EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK

Consider how you handle stress

There are more than seven billion people in this world. We have different cultures, traditions, and values. Yet, sickness is something we all have in common. With a struggling economic situation in all parts of the world, prevention seems to be better than cure in terms of the medical aspect. Fitness, eating right, and a healthy lifestyle are just a few ways to help ourselves.

Being an RPI student, I definitely agree that life at RPI is stressful. Almost every week, there seems to be never ending assignments, torturous exams where the averages are 60 percent, and a lack of smiles across campus. RPI expects you to manage stress in an efficient way and maintain productivity at the highest level possible. Now, everyone has different ways to deal with stressful times. Some people watch movies, some people exercise, some people play sports, and some spend hours doing club activities. One way I suggest to manage stress is to spend at least 30 minutes a day listening to music.

Stress is an in-built response to a situation. The adrenal glands, situated above the kidneys, secrete the hormone adrenaline. This is also responsible for the fight or flight response and is secreted in tense situations such as during a difficult examination, a near death experience, public speaking, or can even develop due to lack of sleep. Music is an aid to reduce stress, a factor that may lead to other illnesses, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity in our later adult lives.

Science has proven time and again the plasticity of our brain. Music has been used extensively to rewire the brain. Listening to music stimulates different areas of the brain and has shown a lot of promise in helping the geriatric population, calming at-risk kids, helping in motor coordination, and soothing neonatal babies. The playing of wind instruments, like the age-old Australian didgeridoo, have been shown to help in opening the lungs of asthmatics.

In closing, most of us have different methods to reduce stress. Some methods work for some people and some do not. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to find the right balance in your life. It will improve your mind, social life, and academic life. Whenever I feel like I am stressed, I play the piano or create my own music. Not only am I getting my mind off my stressor, but I am also having fun. I personally feel like I am able to learn better in my classes, do better on my exams, and still have time to hang out with my friends. The next time you are starting to have a bad day, pick up those headphones and start listening to music. It doesn’t matter what kind of music it is, just as long as you are happy. Listen to music while you are walking to class, right after an exam, studying, or even while you are just doing laundry. I can assure you that you will become a much happier person both on the outside as well as the inside.

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