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College Student’s Stress Management Guidelines

October 30, 2019

Studying at the university is considered our golden years. This time is filled with the most interesting and unforgettable events, the experience of independent life, the joy of new acquaintances and meetings and so on. It would seem that studying in college is pure romance and carefree.

But usually students themselves don’t think so. Because besides joy and pleasure, they’ll find many difficulties, obstacles, trials, disappointments and, of course, stress. I’ve recently been a student and I know what I’m talking about. College stress is something that students face every day throughout their studies. Surely, all the conflicts, sleepless nights, resentment towards teachers, heavy workload, and the nervousness associated with them have hurt the state of health, both mental and physical.

You might be surprised, but short-term stress is good. It’s a healthy brain response. Short-term stress mobilizes the brain, helps to quickly focus on the task, to show the best result, to conquer the audience in public speaking, etc.

Problems begin when stress becomes chronic. A few months of constant anxiety lead to memory impairment, difficulty in decision making, and a lack of the ability to enjoy. So it’s important not to miss the first signs of impending danger.

Of course, if your favorite dress is torn or the harsh professor ignored your greeting, you shouldn’t immediately run to a psychoanalyst. But if there are symptoms such as apathy and weakness; persistent headaches; increased irritability; state of despondency; chronic poor performance and lack of concentration – you need to pay special attention to them. Sometimes we don’t attach importance to the simplest things, that cause the destructive effect of the tornado on our health.

Here are some of the chronic stress consequences:

  • There are sleep disturbances. Students with high levels of stress often complain of intermittent shallow sleep, and sometimes even insomnia.
  • One feels constant hunger. Under stress, food is perceived as delight. The production of the hormone of satiety is disrupted, so overeating most often becomes a side effect. Nervous tension and poor sleep determine your food choice: low protein, a lot of fat, lack of vegetables and fruits, frequent high-calorie snacks in the evening and at night. All of this inevitably leads to weight gain and vascular problems.
  • Skin can also suffer from stress. It can cause acne, psoriasis, eczema, or make the symptoms of these diseases more obvious. The more severe the disorder degree is, the sharper the skin disease is expressed. Some psychological problems can appear as a result: a decrease in self-esteem, depression, or social phobia.
  • Due to stressful situations, adrenaline levels increase. Blood pressure rises, heart rate increases. You may feel a sharp pain in the chest, have difficulty breathing – these symptoms related to heart disease.
  • Prolonged stress can disrupt the digestive system.
  • The nervous periods of life are often accompanied by a common cold. Regular excess stress weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight viruses.
  • Depression is a common result of chronic stress.

As you can see, it’s not fun. Stress is something you need to learn to cope with to prevent the development of serious illnesses.

Common Causes Of Stress in College Students

Why are we stressed? If you want to count the main causes of stress in college on the fingers, you’ll have to count the fingers of your roommates’ hands too and that may not be enough. Let’s take a look at the most common ones and tips to cope with them.

  • Academic Overloading

Endless essays, writing assignments, research projects, additional classes, part-time work, and you still need time for a hobby and personal life… No wonder that you’re stressed. This is a natural reaction to the difficulties that have occurred during the college months.

Often students don’t cope with their curriculum due to the incorrect allocation of their time to prepare for a particular kind of task. Many stresses of college arise because of a careless attitude towards time. The consequence of this is the presence of unresolved issues.

To avoid academic overloading, learn the basic principles of time management. Use every free minute, first of all, to solve current problems related to study and only then spend your free time on your hobbies.

If you can, don’t get a job during the study. I’m not talking about internships that are useful for your future career. I’m talking about a part-time job, say, in a snack-bar. You lose time, don’t gain useful experience, and feel a breakdown.

  • Homesickness

You know this feeling very well if you moved to another city or even a state. It’s natural for you to feel that way, especially if this is your first experience of independent life. But even if you’re already used to living without parents, homesickness can cover you.

Just don’t be shy. This is your home and it’s OK that you’ll miss it at certain times. Although studying means an exciting time and new opportunities, students sometimes find it difficult to adapt to new conditions.

The busier you are, the less time you have to feel stress because of wistfulness. And the less you think about it, the less likely you’re to become discouraged. Try to make your day full of affairs: go on excursions, meet new people, cook a new dish, read an interesting book. This will give you many new memories and help to cope with homesickness.

  • Exam Pressure

How to not stress if you know that your exams are coming? Perhaps this is impossible. As far as I can remember, I’m starting to get nervous from upcoming exams in advance. So it is for many other students.

Passing an exam is always a very serious challenge for a student. It’s not only testing and verifying the knowledge you acquired over a certain period, but also a serious psychological shake-up. After all, you have to take a lot of subjects, communicate with examiners, repeat the material, etc for a short time.

The main way to avoid stress is to prepare well for exams and believe in yourself.

  • Roommate relationships

Living with someone can be a real challenge, especially if you differ in character, daily routine, habits, and interests – in everything! A little room frequently lacks an area where you can be alone. Living in a cage is stress. Some roommates are bored by talks every night, although you want to silence.

When you live in one room with other people, you need to learn how to set boundaries. Each of you should have their space and their own rights – for instance, a separate shelf in the fridge, a place for personal items, etc.

Read articles on how to build good relationships with your roomie. So you can avoid stress and conflict.

  • Social Anxiety

Do you diligently avoid contact with strangers? Is it hard for you to find a common language and build healthy relationships with fellow students? Do you have problems in your personal life and your studies because of this? In this case, stress is inevitable. All your study and life are imbued with a sense of anxiety and discomfort. The above phenomena may be signs of social anxiety. Its other symptoms include panic and emotional stress in situations where you’re criticized and evaluated, self-criticism, pessimistic thinking, irritability, constant anxiety, and many others.

Fighting social anxiety isn’t easy. If the problem is your low self-esteem and simple inability to communicate with others, you should work on these skills. If the problem is deeper, you’d rather visit a psychoanalyst.

It’s not a complete list of causes of stress, of course. Keep in mind that you need to find out in time that you’re in distress to try to get rid of it.

7 Ways To Reduce Stress

The main issue of dealing with stress is how often you’re stressed, and whether you consciously work on its removal. Do you recuperate as often as you stress? And how can you reduce stress? After all, the causes of stress won’t just disappear.

The point is, the less stress you get, the easier it is to deal with it. They say the fire is easier to prevent than to put out. This is also true for stressful situations. Everyone needs to know what measures must be taken to extinguish the fire, but it’s even more important to understand what needs to be done to prevent the fire (for instance, not to sleep with a cigarette in your hand and not to forget to turn off the iron). The same thing with stress: it needs to be prevented.  

People react to stress in different ways. Therefore, recommendations should also be individual, but there are some general tips can help reduce stress.

  • Sleeping enough

А good night’s sleep is one of the main methods of protection against stress. This is an excellent tool for restoring strength and lightening your mood. It sounds obvious, but it works! Someone requires five hours of sleep; another needs more than nine. Getting enough sleep guarantees cheerfulness and clarity of thought. Listen to yourself and adjust your daily schedule to your needs.

A midday nap is also helpful. It helps the brain “reboot”, relieves stress, and restores vitality. Try to sleep only 20-30 minutes to restore efficiency and attention. By the way, such a short sleep won’t cause insomnia at night. So, have you had a bad day? Go to sleep!

  • Eating well

Under stress, you often don’t eat well. You eat your feelings with sweet and fatty foods (so delicious!), often have shacks instead of a normal lunch, drink a lot of coffee in the hope of invigorating. Is that right? Then don’t be surprised that you can’t cope with stress. Your body simply doesn’t have the strength to do this! Where can you receive strength and energy if you don’t get enough nutrients?

  • Healthy food

It is the second step to getting rid of constant stress after sleep. I don’t force you to completely abandon burgers and chocolate in this joyless period of life (after all, this is the source of serotonin). Most importantly, you should consume enough protein, carbohydrates, and proper fats. Make sure your diet includes foods such as meat (or soy, beans, and mushrooms if you’re a vegan), cereals, fresh vegetables, and fruits.

  • Exercise

You’ve probably heard the proverb “where there is a sound body there must be a sound mind”. And it’s true! If stress has become an integral part of your life, take exercise.

People who do sports regularly will probably tell you that they feel great both physically and emotionally. Exercise reduces anxiety, helps to relax, and improves self-esteem. You don’t have to spend all day in the gym. Choose an activity that you like: dancing, tennis, yoga, cycling, or just walking. The main thing is to work out!

  • Avoid unnatural energy boosters

Negativity, a sudden surge of energy, nervous irritation aren’t good for you – they may lead to stress. Find out what provokes you and avoid such irritants. Whether it’s people or specific situations, try to avoid them as much as possible or at least minimize contact.

If you feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and anxiety and irritability have become your constant companions – it’s high time to relax. Make a list of tasks and strike from it all that is unnecessary and what you can do tomorrow and take rest.

  • Emotional support

The worst thing you can do in stress is not talking to anyone. You don’t need to cope with stress alone, feel free to ask for help. Sometimes under stress, you just need to talk it out, to see the problem from a different angle, just voicing it. When you communicate with a close friend, the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, decreases in your body. Emotional support is incredibly important! A conversation with loved ones can trigger the so-called “relaxation response”. So the next time you worry about the upcoming exam next time, call your friend or mom.

  • Breathing

Usually, nobody thinks about breathing. But sometimes, it suddenly becomes difficult to breathe – for instance, during physical exertion or in a stressful situation. You can control your breath, use it to calm. I’m not going to talk in detail here about what breathing exercises. They are easy to find in the special literature (and even on YouTube). I’ll just say that calm breathing can be an effective way to deal with stress, along with relaxation and concentration. Rhythmic breathing calms the nerves and prevents mood swings. Try breathing exercises and you’ll see for yourself!

Of course, compared with life in the past, we now don’t need to go hunting in the forest, escape from predators and worry about the safety of our lives. But the number of stressful situations is growing steadily. This is especially true for students.

It’s no secret that tension accumulates very quickly – and you should also get rid of it immediately. You can help yourself. Try my advice and you’ll see that dealing with stress isn’t as difficult as it seems.

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