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Name: Emmah Sonny
Email: emmahsonny@gmail.com
Bio: Editor and writer, Emmah Sonny has a passion and interest in writing stories.
Post Source: The post was originally posted in Finstock Evarsity college blog post and is the copyright property of Finstock Evarsity College which reserves all rights

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Being a student can be tough. Each student functions best at a particular stress level. When stress increases beyond that level, the effectiveness of his performance begins to drop. When a student passes his peak of effectiveness he usually experience symptoms like forgetfulness, dulled senses, poor concentration, headaches, digestive upsets, restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. The occurrence of these symptoms can alert us to take steps to reduce our stress so our effectiveness can remain at a high level.

How To Manage Stress as A College Student

Kenneth Ginsburg, in his book A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens (2006) describing stress as “the uncomfortable feeling you get when you’re worried, scared, angry, frustrated or overwhelmed. It is caused by emotions, but it effects your mood and body.

Stress is the way human beings react both physically and mentally to changes, events, and situations in their lives. People experience stress in different ways and for different reasons. The reaction is based on your perception of an event or situation.

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Stress can be divided into two categories distress and eustress. Distress happens when an individual views a situation negatively is likely to experience the following feelings: being overwhelmed, oppressed or out of control. Eustress results from a ‘positive’ view of an event or situation. This can also be known as ‘good stresses’.  Eustress helps you rise to a challenge and can be an antidote to boredom because it engages on focused energy that  can easily turn to distress and  cause you to view the situation as unmanageable or out of control.

Many people regard public speaking or airplane flights as very stressful—causing physical reactions such as an increased heart rate and a loss of appetite—while others look forward to the event. It is often a question of perception: A positive stressor for one person can be a negative stressor for another.

Causes of Stress

As a college student, you may find that the demands of college life can create stressful situations. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) notes some of the more common stressors for college students:

Increased academic demands

Attending classes, completing the readings, writing papers, managing projects, and preparing for exams all put a heavy burden on students. Many students complain of professors who assign so much work that they must think theirs is the only class students are taking. 

Being on your own in a new environment

Some undergraduate students are often stressed because of interpersonal relationships with peer and they experience considerable difficulty when trying to adjust to the university social network

Financial responsibilities

There are also a lot of other hidden costs related to college, such as books and school supplies, cell phones, personal care and clothing purchases, items to decorate dorm rooms, social outings, fees for joining various student clubs and organizations, and miscellaneous charges and tickets. A student may have stress getting the finances to meet this bills.

Besides the stress of having to have the financial resources to pay all these bills, some college students also work part-time — either through work-study in college or with a local employer. Because working hours takes away from studying hours, the need to work also causes stress.

Social Stress

College freshmen face the most obvious social challenges that usually involve leaving one’s entire support structure behind, creating a new social network, dealing with being away from home for the first time, and finding less parental support. Because of these changes, most students face social stress.

Preparing for life after graduation

The crushing uncertainty of the next few years and the pressure to succeed in spite of it can at times feel suffocating to college students. With no playbook to turn to, recent graduates and current students are left feeling utterly disillusioned and confused on which step to take into their life after graduation.

Identification of Sources of Stress

Tracking stress can help a student find out the causes of stress, amount and level of stress felt. Afterwards a student take steps to reduce the stress or handle them better. The following are tips to involve in tracking stress:

  1. Finding out what the causes of stress are
  2. Writing down the reactions and what how he/she will deal with the stress
  3. Looking for ways to reduce the amount/ level of stress.
  4. Learning healthy ways to relieve stress and reduce its harmful effects

Symptoms of Distress

Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. When a student is stresses he may experience any or all of the following symptoms of stress.

  • Direct or indirect statements by student of their intention to harm themselves or others
  • Direct or indirect statements that suggest hopelessness or worthlessness, and/or suicidal or homicidal ideation
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress that could include family problems, financial difficulties, grief, sexual abuse, domestic violence, being stalked, sexual assault, hate crimes, eating disorders, substance abuse, panic attacks, phobias, and/ or depression
  • Tearfulness
  • Excessive worry, anxiety, fear, or panic
  • Change in relationships (e.g., withdrawn, more animated than usual, excessive dependence on others)

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Stress Management Techniques

In many situations stressors are inevitable.  You cannot control the loss of a job, loved one or the outcome of an interview. The first step is to understand yourself better and how you react in different situations, that cause you stress. The following are ways and techniques for managing stress:

 Set priorities

Use time-management tips and make a to-do list. Decide what is really important to get done today, and what can wait. This helps you to know that you are working on your most immediate priorities, and you don’t have the stress of trying to remember what you should be doing.

Practice facing stressful moments

Think about the event or situation you expect to face and rehearse your reactions. Find ways to practice dealing with the challenge. If you know that making a presentation in front of a group frightens you, practice doing it, perhaps with a trusted friend or fellow student. If the pressure of taking tests causes you to freeze up, buy some practice tests at the school bookstore or online and work with them when there is no time pressures.

 

Examine your expectations

Try to set realistic goals. It’s good to push yourself to achieve, but make sure your expectations are realistic goals. Allow people the liberty to make mistakes, and remember that mistakes can be a good teacher.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Find a relaxation technique that works for you—prayer, yoga, and meditation. Being physically active, as well as eating and sleeping well, are some of the best stress-management strategies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep the immune system strong and energy levels high, and can help to reduce muscle tension and mental fatigue that accompany stress.

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Learn to accept change as a part of life

It may surprise you that one of the best ways to reduce stress and diffuse a stressful situation is to simply to accept it. Accept the environment you’re in. Accept whatever is happening. Accept your feelings about it all. Accept that you are really stressing!

I’m not saying you should be passive or never make an effort to avoid or change something you don’t like. But practicing this kind of acceptance works more immediately to dial down your stress level. Finding acceptance is often what allows you to be ready and able to make a necessary change.

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