The Monday Memo
October 29, 2018 PITT DPT STUDENTS
As graduate students, we are no strangers to the feeling of stress. We all know the anxiety that can arise when you get handed an exam form or the moment you walk in for a practical. Everyone experiences and everyone handles it in their own unique way. For some, it is a fluttering feeling in the pit of their stomach and for others, it is a lingering headache. The general consensus seems to to be that stress is an unwelcome feeling. In this brief memo, we will discuss various ways to cope with unwanted stress.
First off, it is important to know that everyone is affected by stress. It is a natural reaction to something that we, as humans, perceive as threatening. The physical effects include elevated blood pressure, faster respiratory rate, increased heart rate, and a slowed digestive system. This is what we commonly label as “fight or flight”. There are various types of stress, and not all are negative. Sometimes, it is just the body’s way of preparing itself to perform at it’s best, even if it may not feel that way at the time.
Now that we have established that stress is something we all live with, let’s discuss some ways to cope with it. Below are some tools to handle stress:
- Exercise! Numerous studies have shown that self-selected exercise is effective in reducing stress. Whether it be jogging, dancing, or yoga, putting aside time in your day to move your body is invaluable.
- Breathing and meditation. Techniques such as these can help ease some of the physiological factors that accompany stress. Taking long, slow breaths and centering the mind can help reset and refocus the mind.
- Communicate. Having a good support system while in high-stress situations can be extremely effective. Finding a family member or friend that you feel comfortable talking to can help ease stress.
Various other stress coping techniques can be found here.
As a final note, if you or someone you know is concerned about how stress is impacting their daily life, it is important to seek out professional help. The University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center is an excellent resource for any Pitt student experiencing increased levels of stress or anxiety. They can be contacted here: https://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/cc/
-Layne Gable, SPT