Stress refers to the way the body reacts to demands. The demands can be external or internal. The body releases chemicals into the circulatory system in reaction to these demands. Many college students experience stress due to the study demands and social demands. I know I am under stress when I feel overwhelmed with schoolwork, feel fearful, loose concentration, lack motivation and feel tired. The symptoms I exhibit are headaches; isolating myself from my friends, mood swings, heavy drinking of alcohol and insomnia. The symptoms can be categorized into three groups.
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There are three types of stress symptoms- physical, behavioral and psychological. Physical stress symptoms are digestive upsets, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, colds, restlessness, increased substance abuse, increased heartbeats, and appetite loss among others. The psychological stress symptoms are anxiety, anger, crying spells, suicidal thoughts, depression, irritability, mood swings and others. The behavioral symptoms are resentment, loneliness, isolation, low sex drive, nagging, manipulation of people, lashing out and others (Stress and the College Student, 2004).
I try to cope with the stress I experience by ensuring that I finish my assignments in time. This ensures that I have adequate time to finish the assignments and this gives me an apple time to research and organize my work. I also try to read for an examination way ahead to avoid the last minute rush that always left me feeling, as if I cannot make it due to the limited time left before the examination. I also make sure that I am at the top of my studies by attending all classes in time. This has helped me to follow what the lectures teach and I do not have to go looking for notes from my colleagues later. I also try to speak to my friends even if I feel the need to isolate myself. By speaking to my friends and doing things together with them, I realized I become more relaxed and worry less. I also started exercising, this helped me to feel more relaxed, and this helped me to concentrate more in class. This in turn has helped me to understand and improve my grades. I am now motivated to work hard and achieve the highest grade possible. I also try to get enough sleep. This is because most of the time I am up doing schoolwork or socializing which leaves me with less than three hours of sleep, most days. My desire to get more sleep is due to that knowledge that an adult needs about eight hours of sleep everyday. My overindulgence in alcohol has also contributed to my lack of proper sleep and so I have cut down on the amount I take during the weekend and cutting alcohol intake completely during school days. This has enabled me to have a proper sleeping pattern, which in turn has increased my concentration in class. Prior to cutting my alcohol intake, I would miss many classes and fall behind in assignments. This would make my stress level go up, as I knew the consequences would be bad and I could even risk dropping out of college. However, the situation changed and the stress levels gone down, as I am able to balance my academics and my class work. My cognitive skills have also improved and I am able to recall most of the things we are taught hence my improved grades.
The top three stress reducers in my group are regular exercises, getting organized and finding support. Getting organized is very important for a college student. This is because it helps to reduce stress to a great level. Planning activities in college is useful as it enables one to have time for all the activities one is require to do. This ensures students have time to attend classes and thus are up to date with class work. They have time to buy and eat fresh food instead of depending on junk food at all times. Organization has also given the students adequate time to sleep and thus improved their productivity in other areas and healthier lifestyles.
Exercise is a very stress reducer. It helps to get rid of frustrations and shed of extra weight gain. Exercise helps to release tensions in our bodies and thus raise our moods. Most of the group members admitted that after exercising even for a few minutes, they felt so much better and some are considering making regular exercise a part of their everyday routines. Not only has exercising improved their general mood, but their health as well. Some of the exercises the students undertake are walks, swimming, yoga, classes in dancing, martial arts and so on.
Support in college is import because students tend to become stressed when they find themselves in a new environment without the parental support that they had back at home. This often leads to anxiety and feelings of loneliness. Thus, many cope by keeping in touch with their families and friends back home thorough emails and phone calls. The other option is joining students groups in college such as dance classes or martial arts class. Students can also find support by joining the social activities and groups allover college to meet other people in college who may become friends. Colleges have students support services and students who have problems can seek help in form of counseling to help cope with the challenges in college.
Getting rid of stress completely is impossible because we keep encountering demands that cause stress in our lives. However how we choose to react to the stressors determines whether stress takes toil on our lives or we are able to cope with it and continue to live our lives productively.
Stress and the College Student. (2004).