Feelings of stress and anxiety are a part of life of college life. Stress occurs when your tension level exceeds your energy level, resulting in an overloaded feeling like your brain is melting under the crush of books, classes, and papers, assignments don’t freak out. This blog will help you recognize and understand feelings of stress and anxiety and learn how to relieve the pressure.
Causes of stress
There are a number of issues that are said to cause stress. This includes lack of funds, poor time management, and even the interaction with diverse personalities. Some are called external triggers, such as a bad breakup or family problems, and some are called internal triggers, such as the pressure students put on them-selves to perform at a very high level.
Living away from home
For many students, this is the first time to be away from home or family in an unfamiliar environment without a support. Even though, you may have been excited initially at the idea of going to college, but here now everything is different – the food, the people and the living accommodations. Most students eventually get used to these new things without a problem, the first few weeks can be stressful. The realization is that family members and old friends are not readily available for support and if they are, it’s through a telephone or computer rather than in person. This can be tough to adjust to, especially during those first few months.
This may be the most common long-term cause of stress for college students. When you don’t get the results you think you should get, or you feel pressured to get certain academic results, this can cause a lot of stress. For some students, college is the first time they are academically challenged. Consequently, test anxiety may be experienced for the first time or with increased intensity. Test anxiety is anxiety that usually comes before or during the taking of tests. The symptoms can be physical and mental and usually inhibit your ability to perform as well as you otherwise could.
A huge question is what to do once college is over. Figuring out the answer is like laying out blueprints for the rest of your life. There are many stressors – like not having a job upon graduation, being forced to settle for a job you don’t really want, or struggling to get into post graduate. The fear of the unknown makes a huge difference in stress you feel.
Watch out for these indicators or stress signs
- Concentration problems: Easily distracted and cannot focus on the task at hand.
- Excessive worry: Worry about even the most mundane of tasks.
- Trouble with meeting deadlines: Miss assignment deadlines with no good reason.
- Missing Class: Miss entire classes, or stop attending classes altogether.
- Irritability and shortness of temper: Lack of control as you snap without any provocation.
- Headaches and migraines: An increase in headaches and/or migraines, often combined.
- Stress Eating: Increased consumption of junk food and drink, often high in caffeine and sugar to replenish energy lost due to high stress levels.
- Changes in sleep patterns: Oversleeping, sleeping during daytime or sleeping very little.
Tips to relieve the pressure
All of the signs discussed above can lead to severe physical and emotional problems with long lasting, possibly even lifelong, effects. However, there are quite a few simple ways to combat high stress in college students. Some of these include:
College students can control their environment by selectively choosing who and what occupies their time. By choosing like-minded friends and recognizing their limits and not taking on too many activities, college students can be sure to work at their best without enduring extreme stress.
You’re worried enough about your academics. Learn to study effectively. Understand concept rather than memorizing them, leave for examination centre on time to decrease being late due to unexpected traffic or a location change. Proper planning ensures all activities are done on time.
Try not to overload yourself
Between classes, extracurricular groups, and maybe even a job, it’s easy for students to take on more than they can handle. If you’ve signed up for an excessive number of courses, don’t be afraid to drop one, and remember that you can always say no. Take good, loving care of yourself.
Have achievable objectives
To avoid stress, simply be true to yourself and set goals that are within reach. Also, give your best and be content with the results of your efforts.
Research shows that positive thinking improves physical well-being, produces lower feelings of depression and produce lower levels of distress.
Get enough sleep
It may be tempting to sleep late and then attend an 8 a.m. class, or do an all-nighter before exams but not getting enough sleep can impair one’s memory and reasoning abilities and ultimately the academic performance. The more clear-headed you are, the less anxious you will feel. Align your sleep schedule with normal resting hours as most people, an average of eight hours of sleep needs to be maintained in order for the mind to function optimally. The more that our internal clock is closely aligned with the clock of the sun, the better it is.
A steady diet of junk food like pizza, chips, can decrease energy levels in the body, leading to a lower threshold for stress. You will feel very tired and look for short-term comfort food or sugar highs that actually make you feel worse. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Health food not only builds the body, but it helps in the expulsion of harmful toxins (some of which are known to enhance stress). For example, too much caffeine can exacerbate the physical symptoms of test anxiety.
Avoid unnatural energy boosters
Artificial stimulants like caffeine pills or prescription meds may help you stay awake for that all-night study session, but putting off your body’s need to sleep will ultimately result in an energy crash, resulting again in a greater susceptibility to stress.
Find ways to calm down
Relaxation techniques to cool you down. Squeeze a stress ball, take deep breaths, slowly count to ten, meditation, thinking positive thoughts, visualization or whatever relaxation technique to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety. When you feel stressed, deep-breathing exercises can help melt away the tension. Try this exercise: Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth, and repeat as needed. This helps prevent the short, shallow breaths that often accompany feelings of tension.
Exercise can release tension, and the less tension you feel the better off you might be. Three or four half-hour sessions can lighten stress considerably. By exercising every day, for as little as 20 minutes a day college students can help their bodies function at or near their peak efficiency, processing food and oxygen properly. Any exercise, even if only walking the long way to classes, can help college students clear their mind and maintain their overall health. As exercise releases endorphins, which are commonly known to improve mood and help maintain a low level of stress.
Get emotional support
Talk to someone. Adjusting to college can be difficult, and venting your frustrations to a trusted friend has been known to be a great stress reliever. Loved ones also help you stay on course as far as your objectives as concerned. Choose a friend or family member who won’t be judgmental or try to give lots of advice. Or seek the help of a professional counselor or psychologist.
Don’t give up your passions
Your schedule may be filled with lectures and study groups, but try to find at least a couple of hours each week to pursue a hobby or other activity that you enjoy. Do something that feeds the peace of your soul in some way and stay connected with it. This promotes the anti-stress physiology of your body.
Using some of these strategies will help you reduce stress and soar through those four years. Share your own stress busters in the comments section.