After a deep slumber and you wake up feeling well-rested, this will improve your mood and helps you to feel more refreshed and ready to start the day going. With the lack of fatigue and tiredness, you will be less likely to feel agitated and impatient, which can be a potential cause for a surge in stress levels. Through exercise, it also pumps adrenaline through your blood which heightens your mental and physical alertness temporarily, which can increase productivity at the study desk.
3. Stop worrying about events which you cannot control and focus on the present
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” This quote was by the 14th Dalai Lama, one of the important monks of the Gelug School, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism. The meaning of this quote is to tell us that there are certain things in life which is not required to fret over, especially over events which you cannot control. Worrying about such events - a fail in your past examination or missing a mark for a jump to the next grade, etc.’ will not help you in getting better grades or help you in your revisions for the next examinations. In fact, worrying will further increase your stress levels by increasing the production of cortisol, and cause you to feel depressed and unmotivated to carry on with your revisions.
What you should do is to stop worrying, and start acting on things that can actually benefit you in reaching your goals like: reviewing your past examination papers to learn from your mistakes instead of panicking over your poor grades on the first page, ask your teachers for methods to secure marks instead of getting frustrated over that one mark that costed you your grade jump.
4. Seek out social support from your family and friends, spend more time with them
In contrary to what people always say about how you should only study hard in order to achieve the ideal grades, spending time with family and friends is also extremely important. Social support from human connections promotes the production of a hormone called oxytocin, which helps to decrease anxiety experienced and parasympathetic nervous system calming down responses.
Oxytocin also increases our desire to seek out human interactions and our sense of familiarity with people who are close to us. Being able to spend time with family and friends can allow you to share your woes regarding school work or projects that might have been taking a toll on your mental health, this helps to alleviate the potential bottled-up feelings and emotions and having a channel to vent out such negative emotions is really necessary for students, since they are cooped up almost every single day.
Let’s recap! To learn how to lower stress levels, you must:
1. Eat healthy! – Make sure that your meals consist of complex carbohydrates such as whole-grained products, fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids in fishes and vitamin C that is found in citrus fruits
2. Exercise regularly and get sufficient sleep – Through exercise, it helps to raise the production level of endorphins, which helps you sleep better and improves your mood
3. Stop worrying about events which you cannot control and focus on the present – Always never get stuck in the past, but focus on your goals and the future, the only time you view your past is only either to learn from your mistakes
4. Seek out social support from your family and friends, spend more time with them – Feel free to seek any problems or help from those around you, it is important to engage in conversations with all of them as it provides you with a channel of support for you to spill your matters of the heart
That’s all we have for today, students! Math Lobby hopes that each and every student understands the negative effects that stress can have on our body, both mentally and physically. Therefore, it is important to learn the ways to curb and keep stress levels to a moderately low region. As always: Work hard, stay motivated and we wish all students a successful and enjoyable journey with Math Lobby!
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