Everyone experiences some level of stress during their time at university, whether it’s deadlines, exams, results, etc. It’s important to develop ways to manage this stress yourself, and if you don’t feel you are able to manage your stress, ask for help.
Recognizing Stress and Anxieties
Symptoms of stress can be mental, social, or physical. These include exhaustion, loss of/increased appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and oversleeping. Escape through alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behavior are often indications. Feelings of alarm, frustration, or apathy may accompany stress.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, talk to someone. There are plenty of people on campus who are here to help and support you.
Stress Management is the ability to maintain control when situations, people, and events make excessive demands. Here are some of the ways to manage your stress;
- look around and see if there really is something you can change or control in the situation
- don’t overwhelm yourself by fretting about your entire workload. Handle each task as it comes, or selectively deal with matters in some priority
- try to be positive: give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be. “Stress can actually help memory, provided it is short-term and not too severe. Stress causes more glucose to be delivered to the brain, which makes more energy available to neurons. This, in turn, enhances memory formation and retrieval. On the other hand, if stress is prolonged, it can impede the glucose delivery and disrupt memory.”
- try to “use” stress: if you can’t fight what’s bothering you and you can’t flee from it, then just flow with it or try to use it in a productive way
- selectively change the way you react: but not too much at one time. Focus on one troublesome thing and manage your reactions to it/him/her
- reduce the number of events going on in your life and you may reduce the circuit overload
- change the way you see things: learn to recognize stress for what it is. Increase your body’s feedback and make stress self-regulating
- the bottom line of stress management is “I upset myself”: develop a thick skin
- avoid extreme reactions: why hate when a little dislike will do? Why generate anxiety when you can be nervous? Why rage when anger will do the job? Why be depressed when you can just be sad?
- set realistic goals for yourself: learn how to do nothing
- don’t sweat the small stuff: try to prioritize a few truly important things and let the rest slide
- work off stress: with physical activity, whether it’s jogging, tennis, gardening
- get enough sleep: lack of rest just aggravates stress
- do something for others to help get your mind off yourself
- remove yourself from the stressful situation if only for a few moments daily. Give yourself a break
- avoid self-medication or escape: alcohol and drugs can mask stress. They don’t help deal with the problems
- most importantly: if stress is putting you in an unmanageable state or interfering with your schoolwork, social and/or work life, seek professional help.
Video: Managing Stress – by BBC BrainSmart
App: Headspace – Learn how to meditate and think positive