Anti-Stress Seminar

Sheridan Martinez

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On Tuesday March 18th, Scott Barr, a DSPS counselor on campus gave a special seminar to students about the effects of long term stress. Barr mentioned that there is a certain hormone in our brains called, Cortisol that spikes, when someone becomes too stressed out Cortisol can harm the body several different ways if spiked too often.“The problem is when Cortisol stays spiked as a result of prolonged stress,” said Barr, “as occurs commonly for many of our students, doing so has an increasingly negative effects on the body and impaired emotional and cognitive performance.”

Barr continued to give some of the side effects of long term stress. Barr stated that these could include, impaired writing skills, getting overwhelmed, low frustration tolerance, short term memory loss, difficulty with recall, poor nutrition habits and disorganization.

The main purpose of this seminar was to teach students to know how to prevent themselves from getting too stressed, which according to Barr is very common for college students. “This workshop not only identifies specifically the problems related to long term stress,” Barr said, “but offers health related solutions and self-management practices to improve daily performance and enjoy life more.” The number one way to reduce stress according to Barr is to get proper sleep!

Here’s a list of Scott Barr’s Improving Sleep Tips:

  • Go to bed at the same time nightly.

  • Create bedtime routine half-hour before bedtime (ex: warm shower or bath, brush teeth, read, listen to soft music).

  • Exercise daily (though not within three hours of bedtime). After 15 minutes

  • of accelerated breathing our body naturally produces dopamine and serotonin that relaxes and enhances focus.

  • Research non-addictive supplements or teas that encourage sleep.

  • If lactose tolerant, consider drinking a cup of milk before bedtime. This naturally produces serotonin that relaxes the brain.

  • Remove all activities from the bedroom, including home work, video games, TV, using phone, games, budgets and hobbies. By association the brain self stimulates rather than relaxes in a place of activity.

  • Try “white noise.” Use fan, white noise player, desktop fountain or an aquarium.

  • Create relaxing smell such as lavender or vanilla with a candle or other means.

  • Learn and use progressive relaxation techniques, meditation or tapping.

  • Give yourself permission to stop thinking about it.

  • Eliminate caffeine and nicotine use, especially within five hours of bedtime.

  • Don’t eat large or heavy meals just before bedtime.

These tips can motivate students to prevent themselves from long term stress.