LOL: Managing Stress While Waiting
It’s a tough time in the admissions cycle. At least for prospective students. Most have submitted applications and are waiting for interviews, or have had interviews and are waiting for decisions. There’s an absence of information that ‘s unnerving. It’s just plain stressful. So is waiting for a job offer or waiting for a chance to be in the starting lineup of the Golden State Warriors.
I can tell you what not to do: don’t pester admisssions officers, don’t go down the rabit hole of message boards, and don’t only talk to yourself about business school.
I can also tell you to get exercise — but that goes without saying. But it is a good idea to just zone out and do something else.
So, what might that be?
This is indeed easier said than done. But I tell myself this with regularity, and you should too: lighten up. A Harvard PhD whom I admire a lot name Martha Beck onces wrote, “The more stressful, dangerous, baffling, or unpleasant your situation, the more important it is to laugh at it.”
Scientific proof that laughing works
We all know intuitively that laughter is the best medicine, and research backs up this aphorism. Scientists at the University of Maryland Cardiac Medical Center found that clips from humorous films like “There’s Something About Mary” caused arteries to expand, increasing blood flow to the heart. The Brits have taken it one step further, declaring that laughing in a social setting increases endorphins, that is, mitigates pain.
So what does this tell you? Stare your unringing phone in the face laugh right at it. Or put yourself on a steady diet of old reruns of Arrested Development, Mean Tweets or funniest cat videos.
Some Reading Too
I actually recommend picking up a good book too. Books often take longer and grab more of your idle brain matter than an episode of The Handmaids Tale, an SNL cold open, or a Daily Show news report. Speaking of the Daily Show, have you listened to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah? Of course you can read it too, but listening to Trevor Noah voice about 20 different African accents is sublime. As for books on paper or Kindle, I couldn’t put down American Kingpin, about a bro from Austin and San Francisco who ran a website that sold hard drugs and guns on the dark web.
I’m sure there are some scientific studies that measure brain relaxation waves while escaping through the pages of a book. Other books people are talking about: Educated (not my favorite), Bad Blood (about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos), Sapiens (ok), and for fiction, The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriary (both page turners) or something more erudite.
So, if you are all wrapped up in your single-minded pursuit of getting exactly what you want *right now*, relax, laugh at it, laugh at yourself, and if you are still having trouble cracking a smile, laugh at me. That’s what my whole family does, so why not you?
– Betsy Massar