The weight of the world is propped upon your shoulders and your stomach is tied in knots. You breathe rapidly as your mind races, sweaty palms tap quickly against the desk, and you feel jittery and tired. You’re stressed, and you’re not alone.
The word “stressed” has become a normal adjective to describe the common American college student.
The pressures of leaving home, adjusting to the college environment, and a burdensome workload can often be overbearing.
“Residence hall living is the first time many students have to be completely independent,” said Kathryn Macaione, director of Student Health Services.
“Students are facing a lot of peer pressure,” said Macaione. “They are staying up later, eating junk food, and those who may not be big drinkers are indulging because their roommates are.”
These choices may not directly cause stress, but they can interfere with the way the body seeks relief from it.
According to WebMD, Sleep is a natural way to allow the body to recover from stress, and if it is minimal or constantly interrupted, then the body will not recuperate as easily.
Despite making good life choices like getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and managing your time, stress is an inevitable part of life. And coping with it is just as hard as trying to prevent it.
Macaione suggests relaxation breathing.
“Sit in a comfortable position and take a deep breath. Hold for a minute, and then exhale. Try repeating this three times,” said Macaione.
Senior Brad Richardson said organizing his priorities is a big help when he is stressed.
“I thoroughly think through what I need to do and what needs to be accomplished at any given time,” he said.
Other students prefer a more physical approach to stress relief.
“Playing sports like hockey and basketball are a big help in reducing my stress,” said junior, Mike Kataja.
Kristen Castro, also a junior agrees. “When I am overly stressed the best thing to do is go for a long run, or play a sport,” said Castro. “It just clears my mind and makes me feel so much better.”
WebMD suggests massages, aromatherapy, yoga, and meditation as methods in reducing high stress levels. These practices will help ease tense muscles and allow the body to relax.
Some people look for a little more humoristic relief.
“I talk to people who make me happy,” said junior Lauren Simeone. “Listening to music like Dave Matthews is also a way to help me cope with everything.”
Smoking is often an outlet in which people try to relieve their stress, however this may only add to it.
“Students who smoke are just stressing themselves out more by deteriorating their natural defenses,” said Macaione. “Combined with stress you have a lower resistance to upper respiratory infections.”
Along with smoking, other things to stay away from while stressed are caffeine related products like coffee and soft drinks, and the tendency to bottle up emotions.
At times people bottle up their emotions when they are stressed. They do not let anyone know what is going on. This is a sure way to just add to the stress level.
Talking to someone or just writing things down in a journal are effective ways to vent and keep your stress level down.