Pet therapy is a stress and mental health campaign run by the PEACH project in Brighton Students’ Union. We know that University can be stressful, so we want to do what we can to help. As part of the campaign we set up Pet Therapy sessions on each campus during the exam and assessment periods in January and May. The dogs come in because we know stroking a dog can reduce stress levels and improve people’s mood, but it also gives us an opportunity to have a chat with everyone and offer them additional support if they need it. We also use the sessions to find out what else we can do to support students with their stress levels and mental health. If you’d like to help with future sessions please consider volunteering with us or if you have any feedback or areas of mental health you would like us to focus on for future campaigns please email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are feeling stressed, or like you may benefit from some extra support, please don’t wait until the next Pet Therapy sessions, you can find some stress reduction tips below, ways to improve your wellbeing here or there are places you can go for additional support on campus or off campus.
Stress Reduction Tips
Stress is a natural feeling, designed to help you cope in challenging situations. In small amounts it’s good, because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, but in bigger amounts some people can feel overwhelming and it can negatively affect their health.
The first signs of stress are irritability and sleep problems. Too much can lead to physical & psychological problems, such as anxiety (feelings ranging from uneasiness to severe and paralysing panic), a dry mouth, churning stomach, palpitations (pounding heart) and in some cases depression.
Self-help stress tips
- Assess exactly what in your life is making you anxious. For example, is it exams, money or relationship problems? See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you’re under.
- Focus on your health. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, cut down on alcohol and spend some time on your hobbies and relaxing. Sport Brighton do a great range of exercise classes from as little as £1, which will help your body to produce endorphins and give your brain a break from studying.
- Relaxation and breathing exercises may help. Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm you down. There are also apps you can download with guided meditations, for example Headspace.
- Try not to worry about the future or compare yourself with others, but if you do struggle with worries make sure you share them with your support circle and talk them through, or get support on campus or off campus.
If you're experiencing physical or mental ill health you may find you miss lectures and/or deadlines. This can cause your results to suffer, and put you at risk of failure to progress or even withdrawal from your course. Make sure you tell your Personal Tutor and book an appointment with a Union Support Advisor as we can help you ask for an extension to a deadline or apply for mitigating circumstances. Your schools' Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT) can also help you with this.