Stress and College Students Introduction
(For more information, look into taking CPD102AH)
College life can be stressful. No news there. It seems we are constantly walking on a tightrope trying to balance our time between going to classes, studying, working, and of course, socializing. How can we effectively manage each of these responsibilities without feeling out of control? This short article will address this question.
Although we typically think of stress as “bad”, we need to understand that stress is only harmful when it is excessive or intrusive. Actually, much of the stress that we all experience can be helpful and stimulating (such as increasing our energy and motivation to rise to a challenge). The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring and static existence (or to an even more stressful life!).
Most stressors are not life or death. They are often small, cumulative and chronic annoyances or inconveniences that add up to become unmanageable. Of course, some stress reactions are part of deeper and more serious emotional problems (counseling is available for these stressors), but many are not; they can be handled with relatively simple counseling and stress-management techniques. You can use the following guidelines to help manage your stress:
- Identify your stressors, their causes and consequences, and your role in creating these stress reactions
- Learn and apply time-management skills
- Learn and apply specific relaxation techniques
- Gain perspective on problems by discussing them ("We are only as sick as our secrets")
Where is your stress coming from?
Examples include noise, pollution, traffic, crowding, and the weather.
Examples include illness, injuries, hormonal fluctuations, and inadequate sleep or nutrition.
The way you think affects how you respond both emotionally and physically to stressors. Negative self-talk, comparing, Catastrophizing, and perfectionism all contribute to increased stress.
Examples include relationship conflicts, financial problems, school and work demands, social events, and experiencing a conflict or loss.
If you need assistance knowing whether or not you are experiencing stress, here are some clues to look for (remember the symptoms of stress impact the person who is experiencing stress as well as those around him or her):
- Muscular tension
- Colds or other illnesses
- High blood pressure
- Stomach pains
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fear or anxiety
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Mood swings
- Unwanted or repetitive thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Negative self-concept