Stress is strain on a person’s mind and body that cause physical responses such as sweaty palms, muscle tightening, and rapid heartbeat. It also causes emotional responses like anxiousness, fear, and depression. The original purpose for this pressuring force is to create the urgency needed to complete important responsibilities. The problem involving stress in college is the unnecessary stress we create by procrastinating, second-guessing or expecting perfection in our work.
Short moments of stress work wonders for the immune system, but long-term stress cause the adrenal gland to secrete excessive amounts of stress hormones. High levels can cause negative physical and neurological reactions for instance, anxiety disorder, amnesia, mood swings, chronic headaches, and weight issues. This is why coping with and reducing stress is vital to your college success.
Set realistic goals. Goals are results people aim to achieve. Goals in college are important for success, but do not have to be impractical. Simplify the pursuit of your achievements by setting goals that are within your grasp. Most accredited colleges today teach their students to aim for S.M.A.R.T. objectives. The acronym stands for questions that you can apply to the duties you desire to carry out and will prevent you from setting unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve, therefore preventing feelings of inadequacy.
Avoid procrastination. Procrastination is a habit that makes students freeze when it comes to their assignments. It is not caused by laziness or lack of knowledge. It stems from underlying perfectionism. This personality trait, characterized by perfect standards people set for themselves, leads to dread, anxiety, and fear of failure as well as disapproval from others. In order to win the procrastination battle, you must first stop dwelling on the size and complex details of the project. Secondly, write out a simple plan of action. If you break the assignment down into smaller jobs, it will not be so overwhelming. Lastly, do not think, just complete step one on your plan. If you just dive into the project, you will find that it is not as complicated as you had imagined.
Take care of yourself. Exercise, sleep and proper nutrition are essential to the balance of mental, physical, and emotional health. Stress has a direct effect on the condition of the heart. Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure and heart disease, which have direct connections to heart failure and attacks. Regular exercise pushes out endorphins, natural pain relievers, which lower stress in the body. Eating balanced meals regularly along with avoiding sugars and stimulants like alcohol and drugs, balance energy levels, cutting cortisol and adrenaline. It also boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter that calms the brain.
Learn to say no. We all want the approval of friends and family. However, guilt can put unnecessary burden on the body and mind from this disease to please. The truth is college is a demanding commitment. It requires self-discipline and dedication. For this reason, you must set boundaries for the people in your life. Spreading yourself to thin can pave the way for worry. Instead of just throwing out the “y” word, prioritize your tasks in a list to determine if it is logical to add the family favor. Politely saying no is okay. To make those important ones understand the situation better, explain your schedule, but do not allow guilt to stop you from making the right choice.
Change your thinking. Self-loathing causes negative stress and begins a phase of pessimism that can cause brain damage and memory loss to occur. You can break this cycle by changing the way you think of you. Self-talk is the internal dialogue used to communicate to your mind, the perception yourself and the world. Become aware of your inner dialogue. Write down some positive comments about yourself on index cards and read them periodically. This will help transform your thinking from negative to positive. It does not happen in an instant, but as you become more optimistic, your stress levels will decrease.
Have some fun. Lengthy studying can cause fatigue and eyestrain. The student also tends to retain less of the material. That is why escaping the books for some social time is so important. Giving your brain a break helps it to recoup and do its best. Here are some fun and relaxing activities, you can do to get that serotonin pumping:
- Host a game night with your friends.
- Go running in the park on a sunny day (sunlight helps the body make serotonin).
- Get a massage.
- Snuggle with your pet.
- Bring out an old photo album.
Academic anxiety is manageable and with the help of these pressure-relieving techniques, you will distress you way to success. For more ways of managing college stress effectively, visit counseling.ufl.edu or your school’s website.