This archived article was written by: Shantel Hardy
Did you know that according to the University of Queensland, “the rate of psychological distress among university students surveyed (84 percent) is almost three times higher than in the general population (29 percent)?” Stress is hard to manage and relieve if you don’t know how to do so. According to healthfinder.gov and mayoclinic.org, there are a few steps you can take to manage and relieve your stress.
To manage stress, you simply need to do one thing: “Take action!” Healthfinder.gov gives some simple steps to manage your stress.
1. Plan your time: think ahead about how you are going to use your time. Write a to-do list and figure out what’s most important—do those things first. Be realistic about how long each task will take.
2. Prepare yourself: prepare ahead of time for stressful events like a job interview or a hard conversation with a loved one. Picture the event in your mind, stay positive, imagine what the room will look like and what you will say, have back-up plan.
3. Relax with deep breathing and meditation: deep breathing and meditation are two ways to relax your muscles and clear your mind. Find out how easy it is to use deep breathing to relax, try meditating for a few minutes today.
4. Relax your muscles: stress causes tension in your muscles. Try stretching or taking a hot shower to help you relax.
5. Get active: physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. Aim for two hours and 30 minutes a week of physical activity. Try going for a bike ride or taking a walk. Be sure to exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time. Do strengthening activities—like sit-ups or lifting weight—at least two days a week.
6. Eat healthy: give your body plenty of energy by eating vegetables, fruits and protein.”
The Mayo Clinic advises following the four A’s: avoid, alter, accept, adapt. Avoid by doing the following: “take control of your surroundings, avoid people who bother you, learn to say no and ditch part of your list.”
Alter by “respectfully asking others to change their behavior, communicate your feelings openly, manage your time better, state limits in advance.”
Accept by “talking with someone, forgive, practice positive self-talk, learn from your mistakes.”
Adapt by “adjusting your standards, practice thought stopping, reframe the issue, adopt a mantra, create an assets column, and look at the big picture.” Go to www.mayoclinic.org/sstress-relief/ and search 4 A’s of stress relief for more info.
The Director of Academic Advising, Shanny Wilson, suggests taking an exercise class (weight training). It is a class that you can complete on your own time throughout the semester.
If you are juggling a lot in your life and don’t have time to exercise, there are other means to relieving stress: eat healthy, eat breakfast to wake your brain, get adequate sleep (eight hours is about normal for college students), manage your time, learn to say no, maintain a balance and know your breaking point. Keep in mind that not all stress is bad; a little bit keeps us going and thriving to do what needs to be done. She talked about who you can talk to when you are stressed.
Talk to someone you trust, whether it is a boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, family member, etc. You can also go to the academic advisors—they can help you. If your stress gets severe and you are depressed, you don’t eat or sleep, you can go to the USU Counseling Center in room 223 in the JLSC. Students get eight free visits.
Stress can cause many mental and physical health problems. Being able to manage and relieve stress is a critical key to surviving and succeeding in the college world. Follow the above tips and continue to research them on the websites listed. These will help you have a better understanding of how to take control of your stress and become a happy, healthy and successful college student.
“You have to put the burdens of the stress down once in a while, take a step back, take a deep breath, and then move forward,” Wilson said.