Sunday, March 29, 2009

College Stress

Are You Too Stressed To Read This Article?
By Holly Dougherty

It’s 4 a.m. You are in the computer lab of your college campus. The computer won’t recognize your junk drive with your annotated bibliography. The only thing showing up is a jumbled collection of boxes and asterisks and slashes.

Your 25-page paper on the history of Mao Zedong and communists China is due at 8 a.m. Just remember, college is the best time of your life.

Sometimes parents and teachers forget how stressful college actually is. If schoolwork isn’t enough, your late teens and early 20s are confusing and awkward times in your life. (We have all been there. None of us can deny it.) Stresses of work, debt, family, relationships, social pressures and numerous other pressures mount into an uncontrollable load for young adults.

The University of Florida Counseling Center sites four main sources of stress: 1. The Environment (noise, pollution, traffic and crowding, and the weather) 2. Physiological (illness, injuries, hormonal fluctuations and inadequate sleep or nutrition.) 3. Your Thoughts (the way you think affects how you respond. Negative self-talk, catastrophizing, and perfectionism all contribute to increased stress.) 4. Social Stressors (financial problems, work demands, social events, and losing a loved one).

One may not actually realized that they are stressed but there are many physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms that one should look for as outlined by the UFCC. Physical symptoms include muscular tension, high blood pressure, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, backaches, headaches, and indigestions.

Emotional symptoms can range from irritability to depression to anxiety and mood swings. Cognitive symptoms include forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and unwanted or repetitive thoughts.

However, fret not you double-major student activity presidents. There is hope. The UFCC lists four ways in order to lower your stress level to a manageable level. First, develop a balanced life style. Don’t take five-hour energy shots and pig out on pizza and French fries the night before a final.

Small study sessions throughout the week, a regulated healthy diet, and a good night’s sleep will be sure to afford you the grade you desire without making you look like a bloated wreck.

Gain perspective by discussing problems also known as vent to a friend! Your roommate is in the same boat as you are so take an hour, veg out, have a snack and vent! You will feel better and energized and ready to get back to work!

There are specific relaxation techniques that you can use to rid yourself of stress. Most include deep muscle relaxation and clearing your mind of clutter for a short period of time. It gives you a moment of clarity in your crazy life.

Finally, and probably the most important, clarify your values and develop a sense of life meaning. What’s more important? A Friday night frat party or making sure you get enough sleep over the weekend for your 8 a.m. major final on Monday morning?

Doing things that make you feel good like exercising, volunteering, practicing your religion, and reading for pleasure, are all things that one can do that relieve stress and are good for you.

You may be too stressed to even read this article. But if you did I can guarantee that if you look for the symptoms of stress and practice ways to declutter your life and mind you will see results in no time. So calm down. Relax. Take a load off. In other words, don’t stress.

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