The goofily-named “Stressbusters” program at Columbia involves a mere 5-7 minute back/neck-rub. Pretty simple, which is nice.
The really interesting bit is that more than half of those that received the “treatment” reported that they felt significantly less stressed even a day later. Awesome.
The immediate take-away is that you should get your friends together for a backrub now and then, especially as the grindstone gets particularly grind-some.
But the bigger takeaway is this: we must remember that stress (and many things that come from it: weight gain, or sleeplessness, or more general forms of anxiety and unhappiness) are largely (brain) chemical. We often take them as signs of some deeper badness in ourselves or in our lives, and that’s often simply not the case. There are 2 implications here:
1) We should look at stress for what it is: a chemical ailment, to be treated… rather than something to feel hopeless or (even worse) upset about.
2) We should look to treat it, not ignore or “power through” it. Not give in to it. But when you do feel stress taking over, go do something about it. Invest a few minutes in a backrub (or, as we discussed in a previous post, in some mindfulness meditation).
With this attitude, we’ll be able to perform various “hacks” on stress and all sorts of other challenges in college life, in order to easily and seemingly-effortlessly soar where we used to flounder.