Thursday, January 3, 2013

Right amount of stress.

I completely zoned out over holiday break. As soon as I finished my last exam for radiology, I was ready for the road.

My winter break in Arizona was perfect. I ate delicious things, soaked up the sun and watched movies- Les Miserables & Life of Pi! It was perfectly relaxing… and yet it felt so strange to not be under constant stress all the time. Exam next Friday. Readings due and clinic preparation coming up.

stressdefinitelymaybe

Being completely relaxed left me unmotivated to do any work. I wrote a few emails but that was it. I thought I’d be able to focus better without deadlines and exams constantly looming over my head but I was wrong.

Challenge stress- at moments when you need to perform- can be beneficial. The right amount of cortisol can help you remember important facts- of course only up to a certain point.

While looking up stress factoids, I found this interview with Dr. Robert Sapolsky from Stanford ending with the suggestion that we should tap into our social resources to manage stress. This is especially true in dental school when everyone is experiencing similar frustrations (hello, whatshouldwecalldentalschool).  I also believe in laughter. For one, look at Dr. Sapolsky’s hair- Tarzan’s probably jealous.

I wrote this article on managing stress over Thanksgiving for ASDA Penn chapter. I think it’s more important to manage stress than to try to eliminate stress altogether from my life. First, it’s actually realistic and second, as I learned this winter, I thrive on the right amount of stress… as long as it doesn’t get out of control. Like hair-falling-out, headache-every-afternoon out of control.

So this second semester of dental school, I hope to channel stress to be productive and get things done. When I get flustered, I calm down by writing down a everything to-do list, then slowly check it off one by one. This and envisioning me conquering the task-at-hand sometimes helps.

How to you channel stress to get things done?
Those who saw both: Life of Pi or Les Mis?
(I was blown away by Life of Pi!!!).

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