Gateway to College Learning – Stress Management

>>From moving to a new environment, meeting
new people, and keeping up with coursework, college students are facing a lot of transition,
which can lead to stress. In fact, stress is one of the top impediments to academic
performance. That makes it a great time to learn how to identify, prevent, and manage
stress in your life. Stress is inevitable, but it’s not always negative. Sometimes it
can help keep you motivated and moving in the direction of your goals. That’s why it’s
important to be able to identify the different types of stress in your life. We’re going
to look at stress through two different lenses. First let’s talk about acute stress versus
chronic stress. Acute stress, also know as the fight or flight response is immediate
and short term. This type of stress can motivate you and energize you. This is also the type
of stress that helps us protect ourselves in a dangerous situation. We feel this type
of stress in short bursts that won’t last too long. Examples include a job interview,
a ski run, or when you trip and fall. Then there is chronic stress. This kind of stress
is persistent and unending. This type of stress may be harder to detect because it is usually
more subtle than acute stress. This is the type of stress you carry with you from day
to day, and it can weigh you down. Chronic stress is important to identify because it
can lead to long-term mental and physical health problems. The second way to identify stress in your
life is by categorizing it as astress, eustress, or distress. Astress means that there is a
complete absence of stress in your life. This might sound great at first, but if you think
about it, having no stress at all can lead to a lack of motivation, which can cause depression.
Eustress is a positive type of stress that motivates you, energizes you and keeps you
moving. If you know you have a test coming up and you are motivated to study for it,
this is an example of eustress having a positive impact on your life. Distress is the negative
type of stress that happens when we can’t cope with everything we have going on. This
is when tension builds up and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. This
type of stress can lead to poor decision-making, and we want to try to manage our stress levels
before we get to this point. Although you are definitely going to experience stress
during college, there are some things you can do to prevent it from becoming chronic
stress or distress. Here are a few steps you can take toward a balanced and positive life. Exercise — By staying physically active not
only are you giving yourself an opportunity to blow off steam, but you’re also releasing
endorphins, which help our bodies trigger positive feelings. Eat a nutritious and healthy
diet — What we eat has an impact on how we feel and how we think. Practice relaxation
techniques — Find an activity that promotes stress relief for you. Reframe negative thoughts
– Focus on making your thoughts constructive instead of destructive.
Communicate — Talk it out! It’s important to remember you’re not alone. Practice time
management — Developing time management skills is an important part of being successful in
college. Get better sleep — This might be the most effective way to manage stress and
get on the road to a higher quality of life. Remember, if you feel you’re unable to manage
stress in your life, or you feel like negative stress in your life is unending and weighing
you down, it may be a good time to seek professional help. It’s common for college students to
benefit from speaking with something about the challenges they may be facing. We hope
you will take some of these stress management techniques into consideration. Remember, managing
stress is about you taking charge and making decisions that will help you stay healthy
and accomplish your goals.

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