Saturday, March 28, 2009

College Stress

Combating Stress With TV And A Heating Pad
By Heather Bates

It's midterms week. I am sitting on my bed in my Upper East Side apartment, located in Manhattan near my liberal arts college. Today, I made a list of things to do. I figured if I wrote it all down, I would feel less overwhelmed by the several assignments looming on my busy horizon.

However, instead of getting my work done, I am laying on a heating pad and watching "Wife Swap" on Lifetime. My back aches. I got little to no sleep last night, and it is 7:00 pm and I still have yet to eat a single thing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Stress if not an unfamiliar topic to me.

Sure, living in Manhattan at the young age of 19 has its perks. When I recall the events of my day to a friend or relative, they overlook my heavy work load by reminding me continuously of how lucky I am to live here. Most days, I would have to say that I disagree.

College life in New York City is not all it's cracked up to be. I attend school full-time and work hard to keep my scholarships. I work in a busy retail environment where I am constantly on my feet. I have a pile of laundry, a messy apartment, neglected friends and family, unfiled taxes, forgotten homework, and a serious boyfriend. No wonder my back hurts.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, there are four primary sources of stress: environmental, physiological, our thoughts, and social stressors. Developing a balanced lifestyle by maintaining a sleep schedule and a healthy diet is a sure way to eliminate unnecessary stress. If students can adjust their schedules and find time to focus on their own well-being, the load of stress will begin to lighten.

The counseling center commented: "Some people are in a constant state of trying to catch up. They find themselves rushing and hurrying from one activity to another, always racing with the clock and never getting on top of things. Part of this problem, for many students, is not being well organized. Effective time management can help."

There are others way that college students can create a less stressful environment as well. The University of Florida Counseling Center says that we can gain perspective by discussing our problems and offers several relaxation techniques to help us mellow out. Meditation, self-hypnosis, and deep muscle relaxation are all techniques that students can practice on a regular basis to help them cope with stress.

The key is understanding that stress is only harmful to us when it becomes excessive. According to the UFCC, "Much of the stress that we all experience is helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring existence. The problem comes when you experience too much stress."

It is no secret that most college students are constantly feeling the stresses and pressures of their daily lives. However, it becomes clear that there are ways to help avoid it all becoming too much. Sometimes, they might even include "Wife Swap" and a heating pad.

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