Don’t blow your top: Here are some great ways to relieve pre-finals stress

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A walk past Sproul Hall can trigger stress. During finals week, every last-minute chore can come up, from booking flights home for the holidays to an extra credit assignment for your GSI.

Still, it doesn’t have to work that way. Stress can be redirected toward a positive mental attitude. Here are sure-fire ways to calm your inner chakra whether you have 10 minutes or an hour to spare.

Do nothing.
The “Do Nothing Meditation” is a way of experiencing countless awarenesses taught by Shinzen Young. It can be summed in two sentences. Let whatever happens happen: Anytime you notice yourself doing anything intentionally, stop. There’s no set posture or length to breathe in your present moment.

Laughter is the best medicine.
Make funny faces in front of the mirror with peers, and share your pictures on Instagram. If you are pressed for time and just need a good laugh, watch Judson Laipply’s “Evolution of Dance,” the funniest cat video or classic America’s funniest videos.

Listen to music.
Music is an instant attitude adjustment, especially when it’s free through Pandora, Listal or Spotify. Aqua, Louis Armstrong and the Beatles are classic finds, but dubstep is also popular for massaging tension out of the body. Dance. If that’s too difficult, just shake it out. There is an event on Dec. 4 at the RSF promising to give away massages and comfort food for energy.

Take  a walk with your friends.
The great outdoors will wake up your senses. At Berkeley, there’s a great view waiting at the running trail above the Clark Kerr campus. Notice the trees, the air, the smell and the sound of your every step. What does it feel like to wiggle your toes? Savor the moment feeling grounded to the Earth’s natural powers.

Drink water.
“Hydration 101: The Case for Drinking Enough Water” by Barbara Levine claims that the reason for headaches is dehydration. The body is a machine that needs fluids to operate efficiently. More than 60 percent of our bodies is water, and light exercise can deplete reserves. When stress is at peak, the possibility of forgetting to hydrate is high. There’s a test to find out if you lack water. With your palm facing down, pinch the knuckles. If the skin turns white and stays in one place, then you are likely dehydrated. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives, like coconut water, Vitamin Water and Gatorade, but there is certainly no excuse to not fill up on the real thing.

Eat healthily.
Have your share of fruits and vegetables from a local farmers market. It also doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of chocolate. Find the kind that is at least 70 percent cocoa. Stir up “no-bake cookies” with two cups of sugar, four tablespoons of cocoa, a stick of butter, half a cup of milk, peanut butter, one tablespoon of vanilla and oatmeal in a bowl. You can even stir in acai or your favorite berries.

“Mixing no-bake cookies is one way I forget about my stress,” said Margaret Byron, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley. “I can make them in 20 minutes when I have time between school work. They are made to share — my friends love it.”

Contact Amabelle Ocampo at [email protected].