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Feature

How to stress less

Some stress is healthy, but sometimes, such as during the exam season, you might start to feel like you’re in a pressure cooker. Chrystal Chan discovers the many ways NTU students beat the stress monster before it gets to them

“I love watching thought-provoking films. Contrary to popular opinion, watching mindless flicks might not be the best way to unwind. When I watch intellectual films such as Whiplash, I am forced to think about someone else’s life and put myself in that character’s shoes. This is a form of catharsis for me.”
– Shoki Lin, final-year art, design & media student
  “I like to tinker around with computer parts when I need a break from school work. I enjoy putting things together and once assembled a gaming rig for my brother. It’s like solving a mega jigsaw puzzle.”
– Lee Boon Yao, second-year mechanical & aerospace engineering student
 
“An hour or two of playing Final Fantasy XIV instantly puts me in a more relaxed mode.”
– Wendy Guan, first-year business student
  “I walk to the nearest bus stop and hop on any bus that comes by. I’ll ride the bus and watch the world go by until I feel better.”
– Gao Yuan Ling, first-year civil engineering student
  “I’m in my hall’s contemporary dance team, so I spend much of my free time dancing. It’s fun to learn the choreography together with my friends, especially when the moves are tough. There’s no time left to worry about anything else.”
– Chen Jiun Wei, first-year chemical & biomolecular engineering student
   
“Reading is a good distraction from stress. I’m into mystery novels such as the entire series of Sherlock Holmes books. It helps to clear the ‘traffic jam’ in my head.”
– Wong Yung Shen, first-year computer science student
  “I play basketball once or twice a week for at least three to four hours each time. Sweating it out stops me from stressing over my assignment deadlines.”
– Ng Yu Hien, third-year civil & environmental engineering student
 
“My favourite way to destress is to hang out at the balcony area in my hall. The air is cool and fresh at night and it gets so quiet that it almost feels like my own secret sanctuary.”
– Clarice Zhang, final-year sociology student
  “Pole-dancing keeps me from thinking about all the things that stress me out, because executing each move requires great concentration. Three times a week, I look forward to finishing whatever assignments I have so I can go pole-dancing.”
– Amanda Yeo, final-year English student
 
“To destress, I watch culinary videos on YouTube, especially those by Gordon Ramsay. I may not be the one cooking but I can live vicariously through others who are doing it, and escape for a while.”
– Bernard Lee, third-year business student
  “When I need a break, I listen to Japanese rock music. My favourite is the instrumental rock band, Mono. To me, their music is calming and uplifting.”
– Alice Lim, final-year physics student
  “I always organise my room when the pressure gets to me. It takes me a good hour or so to sort and clean my closet, my book shelves or my desk, but doing that always makes me feel better.”
– Christina Angelica, first-year accountancy and business student
   

5 ways to beat stress
An expert offers tips and practical advice

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed by stress, anxiety or worry. Counsellors from the University Wellbeing Centre say you’re not alone in experiencing these emotions.

“The main causes of stress for young people are high self-expectations, adjustment issues, loneliness linked to social anxiety, and fear of being judged by others. For many students, finding the right balance between their academic and social lives can be a source of stress,” says university counsellor Jasmine Chong, who shares this advice:

  1. Have a balanced lifestyle and adopt healthy habits. Get enough sleep, don’t forget to eat and take regular breaks.
  2. Spend some time on social activities. If you can, talk to a trusted friend or a senior for guidance. If not, you can approach the student confidantes from the NTU Peer Helping Programme who are equipped to be a good listening ear and provide emotional support.
  3. Be aware. Pay attention to your innermost thoughts and feelings and nip any negativity in the bud by distracting yourself with something else. Pick up skills that can help you, like time management skills.
  4. Learn to relax properly through techniques such as deep breathing exercises and meditation. When you have a relaxed body, you will have a relaxed mind. Tip: Use apps like Headspace and Breathe2Relax to help you manage stress.
  5. You don’t have to compare yourself with others. Be yourself and follow your own instincts.

New chill spot

PHOTO: AMIN SHAH

There’s a new cosy corner in the Global Lounge near the North Spine Plaza. Apart from getting some down time at the Cozy Hub, you can take lessons on self-care, run by NTU’s peer helpers who are trained to look out for fellow students in need of emotional support. If the bean bags don’t look inviting enough, give the new coin-operated massage chairs there a go. Prices start from $1 for 10 minutes to $3 for 30 minutes.