As our semester hurdles toward the dreaded week of final exams, I’ve noticed that a number of my friends have struggled with overwhelming stress, test anxiety and jittery nerves.
We all have our hands full with class projects and exams, and the damage that these can inflict on our bodies is surprising. A number of health issues arise from intense stress and anxiety, as these bodily defenses ultimately hinder our immune systems.
Limited amounts of stress can benefit a person, making him or her more aware, more focused, more productive. In small doses, stress can be a positive reaction our body has to outside stimuli, but as this stress increases with added responsibilities and requirements, it can also cause significant harm to our mental and physical health.
People have their own ways of dealing with that stress, including ignoring it altogether. In the past, I haven’t dealt with stress well. In fact, I’ve had to acknowledge that my stress has grown to unmanageable, unhealthy levels. I tried running. I tried socializing more. I tried taking stress-relieving vitamins. None of these options worked for me, though they may work for others. I got to a point where I was truly desperate to find any method I could to help decrease my stress, which is about the time I took Environmental Psychology with Dr. Kurt Hoffman.
As an assigned project, Hoffman instructed his students through a method of walking meditation. Most, if not all, of the students were unfamiliar with meditation, and I’d guess that most were daunted by the requirement.