A sound strategy for stress relief

by Lorien E. Menhennett

Medical school is stressful. I don’t think anyone — whether looking from the inside or the outside — would deny that. So part of surviving the experience is about finding strategies to mitigate that stress. A healthy diet and regular exercise go a long way. Spending time with other people, doing non-medical-school things, is key too. Something else I’ve recently discovered is listening to the calming sounds of nature while studying. It helps put me in a peaceful frame of mind even if the material at hand is complex, and potentially frustrating. You can buy this sort of thing of course, but it’s also available for free — a plus for broke medical students — on YouTube. My favorite YouTube channel in this vein is Relaxing White Noise, which has 10-hour tracks ranging from “Bird Happy Hour at the Mountain Creek” to “Rain on Tent” to “Forest Night Nature Sounds.” There are also non-nature sounds, like a fan, but living in the concrete jungle of New York City I want to be reminded of green places and things. (I also want to drown out the perennial construction.) Here’s a sample of one track I like, “Forest Rain Sounds”: