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Plug yourself into comfort

Students use music as an outlet for the stress of academia

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CHICAGO — During finals week at DePaul, students are spending endless hours at the library, drinking more and more caffeine and disregarding sleep completely. All of these examples are signs of high stress. Finals is the peak of stress for most college students.

According to an Associated Press Survey in 2008, 80 percent of the college students surveyed said they frequently experience daily stress, 34 percent had felt depressed at some point in the past three months, 13 percent had been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as an anxiety disorder or depression and 9 percent had seriously considered suicide in the past year.

So how do students deal with stress?

Many students plug in their headphones and block out the world with music. “Music allows me to focus on something other than what is going on in my life and to significantly lower my stress level,” said William Wright, a first year graphic design major, “It can definitely help relax me and even make me feel happier and more positive.”

Research shows that music can help individuals concentrate and relieve stress and anxiety. A professor of psychology at DePaul University eplained a theory called “The Mozart Effect.” The Mozart Effect is defined as the ability of Mozart’s music to increase the listeners’ concentration and intelligence and to advance reading and language skills. While many college students aren’t listening to Mozart, many find the same affect with music they enjoy.

“When studying, I either listen to instrumental music or really mellow singer-songwriter or indie music.” said Wright, “When I want to relax, I can really listen to any type of music that I like so long as it doesn’t put me on edge. Music allows me to plug into my zone and tune out the world for little bits of time.”

Many students also find relief from stress from their daily life creating and performing music. At DePaul, there are over ten music groups not exclusive to music major students can become a part of to express their creativity and to relieve some of there pent up frustrations.

“For me, creating music allows me an escape from reality and lets me be innovative with something that makes me genuinely happy,” expressed Andrew Martinez, Co-Music Director of InterChorus, one of four accapella groups on campus. Martinez balances school and work, while still arranging music and directing the group. “Arranging and listening to music alleviates stress for me because its just a moment throughout my day where I can step back and focus on myself and not worry about anyone else.”

The options for stress relief are endless.

Music isn’t the only way students handle the pressures of school work. There are a variety of groups on campus like Campus Recreation and The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness that focus on relieving the stress of academia in a positive and .

The Ray offers a wide range of classes, such as yoga and kickboxing. They push students to work out to relieve stress and to feel better in general. Many students run groups have formed with an emphasis on relieve stress and educating about mental illness. Thinking Positive:Mind,Body& Soul! is a group on campus focusing on creating a space for students to relax and refresh.

Students can also seek out counseling if they are struggling severely with. Yet, a lot of students turn to drugs and alcohol to de-stress instead. These tendencies can be detrimental to students because not only are they bad for the body, they can get you in trouble legally. The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness urges us to, “Take care of ourselves. Take care of others. Take Care DePaul.”

If you are a DePaul student and you are feeling overwhelmed by the stress of life, you are not alone. There are resources here to help you. You can contact the University Counseling Service on the Lincoln park campus at the phone number (773) 325–7779, in the loop at (312) 362–6923 or online here.

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