Beat the College Stress with Pets
Forget yoga - BC student suggests keeping after a pet may be the answer to relaxation
Editor's note: Bloomfield College Beat is a weekly feature written by BC students focusing on life on campus. This week's column is written by junior broadcast journalism major Ashley Joseph.
“I do yoga as many times a week as I can to relieve college stress.”
“I have an app on my phone that provides me with breathing exercises that I use before a big test.”
“I like to hit the gym and work out before finals week.”
These are some of the answers I received when asking Bloomfield College students how they deal with stress and anxiety college life may bring. From yoga to “just dealing with it,” many students handle stress differently.
One BC student caught my attention freshman: Jessica Abrams finds solace in her miniature Yorkshire terrier, Champ.
“He’s amazing he just sits on my lap while I study and it really helps me out,” she said.
Something she finds silly and others may think is crazy may be the answer to college stress survival.
We hear stories every so often about how pets, typically dogs, save lives and protect their owners. What is truly amazing and beneficial to students is that their pets can actually help to relieve stress. Being in a new setting, meeting new friends, and feeling overloaded with tons of work and extracurricular activities can be overwhelming. According to the report “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” less students are reporting above-average emotional health, and many students feel increasingly overwhelmed before even entering college.
Research shows that our pets can improve our mood, making us feel better. Animals generally give lots of love and affection to their owners. A person is able to be themselves around their animals and not have to experience rejection. Animals are great for students to have because they will receive plenty of companionship, which a student may not be experiencing on campus. Cats are often great stress relievers with their easy going attitudes; they're very independent but love attention and are often affectionate.
Energetic and active pets like dogs can encourage students to exercise which is great for relieving stress, keeping fit and staying healthy.
“When I lived back at home, I was forced to walk my dog,” said student Christina Montana. “It’s much more difficult to find time to go to the gym now than it ever was.”
Colleges may allow students to keep fish as pets in dorms. Studies show that observing fish allows students to relieve anxiety and take their mind off hectic thoughts like a paper that is due or a test they have to study for. Fish are also less demanding to look after.
Many people enjoy feeding, grooming and taking care of their pets. This brings out the nurturing character that is in most people, and could help comfort or neutralize stress from a student that is accustomed to caring for a younger sibling or family member back at home.
Being a pet owner could also cause more stress. It is important to know what you’re getting yourself into when deciding to become a pet owner, especially when you are a college student. You should always pick a pet that is easy to maintain and care for responsibly. If you’re living in student housing, check with your school's guidelines on what pets are permitted.
Your health is very important not only your physical health but your emotional health as well. If you are a BC student and are experiencing any health-related problems, contact the Wellness Center on campus at 973-748-9000, exts. 360, 403, 302, 393.