It’s one word, eight letters and for university students it results in pure dread. Midterms. The word on its own is enough to send a shiver down anyone’s spine. As midterm season creeps up on us, so do all the thoughts and emotions associated with it. Personally, it ranges from “I got this” to “can I live in my parents basement forever?”. Exams tend to bring up some pretty intense emotions. It’s important to figure out how to deal with those emotions before they hit. My suggestion for helping you relax before midterms? Puppy therapy.
The Science Behind Puppy Therapy
Some universities are bringing in furry friends to help students relieve their stress before or during the exam period. A study performed by researchers at Georgia State University, shows that a visit with a dog can help ease anxiety and feelings of loneliness by up to 60% among college students. Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. In light of this, many colleges and universities have started to implement therapy dog events on campus. Students can attend these events and play with the dogs. More than any other animal, dogs have evolved to become attuned to humans' behaviour and emotions. So if you find yourself stressed out over the next few weeks, spend a few minutes playing with your family pet (or a friend’s pet) and release that oxytocin. I promise it will help you relax before midterms. Good luck on those midterms!