Stress is normal -- how we manage
it is the trick to learn
By Misty Johnson
December 15, 2006 | It is normal to have stress but
it's how you manage it that may cause problems, says
Dr. John Barrett. He is a family physician who has been
at the USU Student Health and Wellness Center filling
in for the last couple of weeks.
"I think it's important to recognize that you are
under stress so that you can take steps to manage that
stress correctly," said Barrett.
Young people tend to be healthier so when students
seek medical attention Barrett said it is usually not
stress that is causing an illness, but rather stress
complicating something else that is going on. Most students
who suffer from stress or an illness brought on by stress
usually don't seek medical attention for it, they just
deal with it.
He also said that getting a normal amount of rest
and planning ahead can decrease students' stress levels.
"All-nighters throw off your psychological balance and
caffeine will only add to that."
It is not uncommon for college students to stay up
all night writing a term paper or cramming for a final
exam. USU student LeAnn Roundy said she knows that sleep
is necessary for the brain to organize the information
it receives. Cramming the night before without getting
any sleep doesn't help much, but the reality of cramming
doesn't sink in until she gets to the exam and can't
remember what she had just finished studying.
Prioritizing is one way that college students can
decrease stress. Tara Kuther, Ph.D. at About.com
recommends that students use a school planner or calendar
with plenty of space for lists. Taking time to plan
and organize as well as breaking large assignments and
tasks into smaller components will greatly reduce students'
stress levels and allow more time for more exciting
things. Kuther claims that the reality of the situation
is that there really isn't enough time in the day, but
learning to prioritize will help students maximize the
time that they have.
Many sources including the International
Stress Management Association agree that planning
is a way of minimizing stress. Setting both long-term
short-term goals will help students especially. Students
can set goals for each semester as well as each school
year as a way to make their goals seem less overwhelming.
In an online article, College Students and Stress,
which is available at
CampusBlues.com, learning to manage stress is both
physical and physiological. Adding a workout to your
schedule at least every other day and finding 20 minutes
of "alone time" to relax are both ways of easing and
The USU Counseling Center Reach Peers along with Psi
Chi, sponsored the "Stress Bust" which was held last
week in the TSC Sunburst Lounge. It provided students
with relaxing activities such as massages, games and
even some recorded stand-up comedy by Brian Reagan.
Many students who participated in the Stress Bust agreed
that simply taking your mind off of what stresses you
will help relieve that stress. "It's a nice break and
I like the relaxing atmosphere," said USU student Jennie
"This is just one of the many things we do for the
students, we hold different events throughout the year
and decide what to do based on what the students' needs
are," said Heather Thompson of the Reach Peers. It was
no coincidence that the Stress Bust was held during
Finals Week. Thompson along with Tim Macnair, also a
Reach Peer, explained that this is one way of helping
students become more aware of stress and what they can
do to cope with that stress. They also said it was a
way of helping students become more aware of the outlets
that are available to them such as the counseling center.
Another way to cope with stress is as simple as talking
to someone. Barrett said that having someone who will
listen to you and be able to understand what you are
going through can be very helpful. It could be as simple
as talking with a roommate or a friend, but that doesn't
exclude seeing a counselor or other professionals.
"I do think talking can help, I have a friend who
I tell everything to and after I talk to her, all of
my problems seem a lot smaller than they did before,"
said Katie Rose, a USU student.
Not dealing with stress may have extremely negative
repercussions. At Geneseo.edu
the term overstress is used to describe chronic or high
levels of stress which build up over time. Overstress
is a condition which could result in physical illness,
as well as anxiety and depression. Learning how to manage
stress as a student is vital for maintaining your health
and overall well-being.