Smart student: Staying cool to beat stress!

By Seri Rianri Mohammad Isman

A little bit of stress can be healthy, but a lot is damaging. Too much stress can batter our body, mess up our minds. If you feel yourself overwhelmed with pressure and anxiety of work, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you cope with it.

Stress is the way your body responds to challenges and gets you ready to face them with attention, energy and strength. On college or university campus, you are continually bombarded with demands to change — your behaviour, your academic performance, your career or major choice, your values. Stress gets you ready to face these demands. When you feel you are able to cope with these challenges, stress gives you the motivation to get things done. Stress can be beneficial by helping people develop the skills they need to cope with and adapt to new and potentially threatening situations throughout life.

However, when you start to feel overwhelmed by the stress then it begins to become a problem. Problems happen while your stress is greater than your ability to cope. In addition, when students are stressed, their capacity for learning is drastically reduced.

In psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains in part why anxiety and depressed students are much more likely to fail. Even if the situation is not catastrophic, a student’s mind and body “feels” that the situation is very serious. All their brainpower is fixated on dealing with the fight or flight response in the body, plus the repetitive thought patterns that affect daily activities like eating, sleeping, and relationships.

So your goal is to keep the stress at a moderate level, neither so low that you are bored nor so high that you are overwhelmed.

How to cope

First of all you have to get things organised. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do, make a plan. By making a list of tasks by highlighting the priority one. Seeing a list to-do on paper will always be beneficial for your tasks, projects and  deadlines to stay organised.

Your planner will give you a checklist to keep track of and a sense of accomplishment every time you get to tick something off. It is better if you keep a notepad in your board or at any possible place where you can see while you are awake or off to bed. So that you are kept informed by your work. Once you managed all that, you may start to set alternative dates.

Choosing the best of your time when you can be most productive is very important. Time management can be challenging at the college level but it can take slowly by getting your move. For example, each day or week set aside time to figure out what needs to be accomplished. Then make sure you have time for studying and learn to say no. This may involve when dealing with interruptions (e.g. phone calls, going to the movies, etc.) in order for you to stay to task. You will feel less stressed once you feel not struggling to focus on the task and feel you’re being productive.

Even if you have multiple projects on the go and numerous tasks to achieve, a clearly defined list of priorities will keep you focus on one at a time and will help you to meet deadlines. That is way better to focus your mind on one task instead of trying to work on several things. Do not leave work half finished and putting it off until later because it will only increase your stress over it.
Remember to reward yourself when you finish a piece. For example, watch a nice movie, take a walk, call a friend, etc. Be proud in what you have done will send you more positive energy. It is very important to your body to feel relax. Take breaks from your work to do something you enjoy. This will help clear your head and you will be refreshed once you head back to work.

Quick tips to reduce stress

Eat well – Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast and keep your energy up with nutritious meals throughout the day. Your body is more important than everything else. If you cannot take care of your body you will not be able to work.
Get enough sleep – Sleep is always the best medicine. Practise good sleep habits to ensure that you are well-rested. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
Talk it out – Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking things through a friend or family can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.
Learn to say no – A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time on which one to do it. And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take additional responsibility. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress and may help you develop more self-confidence.
Exercise – Doing sport once a week is the best way to reduce stress. Physical activity help you burn off the energy generated by stress and also improve your quality of sleep.
Try to see positive side – Be flexible. No body’s perfect and nobody is able to do everything. If you missed a deadline, try to appreciate what you learned from mistakes. Now you know how to plan ahead.
Laugh – A good laugh can always help relieve stress. Laughing out loud will increase oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduce stress. Not taking life too seriously will help everyone live a better and easier life.
Listen to music – Putting on some calming music while you work could be an excellent way to calm your nerves.

Different people react differently under pressure. Some thrive, some break. It is important knowing how you personally react to stressful situation and how you develop good habits for coping with that pressure will help you approach your work with more confidence.***

Photo taken from Rebels Mag

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