The Causes Of Student Stress
College stress can be caused by a number of different situations independent to the individual. The number one source of anxiety in freshman college students is the adjustment to living away from home. For others, stress is caused by learning to live with roommates, the jump in workload from classes and new social obligations.
Limit Your Screen Time
These days, we’re using digital technologies more and more in our personal, academic and professional lives. It’s no surprise, then, that we can get easily carried away with it and spend more of our time staring at electronic screens than not.
To give your mind a break from screens, consider not using your phone during the first hour or two of your day and give your phone a “bedtime” in the evening after which you no longer use it.
Pregistry Study Shows An Increase In Stress Related To The Covid
New data released today from Pregistry, a global leader in the development and execution of studies to assess the safety of medications and vaccines when used during pregnancy, show an increase in stress levels among pregnant and postpartum women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Managing Stress In College
If left unaddressed, stress can lead to depression and anxiety in students. This can, in turn, negatively impact school and work performance and personal relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and peers.
Adopting a stress-management regimen is one of the best ways to avoid and ameliorate problems related to stress. Students may want to practice yoga, meditation, and/or mindfulness on a regular basis.
Many factors contribute to rising stress levels in college students. For one, college continues to grow more and more expensive, which can pose financial obstacles to students and lead to stress and anxiety. Other common causes of college stress include challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, rigor of coursework, struggles making friends, homesickness, and housing and food insecurity.
Students can manage stress in many healthy ways, such as by pursuing a new hobby, building a support system, and working on time-management skills. Other stress-management techniques include journaling and seeking counseling or medical help. Students should refrain from using drugs and alcohol to manage stress.
Editor’s Note: This article contains general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional advisor before making decisions about health-related issues.
Take Care Of Your Body
Without parents around to be sure healthy food and adequate sleep are a priority, many college students skimp on both and forget to take care of their bodies. Staying up late when early classes loom the next day, grabbing fast food on the way to a party, or living on junk food and energy drinks can seem like a given in college life, but can really sabotage you in the end. Thats why its important for college students to really be careful about self-care, and keep the following in mind.
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Tools To Manage College Stress
The College Student’s Guide To Stress Management
Todays college students are feeling the strain of our busy modern world. In fact, 45% of college students said they experience “more than average stress,” and 87% said they felt overwhelmed by all they had to do at least once in the previous year, according to the American College Health Association-2018 National College Health Assessment.
The effects of stress are, well, stressful themselves. Upset stomach, headaches, exhaustion, and difficulty sleeping are common effects of stress, Mayo Clinic reports, as are irritability, restlessness, and depression. Some people turn to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and food to deal with stress, but overindulging in these things leads right back toyou guessed itmore stress.
We know that trying to juggle college with the demands of family, work, and life can get a little crazy. This infographic showcases some stress management strategies for college students. Take a deep breath and enjoy.
The College Student’s Guide to Stress Management Content
Take an already-busy life that may include work and family obligations, add college classes and studying, sprinkle in exams, budgeting, and other interests, and then try to have a social life on top of it all…However, it’s not all bleak. Let’s look at some ways college students can alleviate stress, succeed in college, and live healthy, balanced lives.
Have an Outlet
Build a Support System
Make a Plan
If Stress Gets Too High
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Managing Stress As A Student
There are many ways you can manage your stress as a college student. Just as everyone experiences stress in their own way, we all have our preferred methods of coping with it. However, not all stress management strategies are healthy, and some may leave you feeling even worse than you did before.
To overcome stress while going to school, its crucial to learn how to cope with it productively. After all, you cant control the stressors in your life, but you can choose how to respond to them.
Unhealthy ways to manage stress.
Smoke, use drugs, or drink
Though it may be tempting to reach for a cigarette or glass of wine after a difficult day, it may not be the best way to unwind. Smoking, drinking, or using drugs may offer a stress relief in the short-term, but after their effects wear off, you may find yourself feeling more stressed than before. For instance, researchers have found that drinking alcohol can actually exacerbate stress.
When youre feeling down, your instinct may be to go buy yourself a treat as a pick-me-up. Buying yourself a gift every once in a while is fine, but if shopping or spending money is your go-to method of relief, you may be creating more stress for yourself by putting a strain on your finances or adding objects you dont really want to your home.
Over and under eat
Ignore the stressor
Procrastinate with social media, streaming services, etc.
Healthy ways to manage stress.
Confront the stressor
Spend time with loved ones
How To Prevent Stress In College
Well discuss several strategies for managing stress as a college student. However, the best way to deal with stress is often to avoid it completely. If you understand the triggers for stress in your life and how to avoid them or mitigate their effects, then you are well on your way to preventing it.
You dont have to deal with stressful situations on your own. A good support system of family, friends, and even understanding professors can help you to put an end to your stress before it becomes problematic.
Understand Your Triggers
Stress doesnt happen for no reason. Think carefully about what might be causing stress in your life and what your options are for avoiding these situations. For example, if youre stressed out by the idea of writing a paper just hours before the deadline, then it may be wise to work on your paper-writing strategies. Find ways to do the bulk of the work long before assignments are due so you are less stressed when its time to turn them in.
Manage Your Time
Time management is an essential skill in college. By managing your time well and leaving enough time to study and finish assignments, all while leaving room for a social life and sleep, you can avoid stressful situations before they crop up. Keep in mind that many of these situations are caused by not having enough time to keep up with all of your obligations.
Learn to Say No
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What Is Stress And How Does It Affect College Students
Stress is a physical reaction to a person’s emotions. Both positive events and negative events can cause stress.
When you feel an emotion that triggers stress, your adrenal gland releases epinephrine the hormone responsible for the flight-or-fight response and then cortisol. In dangerous situations, this response can save your life. Too much cortisol, however, can have a long-term, negative impact on your metabolic rate, memory formation, and blood sugar regulation.
Stress can take one of three forms:
- Acute Stress: The most common form of stress, acute stress is the result of day-to-day stressors, such as waking up late, running to class, or receiving a bad grade. Fortunately, most acute stress fades quickly and has little mental or physical impact.
- Episodic Acute Stress: As its name suggests, episodic acute stress develops when a student experiences acute stress multiple times over an extended period. Common symptoms include migraines and tension headaches.
- Chronic Acute Stress: Chronic acute stress happens when someone can’t avoid a long-term stressful situation. For example, students struggling academically in a major course may develop chronic acute stress, which can lead to weight gain, sleep deprivation, and anxiety.
Mental Health Concerns In College
75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24. So it is critical that college students are aware of common warning signs of a mental health condition that could suggest that perhaps you are more than just stressed out. These years are critical for understanding and talking about mental health. And it is nothing to be ashamed of.
1 in 5 youth and young adults experiences a mental health condition and 30% of college students reported feeling so down at some point during the previous year that they found it difficult to function.
Heather called my show because she overloaded her first year, fell into depression, and gave up on classes. Now she is doing better, but scared to go back to school.
So when is it time to go talk to your school counselor or confide in a parent or trusted friend?
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Reinterpretation Of The Stress
“Thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow…thou knowest the greatness of God: and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” 2 Nephi 2:1,2
How we view or perceive the events in our lives determines the degree of stress we attach to them. We commonly take a negative view of a winter snow storm, an opinionated roommate, losing a game, getting a low grade, being refused membership in a club, and receiving a speeding ticket. Such negative views create stressful feelings. We can reduce those feelings by perceiving the events in a different way. For example, we can reinterpret a stressful situation as:
The Lord seemed to be helping Joseph Smith reinterpret the stressful events in his life when he told Joseph his trials “…shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
The way we perceive a stressful situation has a powerful effect on our feelings and ultimately our behavior. When we interpret our stress as useful, beneficial, growth-promoting, enriching, refining or enlightening, we increase our capacity to control the stress instead of letting it control us.
Take An Exercise Class
There is a ton of research that connects regular exercise with stress reduction. According to The Journal of Physiology, exercise has also been found to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls learning and memory. Yes, your daily twenty-minute jog might help you retain what youre learning in class!
Getting into the habit of exercising regularly is another story, though. Hoy suggested that students adopt a regimen that works for them. Although it can be difficult to establish a workout routine, she said that once theyve started, theyll find these routines invigorating and rewarding. In fact, Hoy recommended that students enrolled at APU find a fitness class through the Kinesiology Department that meets their interests, as this can help them get started and stay accountable.
APU offers several fun Fitness for Life classes, such as Zumba, flag football, yoga, and other recreational activities. These classes can help you get in the habit of working outand will also allow you to earn credits toward your degree.
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Making The Most Of College Today Has A Lot To Do With Students Approaches To Managing Stress
When I meet with students for academic coaching, they often tell me about areas of life where they are attempting to achieve in new environments. Students experience stress because theyre doing lots of things theyve never done before. Each semester theyre in new classes with new professors. Theyre meeting new peers all the time, even beyond the first semester. For some students, it can also feel like the stakes get higher throughout the college experienceacademically, interpersonally, or vocationally. The same contexts can feel new as students encounter new challenges.
Students experience stress when they perceive a situation as high-stakes in nature and when they focus on not knowing the outcome more than how they will proceed.
Students stress can be prompted by positive or negative events. Positive-event stress, like performance anxiety, occurs as a result of exciting opportunities, like getting to travel for a team tournament, being selected for a peer leadership role, or getting a spot in a selective academic program. Negative-event stress, like missing a deadline or a misstep in a social interaction, is inevitable. The college experience is a microcosm of life, and mistakes will happen even when students are mindfully engaged.
Here is a three-step approach you can keep in mind when your student encounters stress.
1. Deconstruct the stress.
2. Be creative.
3. Cultivate mindfulness.
Ways Of Managing Stress
The best strategy for managing stress is by taking care of yourself in the following ways:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stressinstead of taking it away.
- Manage your time. Work on prioritizing and scheduling your commitments. This will help you feel in better control of your life, which, in turn, will mean less stress.
- Find support. Seek help from a friend, family member, partner, counselor, doctor, or clergy person. Having a sympathetic listening ear and talking about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
- Connect socially. When you feel stressed, its easy to isolate yourself. Try to resist this impulse and stay connected. Make time to enjoy being with classmates, friends, and family try to schedule study breaks that you can take with other people.
- Slow down and cut out distractions for a while. Take a break from your phone, email, and social media.
- Take care of your health.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Try a relaxation technique, such as meditation or yoga, or treat yourself to a massage
- Maintain a normal routine
The following video features a progressive muscle relaxation meditation for you to try. There are many many others available on YouTube and elsewhere.
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Hone Your Planning & Organizational Skills
A common characteristic across most successful college students is the ability to effectively stay organized with assignments, projects, and exams. Diligent planning and organizing will pay dividends in managing stress while avoiding feelings of being overwhelmed. Procrastinating to study until the last minute, or failing to submit an assignment on time, can create stress that could otherwise be avoided. This kind of stress can have residual effect, as later in the semester these mistakes can leave students scrambling to make up lost ground.
One the most traditional tools for planning and organization is to use an actual planner or calendar system. This can be a tangible planner book that you pencil in all of your assignments and due dates. A digital alternative is use the suite of Google apps online, specifically Calendar. The nice thing about Google Calendar is that you can set reminders and notifications to let you know when is something is due. For instance if you know you have a big test in few weeks, you set a notification to email you when youre 5 days out from test day.
Set Small Goals For Yourself
When you have a large task, such as a mid-term paper looming over you, you may manage your time poorly. You may work on other assignments and fulfill your social life before even thinking about starting the paper. The easiest way to combat this issue is to set small goals for yourself. By breaking down the big task into bite-sized portions, it becomes much easier to accomplish the task. If your paper is due next Wednesday, you can get the title page and introduction done today. That way, you have a few days to focus on the body, conclusions, and citations. Setting small goals for yourself makes it easy to avoid procrastination and eliminates unnecessary stress.
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