Is Stress Thwarting Your Zzzs?

Burn Brightly Without Burning Out 

Listen to what Dr. David Baron, Executive Director of the Ashe Center, has to say about “burning out”, the difference between the effects of psychological and physiological stress, and how we can distinguish fatigue from lack of sleep. 

"Bar Lights of London" by www.david  is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Start relaxing early in the day with a massage at the Ashe Center or chair massage at UCLA Recreation.

Connect with Others

Close, personal social relationships are a key to health and happiness. Sometimes they are harder to develop and access, but you can always reach out to a friend or family member elsewhere if not on campus. You may develop close, personal friendships on campus through student groups, the Dashew International Center’s social events (open to all students), Graduate Student Resource Center or UCLA Residential Life social events, and/or the LGBT Center.

Interacting with friendly animals has been shown to significantly lower physiological and psychological anxiety in college students. During 10th and finals week, you may play with“Furry Friends” therapy dogs at Powell Library’s Stress Busters program and on the Hill through UCLA Residential Life.

Relevant research

Wilson, C. C. (1987). Physiological responses of college students to a pet. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 175(10), 606-612.

Sherman, L. E., Michikyan, M., & Greenfield, P. M. (2013). The effects of text, audio, video, and in-person communication on bonding between friends. Cyberpsychology, 7(2).

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

If you want to be happier, stay in the moment. Practicing mindfulness meditation not only reduces stress, anxiety and burnout; but, when done regularly, it can increase cortical thickness and gray matter in the brain. Join the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center’s free drop-in mindfulness meditation sessions on campus, at the Hammer Museum, and online to begin moment-by-moment awareness.

"The Zen Diary" by David Gabriel Fischer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Relevant research

Lazar, S. W., Kerr, C. E., Wasserman, R. H., Gray, J. R., Greve, D. N., Treadway, M. T., ... & Fischl, B. (2005). Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Neuroreport, 16(17), 1893. 

Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36-43. 

Regehr, C., Glancy, D., & Pitts, A. (2013). Interventions to reduce stress in university students: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of affective disorders,148(1), 1-11.

Exercise Outside

Surrounding yourself with nature can improve recovery from stress and attention fatigue. Exercise also promotes wellness of mind by decreasing anxiety, depression, negative mood, and elevating self-esteem and cognitive abilities. And if you need more reasons to get outside and exercise, how about UCLA Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures, Marina Aquatic Center, or our tranquil campus gardens?

Revelant Research

Aspinall, P., Mavros, P., Coyne, R., & Roe, J. (2013). The urban brain: analysing outdoor physical activity with mobile EEGBritish journal of sports medicine, bjsports-2012. 

Callaghan, P. (2004). Exercise: a neglected intervention in mental health care?.Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing11(4), 476-483.

From the UCLA Outdoor Adventures Facebook page.