Our Opinion: Crack a smile to reduce stress

Late at night before a deadline, stress and panic set in. Feeling like you’ll never finish your project or be ready for your exam, you understandably freak out. Your roommate tries to offer a reassuring word, but you just snap. This is the precise situation students should try to avoid in the midst of midterm season. It’s important to balance all your work with a little fun, and remember that having a sense of humor can help you through these trying times.

Studying for hours without a break is not the most effective strategy. Still, many students believe that an extended date with their textbooks will somehow cement the information. However, it is impossible for anyone, even those Adderall pill-poppers in your neuroscience class, to focus for that long.

A short break is a great way to reward yourself for your hard work. Catch up with friends and swap witty stories, or pop in your favorite comedy DVD. Try watching funny online videos (try Mad TV’s “Bon Qui Qui” sketch for a good chuckle). Laughing releases hormones in your brain that help you deal with stress, and the act itself has a cathartic effect. Taking the time to do something fun, and to give your brain a break, will allow you to better retain information and keep your sanity intact.

When things go wrong, as they inevitably will at the worst time possible, cracking a smile can help you cope. Laughing allows you to momentarily remove yourself from the situation and to determine the best course of action. After countless days filled with studying, realizing you still have five more chapters to cover could put you at your wit’s end. Finding irony in the situation and having a laugh allows you to react in a positive way and move on. A short guffaw could be the release you need to continue studying and achieve those straight A’s.

The weeks ahead will be a tough time for all. Keeping things light, staying positive and humoring stressful situations will hopefully aid students in surviving the hectic midterm season.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

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