Four out of every ten students report experiencing stress often and one out of every five say they feel it all the time. With numbers like that it’s easy to forget that stress can even be combatted, compelling us instead to just accept it or ignore it.
While statistics like these do show that stress is now more than ever a universality of the student experience, what they fail to report is that it’s still a personal experience – still the individual’s battle to win. And no new study is likely to change that anytime soon.
Don’t lose sleep over daunting statistics or unnecessary stressors and instead focus on fighting the good fight: conquering stress and avoiding being just another statistic.
Stop intentionally ignoring things
The telltale sign of stress winning “the battle” is not being able to bring yourself to recognize it’s there. Write your tasks down in a centralized location – that is, not scattered through a dozen different sticky notes that you can pick and choose from which ones to acknowledge – and even try writing how you feel about each one. Once you know what you’re up against you’ll naturally start forming strategies for how to tackle your obstacles.
Define your stress
Stress is not a concrete force. It is constantly changing with your mood and your responsibilities and as a result must be constantly redefined accordingly. Avoid making generalizations like “stress helps me,” when you know it may be intruding on your health, or “I’m just a crazy kind of person,” when deep down you prefer a slower paced lifestyle. And if you find yourself saying “there’s just so much on my plate right now,” even though you can’t remember the last time you had a real break, you’re definitely just fooling yourself. Don’t take a backseat to stress and be realistic about the kinds of stress facing you in the now.
Don’t take a backseat to stress. Sometimes stressors can be avoided. Sometimes they only have shock value that subsides after a night’s rest. And sometimes they’re merely a part of your environment, the one which you control. Use past results to plan for how much commitments you take on in the future and only add on in small increments. Also, stay aware of how your immediate environment affects your stress. Keep your living space ergonomic at all times and know when you need to flee to a quiet area to get something done. And let your family or roommates know when you need to focus and when you can relax so they can help you do so, rather than chatting you up or asking for favors during your busiest times.
Prepare your reaction
Staying positive is the most important part of managing stress. Ever heard that even a forced smile tends to make people happier? Stress is the same way. If you convince yourself your stress is not only manageable, but beneficial, chances are it will become so. Maybe traffic is a chance for some alone time with your favorite album. More obligations can be a test and opportunity for personal growth. A new challenge you’ve never faced can be a chance to seek advice from an experienced friend or loved one. And if you’ve thought about talking to an advisor or counselor but haven’t found yourself with “anything good to say,” once you know your stressors you’ll have more options than you previously realized. Utilize your resources. They will help.
Source: NBC News
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