Stress awareness: How college students can recognize and manage stress
College is a time where one leaves home for the first time to pursue an education in their respective major. It is a time where one learns how to balance their schedules appropriately. College is a time where one cultivates and fosters new friendships and relationships that last a lifetime. These aspects are often highlighted and are expectations of many young adults when entering college for their first time. However, there are other aspects that can be overlooked. Often, students do not discuss how to appropriately deal with stress or social anxiety, both of which may be overbearing to even the biggest achievers. Many college students struggle daily to manage their mental health and stress. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 61 percent of college students nationally report dealing with anxiety and 45% struggle with stress related issues. In this blog, we will discuss ways to reduce stress and improve mental health.
What is stress?
There are three main types of stress that occur: Acute, Episodic Acute, and Chronic Acute stress. Acute stress is characterized as stress that comes unexpectedly because of an event, but it often goes away quickly. An example would be a test is coming up that you are not prepared for, or an argument you had recently with someone. Episodic acute stress is recurring stress that occurs in a pattern and is occupied by worry of what is happening to and around you. This can be because of a lack of a support system resulting from moving away from friends and family or from over-committing yourself to too many responsibilities and obligations. Lastly, chronic acute stress is where you experience stress that is never ending and slowly wears you out. This is considered one of the more dangerous types of stress, as it can even affect your physical health and potentially lead to depression.
How do you handle it?
Although acute stress happens more frequently, it is also the easiest one to combat. Being able to implement strong time management skills is ideal, as it is proactive to this cause of stress. Other techniques would be implementing breathing techniques, good dieting habits, and cognitive reframing. A lot of on campus gyms offer stress release classes and are often free throughout the year, which can be helpful for dealing with this type of stress. As for episodic acute stress, one tactic to use in dealing with this type of stress is to physically write out every deadline and prioritize what needs to be done. Another method is to join a club or campus organization to make some friends and build a solid support group that you can lean on. Many schools offer organization fairs at the beginning of each semester to help connect students with campus clubs. Lastly, for cases of chronic acute stress it is best to reach out to a professional that is better equipped to help in this situation. Many campuses have their own separate department to deal with cases like these. Reach out, as those staff members are best equipped to help you.
In conclusion, these are some of the types of stresses that college students can experience and how to go about dealing with them. Stress is inevitable; however one should be aware of the strategies and resources for how to deal with them in order to have a great semester!
Winerman, Lea. “By the Numbers: Stress on Campus.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, Aug. 2017, www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/numbers.
Writers, Staff. “Student Stress & Anxiety Guide.” LearnPsychology.org, LearnPsychology.org, 1 July 2019, www.learnpsychology.org/student-stress-anxiety-guide/.
“Types of Stress & Effects on Health – Acute, Episodic & Chronic Stress.” Neurocore, 13 Apr. 2018, www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/understanding-your-stress-type-how-to-manage-it.