Let's Talk About Stress

College is a time for fun and personal growth, but at the same the college experience can come with a lot of stress and as finals come closer, the stress of studying and final projects begins to set in for many students. Whether it is stress about grades and classes, friends or roommate situations, stress tends to affect every student at some point or another.  

The stress response itself is a physiological process that is triggered by anything that causes us stress. The body releases endorphins that “hype” the body up, causing your heart rate to increase and providing a feeling similar to what an adrenaline rush might feel like. Stress has various effects on many body systems such as: restlessness/anxiety, sweating/clamminess, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, headache/migraine, nausea, irritability, trouble sleeping/falling asleep, and having racing thoughts.

To help manage stress, try to find an enjoyable activity to participate in, whether it be coloring, running or working out. Joining intramural teams may be a great way to get exercise, hangout with friends, and relieve stress at the same time. Find a club that participates in activities that you enjoy or schedule dinner with a friend where neither one of you are doing homework or on your phone. Take a break and listen to music, maybe get your roommate to have a dance break with you, or just dance around the room by yourself. 

Another helpful way to manage stress is to turn towards your peers. Talk to your roommate or a friend about what you are feeling and specifically what is stressing you out. Sometimes just voicing what is bothering you can help you to feel better. And, more often than not the person that you are talking to is experiencing the same feelings that you are in some capacity. Remember that you are not alone and you are not the only person feeling this way.  

While stress may seem like it is always a negative thing, there can be positive benefits to the effects of stress, such as motivation, cognitive enhancement and physical enhancement. A way of harnessing these benefits is to change the way that you view and approach a task, utilizing a technique called “Positive Reframing.” To use positive reframing assess your common thinking patterns and understand the way that you typically approach a stressful situation, such as whether you typically approach stressful situations with an optimistic or pessimistic attitude. Determine what is causing you stress, specifically what aspect of the situation is causing you stress the most. This is can help you determine the best way to approach the situation and conquer your task. It can be helpful to plan ahead, delegate tasks and look towards your support system. Next, challenge your thoughts and try to determine areas that you can make changes. Looking at a situation with fresh eyes can help you to see new possibilities that you were not aware of before. Do your best to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  

If stress ever feels like it is too much and you are not sure what to do, please remember that you can always confide in your RA, Assistant Hall-Director, Hall Director, or pastoral resident. If you do not feel comfortable using any of those resources, make an appointment at the Health and Counseling Center. Never feel like any problem is too small to make an appointment and come in and talk to one of our trained professionals.  

Stay well, Pilots!