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5 Unusual Ways to Beat Stress

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Stress is a known killer – it’s bad for everything, from your mind and body, to your social and professional life. When we’re feeling a little overwhelmed by life’s daily challenges and requirements, we often resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Of course, everybody is different, so the effect stress has on us varies. On the bright side, stress is also a necessary part of daily life, and is in fact needed to keep us going. However, extremely high levels of it are, without a doubt, deadly.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way, and there are endless ways in which we can minimize our stress levels; some of the most well-known ways of dealing with stress often include exercise, meditation, being creative, various relaxation techniques, and keeping a well-organized schedule and good track of your time. Other ways, however, aren’t as conventional…

Here are five unusual ways to beat stress, starting with the most unusual!

1. Invest in some time at a ‘rage room’

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I know, the word ‘invest’ can be a serious turn-off for probably most of you. But, when it comes to our health, turning out our pockets every now and then may be a given. You may have heard of the ‘rage room’, which is exactly what its name denotes – a room in which you can pay to get decked in full protective gear, and take out all your anger on office equipment, including computer keyboards, telephones, printers, and more – Office Space style. It’s perfect for stressed-out students, and certainly sounds like a hilarious amount of fun, too.

For a while now, plate smashing has also been a common favorite, and if you fancy the idea, there are plenty of readily-available places that’ll offer just that.   

2. Get some cuddles with animals

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Pets are wonderful in every way; they’re cute, they’re (usually) fluffy and warm, they’re fun to be around and to play with – and they’re the ultimate de-stressors. Studies have actually shown that interactions with animals can significantly reduce stress in humans, and petting or playing with an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and the happy-hormones, serotonin and dopamine. It also helps to decrease production of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Of course, unless you’re living at home and commuting to uni, you’ve most likely had to leave behind the family pet and make do with only seeing them every few months when you go home, and you’re probably not allowed to keep a pet in your uni accommodation. However, you can still get your fix of animal cuddles by offering to take care of a friend or neighbor’s pet - BorrowMyDoggy is a good way to find dog-sitting opportunities. You might even get lucky enough to have your animal cuddle time arranged by your university, with the lucky students at Aberystwyth University enjoying ‘dog therapy’ during exam season!

3. Get a good whiff of lavender and the peppermint

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Good smells are, well, good in general. Being able to enjoy lovely fragrances and scents is a blessing and can work wonders to uplift our moods. Of course, we all have our preferences when it comes to what types of scents will make us feel good, but there are a few scents that are scientifically proven to help you de-stress and release those ‘good-feel’ hormones. Scents like lavender, peppermint, and lemon, for instance, are proven to be instant stress-killers. Floral scents such as rose, orange-blossom, jasmine and gardenia are my personal favorites, and will really help to soothe your state of mind.

Weekly hot baths with essential oils are also an absolute must if you’re someone who struggles to keep stress levels under control, and will help you to relax physically and make a huge difference to your mental state.

4. Treat yourself to your favorite snacks – yes, really

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No, I am not condoning unhealthy eating habits, and I’m certainly not encouraging people to always give into their unhealthy food cravings. However, doing everything in moderation is never a terrible thing, and the same goes for food. If you’re craving that divine bar of chocolate, don’t hold back from treating yourself every now and then (emphasis on the term every now and then). Nutrition experts have consistently proven that indulging yourself here and there will actually help keep you healthier in the long run, since it prevents those awful feelings of deprivation, as well as the guilt-trips when we eventually do give into our cravings and eat too much.  

Not to mention, cravings are often a sign that our body is in desperate need of a certain nutritional element, so if you’re badly craving chocolate, chances are you’re lacking in magnesium and will need to satisfy that craving (within moderation, of course) in order to regain some energy, which will inevitably help you to feel better and in turn, tackle stress.

Find out what ‘brain food’ you should aim to eat during exam season here.

5. Make yourself laugh

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You’re sat at your desk doing some last-minute cramming for an exam, and have probably been studying for hours, non-stop, with your brain starting to hurt. What to do? Certainly not carry on studying, if you feel like you’re finally losing your mind from the stress. If you can, I would suggest you take a 10-minute pause from everything and go do something fun: This means logging onto YouTube and watching whatever is bound to make you laugh your head off, or getting up to play with your pet if you’re at home (remember point #2!) Laughing really helps to soothe your stress levels, lift your mood and refresh your energy for when your break is over.

So next time your friend decides to crack a joke, allow yourself to switch off work-mode for a few minutes and laugh! Laughing is good for you – trust me.

Do you have any other unusual ways to beat stress? Share them in the comments below! 

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Written by Belkis Megraoui
The Online Content Writer of TopUniversities.com, Belkis pitches and publishes articles for students and graduates across the globe and has a zeal for history and a natural flair for the arts and sports. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Communication with Journalism from the University of Hertfordshire and is a native speaker of the Arabic language.

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