By Séamus Smyth

Watching a viral video of a baby monkey riding a pig may be the cure to all of life’s problems.

Okay, maybe not to that extent but SAIT psychologist Terri D. Scoville suggested students should be encouraged to take a “mini-break” during strenuous study periods and indulge in the popular video blog site, YouTube. It can serve as an excellent way to reduce stress and even depression.

“I am a big supporter of YouTube. I believe laughter is the best medicine. When you laugh, you are really releasing some good endorphins into your body,” Scoville said.

With final exams approaching, along with major projects due and of course the holiday season, it is no surprise that the end November is the beginning of the busiest period for the SAIT student resource department.

It was Scoville’s work as a family therapist that gave her the idea to recommend the popular website to stressed mothers and fathers. She said it was an excellent tool to stimulate laughter because there is bound to be at least one video everyone can find entertaining.

Scoville uses the tool herself, although she doesn’t watch the ultra “silly stuff” that she has no doubt can be found on the site.

The baby monkey straddling a pig may be a bit goofy for some, yet SAIT business student Katie Oakley called it her go-to material when she’s having a rotten day.

Sergio Illanos, who is currently upgrading at SAIT, said it isn’t necessarily a video that he needs to help get him through the day, it’s usually just a few songs that can be found over YouTube.

“I’ll just take a break for a few minutes and see what’s out there and what’s new,” said Illanos. “I think it is a break to do your own thing and to clear your mind. When you go back into school work, it makes it a bit easier.”

Scoville said it isn’t just the intense workload that students will have to deal with in the upcoming two months that can lead to excessive stress.

“If you are losing sleep, you are prone to more serious stress. If you are not exercising at all and not eating well, your body can suffer,” she explained.

However, if a student can manage to clock in a solid number of sleep hours, go for a light jog, refrain from junk food and have a few lively, belly laughs, it could make a world of a difference. She referenced the book Anatomy of an Illness by author Norman Cousins for inspiration.

In 1964, Cousins was diagnosed with an incurable disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. He was restrained to a hospital bed, yet did not give up hope. He instead began watching comedies and inviting his friends and family to visit him, but on one condition—they had to make him laugh.

The endless laughs paid off and Cousins miraculously overcame the debilitating illness.

Although these methods can help many students, some may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The disorder is the result of a lack of sunlight, common during the fall season. Symptoms include change in appetite, weight gain, decreased energy, fatigue, tendency to oversleep and difficulty concentrating.

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