How to Reduce Your Stress Levels in 2018

Jia Williams, Feature Editor

For most people, the start of the New Year usually means trying to be healthier, more stress free, and happier. For students, it means jumping back into assignments, projects, and tests that cause large amounts of stress. So how can students reduce this stress? For a select few there may be an obvious solution, but for the rest of the world not so much. There are many ways people can relieve stress including meditating, exercising, and even something as simple as laughing. According to WebMD, meditating on a daily basis can make a person more resistant to stress because of the way it can alter neural pathways in the brain. To help you meditate successfully, there are many apps such as Headspace that offer guided meditation options for different purposes.
Another major way stress can be relieved is through exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. The endorphins released from exercise improve mood and are natural painkillers. Exercise can also improve the quality of sleep, which can counteract the poor sleep most people inherit from stress. However, these benefits are only available to those who exercise regularly, so while starting a new year, start thinking about what physical activity you might be interested in getting into this year.
According to, laughing and spending time with family, friends, and pets can also reduce stress by releasing oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. Laughter can also bring more oxygen into the body and organs, can stimulate and relieve stress response, and relieve tension by relaxing muscles. Apart from stress relief, some long term effects of laughter are improved immune system and mood. So make sure to find a good balance between doing homework and spending time with friends and family. Some smaller, easier things to do to relieve stress are aromatherapy, listening to soothing music, and spending time with your pet. It may be hard to automatically jump into a new workout routine at the beginning of the year, so ease into the bigger things with the small things. Lighting a few scented candles can automatically help to reduce stress. Some common, stress-relieving scents include Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Neroli, Orange, and Frankincense.
Another small way to relieve stress is listening to soothing music. Slow-paced instrumental music like classical can be especially soothing because it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
Although the New Year brings stress to most, it does not have to. Make the best of the situation and find ways to relieve stress using whatever or whomever you have. Spend time with your family, friends, and pets to relieve stress and take your mind off of homework. It is definitely worth the extra effort.

Phoebe Cho (11) works to manage the stress caused
by her academic responsibilities.
(Photo by Jia Williams)