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STRESS LESS: Avoid the mess and take care of your health

Just as any job can be stressful, working for a newspaper can be especially stressful.

By Caitlin Spitzer


It’s Monday morning. You’re already off to a bad start, but so far the day isn’t that bad other than fighting through some fatigue. In fact, you get to work early, have a cup of coffee and start to feel a whole lot better.

Maybe this day won’t be so bad. The problem with this line of thinking is that it almost always seems to backfire.

Then it happens. You’re going to open a new Word document to get some work done and it doesn't work. OK. Maybe you just didn’t do something right? You check it again. It’s saying it won’t open because you don’t have the right operating system. You think back to the past week and remember your co-worker factory reset your computer to delete some sensitive documents. In doing so, they wiped everything including the programs you need to work.

The stress starts kicking in and your nerves are running high. Now, you’re probably going to be a day behind on work while the computer is being fixed — you’re cranky and ready to pop off at the first person who looks at you.

On top of that, your boss and co-worker are yapping away in the background. This gets on your nerves, even more, so you feel like you’re about two seconds away from throwing hot coffee at them.

The above tale is a true story from our very own office. Trust us when we say you don’t want to cross paths with an angry editor.

We’ve all encountered situations like this, in work and in personal life. Things won’t always go the way we need them to.

On the surface, we look at stress as a nuisance that we all wish we didn’t have to experience. “Stress,” however, is a multifactorial system that kept our ancestors alive thousands of years ago.

Stress is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which also happens to be responsible for heart rate, breathing and more.

The “fight-or-flight response” is activated when your brain perceives a situation as potentially dangerous or life-threatening (Cleveland Clinic).

Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, causing your heart to pump blood faster and tenses your muscles for action.

These reactions can actually be a good thing in the short-term — in the old days, it gave humans the extra strength they needed to run away from dangerous enemies and predators. In modern days, it could be that extra boost of motivation you need to study for a test or prepare for an important meeting.

But uncontrolled stress over a long period of time can be damaging to the body and cause disease years down the line. In the short-term, stress will cause symptoms such as insomnia, stomach aches and headaches. In the long-term, it increases the risk for heartburn, high blood pressure and sugar, depression, a weakened immune system and heart problems.

Ask yourself, is it worth it to get so worked up over potentially dangerous side effects?

No. It’s not.

It will ruin your whole day and drag down the people around you with the negativity.

Next time your co-worker or significant other pisses you off, try to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation temporarily.

Go for a walk, or doing something that has proven to be relaxing before, such as writing or spending time with your family (assuming they’re not the ones on your nerves.)

At the end of the day, there’s very little in this world worth getting worked up over. Most problems can be fixed. And if they can’t, throwing hot coffee at them will surely make you feel better.

Editor's note: Gazette 2.0 does not suggest throwing hot coffee at anyone. Imagine you’re doing it, don’t actually do it.


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