Lifestyle Medicine Premed advice

How To Cope With Stress

How to cope with stress

in life/medical school

Take Breaks

Breaks are SO important! It's so easy to get wrapped up in your work when you have a MILLION things to do! I can absolutely relate to this as a medical student. There's so much information that needs to be studied, reviewed and solidified into our brains. It can be very overwhelming and time consuming when you have so much to do! When you're feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, maybe take a step back. Go away from your desk and take 3 DEEP BREATHS. Inhale deeply and EXHALE all of the negative thoughts, self-doubt, and anxiety. My dad always tells me to breathe and drink water. I've done that since the first time I felt overwhelmed. And for me, it helps! So I hope that it'll be helpful for you too.

Exercise

Research has shown that exercising has many positive effects on a person's body and mental health. Although it isn't always easy to exercise (especially if you haven't done it in a long time), it's all about your MINDSET. For me, the hardest part is getting started. As soon as your body is moving, you just have to keep on going! Get those endorphins pumping! As Elle Woods would say, "exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!" So, whenever you're feeling stressed, maybe go out for a walk! Get those legs moving and that blood flowing so those endorphins can be released from your pituitary glands and be distributed throughout your brain to make you feel pleasure in the best possible way!

go outside

Soak in the fresh air. Nature ALWAYS makes me feel better! Jay Shetty suggests consciously using your 5 senses in order to remember a POSITIVE MEMORY. The reason why we remember negative moments so vividly is because we associate it with our 5 senses. We remember what we FEEL. We remember what we HEARD. We remember what we SMELLED. We remember what we SAW. And we remember what we TASTED. We automatically associate all the 5 senses with that negative event we experienced. So when you are feeling stressed, maybe take a step outside. Stand tall, stretch your arms and breathe in the fresh air outside. Remember what you feel. Remember what you smell. Remember what you hear. Remember what you see. And remember what you taste, even if you don't taste anything in your mouth. Remember that you tasted nothing in that moment. And hopefully, this positive memory of relief will remain with you when you are feeling stressed out.

Self-reflect

When you are wrapped up in your duties and have so much on your plate, it is very easy to forget why you're working this hard in the first place. Why am I cleaning the house? So I can have a tidy living space. Why do I have to study this material? So I can have this knowledge - knowledge that can one day contribute to something bigger. Why do I have to eat? So I can nourish my body and give it the nutrients it needs to help me breathe and move. When we focus on the little things, it is very easy to forget why. Self-reflection is essential to acknowledge the current hardship you are going through. It is important to recognize your own characteristics and behaviors. This is necessary because acknowledgement of one's behavior is necessary to GROW. If you can self-reflect once a day on your actions, words and the events that took place, maybe you can remember WHY you are doing exactly what it is you are doing. Anything that is worth anything takes WORK and hopefully your hard work will pay off in the long run.

Watch animal Videos

You'd be surprised how much of an impact your fur baby can have on your well-being. Watching cute videos of any animal will bring a smile to your face. You can always search funny videos on google or Youtube and I promise seeing cute animals will bring you nothing but joy! If you have a fur baby, even better! Pet your baby and I'm sure he/she will love you for it! Whether it's a dog, cat or bird, animals teach us how to love. Their love for us is so pure that they want nothing more than to feel joy themselves. Whether it's belly rubs or treats, seeing a happy animal can also make you happy! Looking to relieve some stress? Take a 5 minute break and watch some videos of animals or scroll through pictures of puppies/kittens. Anything tiny is adorable and maybe that can lighten your mood a little bit!

Meditate

Meditation is difficult to do. I'm certainly not a master of meditation. It's very difficult to clear your mind. Practicing meditation for at least 5 minutes a day can make a difference. Practicing meditation will only make you better with time! The purpose of meditation is to focus and redirect your thoughts. So if you practice meditation, you can redirect your thoughts whenever you feel stressed. Meditation can only bring you peace, .The ability to redirect your thoughts in moments of stress is an acquired skill - a skill that takes time to master. Try it! You might actually enjoy it. And if you're having a hard time starting out, definitely download a meditation app or go on Youtube. There are great resources you can use to learn to meditate. It definitely isn't easy but it is worth a try!

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