College is a huge commitment and earning a degree is quite an accomplishment.
Students who pursue higher education must exhibit a tremendous amount of strength, flexibility, time management, and gumption.
Many university students are also experiencing a new sense of freedom and independence as they may be away from home for the first time ever.
Learning to balance these changes and responsibilities while still maintaining focus in school can be stressful and challenging.
In fact, recent studies indicate that over 55% of newly matriculated undergraduates never earn a diploma.
Luckily, there are ways to combat stress and move forward with your degree.
Here are a few tips for understanding your stress levels, creating positive stress-reducing habits, and enjoying your overall educational experience.
Everyone experiences stress differently.
Each individual has a unique set of stress activators, but research suggests that most students experience stress at some point in their academic careers.
Unfortunately, a recent survey found that the percentage of university freshman reporting below average emotional health has risen in recent years.
Stress can be attributed to a variety of factors from finances, to lack of work-life balance, to personal and relationship issues.
Regardless of the activator it is extremely important for students to understand what makes them tick. Self-awareness comes with time and training, but it can be your biggest weapon when it comes to fighting off those anxiety ridden feelings and emotions.
Ways to Combat Stress
There are a variety of ways to combat stressful emotions.
Each technique is different and does not work universally for every student. However, most of these are simplistic tactics that can have a massive impact on your overall emotional health.
Meditation is an affordable way to calm your nerves and take a time out.
Meditation can include anything from taking a few deep breaths and reciting a few short phrases to full-blown stretching and meditative sessions.
It’s recommended that you do an hour of meditation each week, however it is also helpful to come up with a calming phrase or quote that you can recite quickly when you feel anxious and aren’t in a space where you can drop everything to sprawl out and meditate.
You can also try classes like yoga or Pilates that offer the same mindfulness techniques.
Most universities will offer low cost mental health services to students.
Counseling is still somewhat stigmatized, but it offers a host of benefits. It can be helpful to confide in someone trained to assist with anxiety.
You’ll find it extremely therapeutic to get a few things off your chest in a safe environment and you may end up looking forward to your visits.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical when it comes to curbing stress. Unfortunately, over 73% of Americans say they sleep less than the recommended 8 – 10 hours each night.
Lack of sleep can lead to agitation, anxiety, stress, and poor performance. If you want to do your best work and avoid further stress, sleep is important.
It’s also imperative that you get eight QUALITY hours of sleep. This may require ditching a few bad habits. Go here for a few tips on getting a good night’s rest.
Exercise is an all-natural and healthy way to manage stress.
When you think about it, it makes sense scientifically. During stressful situations, your body’s systems naturally reacts to the situation.
Rigorous exercise is a natural way to condition your body and prepare it for stressful situations down the road.
Exercise also releases endorphins which are considered the body’s natural painkillers. When they’re released you’ll feel more relaxed and able to conquer the day.
Keep a Journal
Strangely, journaling is a great way to channel your anxieties in a positive way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with school and life’s challenges consider writing down your feelings in a private journal.
This will help you reflect on your thoughts and is also a great self-awareness technique. You may be able to uncover the source of your anxiety which could help you better address the root of the problem.
Sometimes stress can be so all consuming that we forget to develop our relationships.
This strategy is a sure-fire way escalate stress as relationships are the building blocks of a fruitful and happy life.
While finding time to socialize may be challenging, it’s important to engage with others.
It’s no secret that managing a full class load as well as all of life’s other responsibilities is a daunting task. It can be overwhelming and contributes to the high stress levels of today’s student population.
However, students should know that there are ways to manage this process. Self-awareness and the development of positive coping habits are the keys to stress management.
Amanda Wilks is the content manager at SchoolCHOICES.org. In trying to help future students make the best college choice, Amanda has compiled a massive database of American colleges and academia profiles. Be sure to check her work out!