Managing Stress

Stress is the state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. For many students, college can be a stressful time. Stress differs from person to person. The signs of stress can be physical; they can also be emotional or behavioral. Stress and anxiety are the most reported single greatest concern and stress is the leading academic impediment among FSU students.

Common signs of stress for college student

  1. Headaches
  2. Difficulty Concentrating
  3. Increase Procrastination
  4. Feeling overwhelmed/anxious
  5. Changes in behavior
  6. Mood swings

How can we manage stress?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers some suggestions that might help you reduce or manage stress:

  1. Accept your needs. Recognize what your triggers are. What situations make you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you know this, you can avoid them when it's reasonable to, and cope when you can’t.
  2. Manage your time. Prioritizing your activities can help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule helps ensure that you don’t feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines.
  3. Practice relaxation. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment.
  4. Exercise daily. Schedule time to walk outside, bike, or join a dance class. Whatever you do, make sure it’s fun. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical health.
  5. Set aside time for yourself. Schedule something that makes you feel good. It might be reading a book, going to the movies, getting a massage, or taking your dog for a walk.
  6. Eat well. Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit is the foundation for a healthy body and mind. Eating well can also help stabilize your mood.
  7. Get enough sleep. Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, can be triggered by getting too little sleep.
  8. Avoid alcohol and drugs. They don’t actually reduce stress; in fact, they often worsen it. If you’re struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help.
  9. Talk to someone. Whether to friends, family, a counselor, or a support group, airing out and talking can help. (Consider attending a NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group in your area.)

NAMI also offers some specific tips for handling the stress related to final exams.