Have you ever considered taking a step back to your childhood and buying a $2 canister of Play-Doh to ease your anxiety?
In the midst of endless papers, exams, loans and trying to maintain a social life, college living can produce ample amounts of stress. I’m sure you have heard all of the usual (albeit useful) suggestions from health experts — get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, don’t sleep with your phone, take deep breaths — but have you ever considered taking a step back into your childhood and buying a $2 canister of Play-Doh to ease your anxiety?
It may seem silly, but play therapy techniques, such as playing with Play-Doh, can be as useful to 20-year-olds as it is to 2-year-olds.
Child psychologist Nancy Schultz writes in her book, 101 More Favorite Play Therapy Techniques, “Using Play-Doh is an easily applied technique that appeals to most children and taps into the unconscious mind as it is used as an art expression.”
Play-Doh can offer the same expression for college-aged students. It also serves as a relaxant similar to that of a stress ball. Many health and counseling centers hand out containers of Play-Doh during the most stressful weeks of the semester. University of Louisville gives students an opportunity to de-stress with playtime during finals, hosting events where students can color and play with Play-Doh.
Most of us put the Play-Doh away upon graduating kindergarten, maybe using it once or twice thereafter as a learning tool to make DNA strands in science class. However, the next time you find yourself frantic and frazzled before an exam or in the middle of the never-ending paper, grab a can of Play-Doh to help calm your nerves.
Northwestern University’s Happiness Club purchases “things such as Play-Doh, chalk, stickers, balloons and kites” according to RedEye Chicago. The Happiness Club at NU uses simple play therapy techniques to help students de-stress and find a happier lifestyle.
If you are looking for something a little less playful, you might consider investing in what many call the adult version of Play-Doh, Mohdoh. Like Play-Doh, Mohdoh is colorful dough that is helpful in relieving stress. Mohdoh is also infused with different oils, giving it an element of aromatherapy.
Keri Glassman, author of Nutritious Life, writes in her article “Play Your Stress Away,” that of “the $34 billion Americans spent on alternative medicine in 2009, about 12% was spent in sectors that included mindfulness concepts, such as meditation-related classes or relaxation techniques.”
She goes on to explain Mohdoh is an inexpensive way to decompress. Glassman said these “vibrantly painted moldable pieces of dough combine three stress relieving therapies: aromatherapy, tactile-play therapy and color therapy.” Play-Doh and Mohdoh give your hands a moment to work through the anxiety that the busy college life produces.
If you like to cook, you can also make your own version of the dough.
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