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Stree-free park: Is a park the solution to rising stress levels of Kota students?

Kota is all set to welcome its one-of-a-kind “Stress-free park” in the coming week. The main objective of this park is to give the students, living in Kota, a touch of nature to overcome stress & motivate them and also promote eco-tourism in the city.

Despite the city being known for its medical and engineering entrance examinations coaching, including IIT-JEE and NEET, there was no adequate recreation for the student population (which is over 2 lakh) in Kota. In the recent past, Kota has seen many innocent students losing their life to stress and performance pressure. Keeping students motivated and de-stressed has been a longstanding problem and the government has been working to find a solution for that for many years now.

Being constructed on the lines of Madrid’s Retro Park and New York’s City park, the Rajasthan government is building a ‘Stress-free park Kota’ through its local self-body named Urban Improvement Trust (UIT), Kota.

As per the statement given by the Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal, "With 74% green cover and 50,000 trees and plants, the park will have amusement structures for the students including leisure trails, art gallery, egg shape Aviary with foreign species birds, amphitheater, art hill, botanical garden, kinetic rotary tower, star plaza fountain, disc fountains, plafood court, open gyms, musical fountain, jogging trek, volcano structure, Science garden, punting canals, Duck pond, Wi-Fi cyber zone, and shrub garden."

Nearly 16% area of the park will have water bodies including ponds and canals while only 12% area will have permanent concrete structures which also will be environment friendly. Wi-fi cafes, an Inverted pyramid, Food Arena, Play zone for children will attract students and tourists, ‘Knowledge is freedom’ statue and ‘Statues of Scientists’ will also motivate the students, the statement added.

But can a park, being built on 71 acres of land with an investment of Rs 100 Crore, be the solution for the tensity that students are facing in Kota?

Can a park reduce stress?

According to American Heart Association, “Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing.”

Many pieces of research have revealed that our environment directly affects our mood and wellbeing. It can increase or reduce stress and affect your nervous, endocrine and immune system. What we see, touch, and hear affects not only our mood but our body too.

One can experience anxiety, sadness or helplessness in an unpleasant environment which may lead to elevated blood pressure, pulse rate, muscle tension and suppressed immune system which directly affects your nervous and endocrine systems as well. Whereas a pleasant environment reverses that.

Nature is MAGIC. It heals, soothes, restores and connects. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. In addition, nature helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort. viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention. Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks. Nature also inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment.

According to a study in Frontiers in Psychology, spending 20-30 minutes connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels.

What else can you do in times of stress?

Here are our top 6 recommendations that you can implement in your life to manage your daily stress.

Use guided meditation.

If you want to distract yourself from the stress of your day-to-day life, guided meditation is one great way to do that. There is nothing better than starting your day with calm and positive vibes. You can take help of some professional or surf the internet for some videos on centered relaxation.

Practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s response to a perceived threat. Inhale to a count of five seconds, hold for two seconds and exhale to a count of five seconds, can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce the overall stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.

Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.

Physical exercise and nutrition are two important components in how you respond to stress. When your body is healthy, your mind can be healthy and vice versa. Physical exercise is proven to be a great stress reliever and also helps to improve your overall quality of life. Nutrition is important as stress can deplete certain vitamins, such as A, B complex, C and E. Maintaining proper nutrition not only helps your body feel better, but your mind as well, which allows you to better combat stress.

Manage social media time.

Spending time on social media sites can be stressful, not only by what we might see there, but also because the time you are spending on social media might be best spent enjoying visiting with friends, being outside enjoying the weather or reading a great book.

Connect with others.

Humans are social beings. You need to have connections with people to feel supported. Finding a sense of community — whether at work, with a religious organization, or through shared activities, such as organized sports — is important to your well-being. Enjoying a shared activity allows you to find support and foster relationships that can be supportive in difficult times.

Seek counseling

If new stressors are challenging your ability to cope or if self-care measures just aren't relieving your stress, you may need to look for reinforcements in the form of therapy or counseling. Therapy also may be a good idea if you feel overwhelmed or trapped, if you worry excessively, or if you have trouble carrying out daily routines or meeting responsibilities at work, home, or school. Professional counselors or therapists can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.

We are very optimistic about this new park and really hope it serves its purpose of helping students take a break from their stressful life.

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