Stress is a normal biological process meant to protect your body. For college students especially, stress is the pesky antagonist in every college student’s life story because there is so much to balance across school, work, pre-existing responsibilities and the constant consideration of the future. But you should know that it can affect your physical and mental health as well.
These effects can include not eating, overeating, not sleeping well, being moody and irritable for no real reason, being unable to concentrate, using artificial stimulants, drinking alcoholic beverages excessively, abusing drugs, etc. For your benefit, here we will be talking about the several stress management techniques which have proved effective to cope with the overwhelming stress that college life brings. So, let’s get started….
1. Make to-do lists
Researchers share how people can frame their to-do lists as goals to accomplish rather than pressing commitments to limit stress. Being organized is a way to minimize and manage stress. Check out how list making can promote better mental health by relieving stress and anxiety.
To-do lists force you to remember every assignment, test, work shift and chore that you need to prepare for to complete the day, but in a compressed manner. Prepare a list for each day prior to the day itself. It will genuinely help you to calm and generate thoughts efficiently rather than culming up together in the head and lead to stress.
2. Get a good sleep
Ironically speaking, erratic daytime routines can make a good night’s sleep a premium feature among college students. Their lack of sleep adversely affects their health and academic performance. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is imperative to your success and overall mood.
You’ll find that getting enough sleep not only helps you feel and perform better, but it also helps with your memory and ability to recall things, helps with tissue repair and muscle growth, energy levels, and your ability to learn.
College students must have around seven to nine hours of sleep per night to remain healthy enough to fight stress. Without enough sleep, you can find yourself experiencing more stress, which can lead you to not being able to go sleep at night because you are already stressed out!
3. Establish connection with nature
Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness. Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile and that’s because natural beauty distracts us from problems and just helps us feel good.
A mindful connection with nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood.
4. Think positive
Finding your independence is one of the advantages of university life, but it can come with its fair share of stress. Study goals, money trouble, annoying room-mate, etc. Positive thinking can reduce your stress level, help you feel better about yourself and the situation and improve your overall mindset.
A Stanford University study has found that positive thinking increases the likelihood of a student’s success. Positivity has been associated with reducing the impact of stress and enhancing health outcomes. Moreover, studies had indicated that positive thinking may generate lower stress levels, reduce feelings of depression, and enhance a person’s overall physical well-being.
5. Take study breaks
Brain breaks are an important part of learning. Taking a short break from study increases focus when students return to work, and thus improves their productivity. Students should take study breaks every 90 minutes to refresh the brain and body. Try stepping outside for a change of scenery and fresh air or make yourself a snack.
6. Listen to soothing music
In addition to helping human beings experience positive emotions, listening to music has also been associated with reducing stress. Listening to music is itself a healthy activity, particularly if the music is soothing to the ear and brain. Soothing music can lower the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease the levels of stress hormones, and distract us from our worries.
The science behind this is that when we listen to music, our brain release dopamine and this hormone is related to pleasure. So, you are inevitably bound to feel less stress, anxiety, and more positive feelings when you listen to music.
7. Connect with people
It’s normal for students to experience sadness and high stress levels when they realize how far away, they are from their support system particularly if they are studying abroad. We live in a digital age where we can be tempted to replace person to person contact with phones and computers, especially if we’re feeling vulnerable. But humans are social creatures, we crave feeling supported, valued and connected.
It is healthy to seek emotional help. Socialization increases a hormone that decreases anxiety levels and make us feel more confident in our ability to cope with stressors. In fact, having a strong social network of family, friends, neighbours, or peers improves your ability to cope with life’s stressors.
8. Just say ‘no’
You can manage your time through learning to say no. Letting out no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load can reduce your stress levels. By saying yes, you are putting your priorities and obligations on the back burner. But, at some point, you will have to go back to them, and if you end up without having enough time for your priorities and obligations, you are sure to get stressed out.
Although you might think you can’t say ‘no’, and it might feel really uncomfortable to say ‘no’, the truth is almost always that you can say ‘no’ and the world will not crumble at your feet when you do so. Prioritize each item for the day or week and then assign an amount of time for each, starting with the most to the least important.
9. Exercise and meditate
Sometimes, all we need is time to decompress and escape from our thoughts. Even short 20-minute exercises like jogging or brisk walking that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can go a long way in reducing levels of stress for a college student. It’s a fact that physical activity does improve your overall health and help decrease your stress levels.
It has been found to help college students perform better academically, enhance their memory, and improve their learning efficiency. Moreover, try out meditating as well. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and cause stress.