Young people should have everything to be happy about, but as the generation with the least responsibility we actually experience the most stress. A 2013 survey by the Nightline Association found that 65% of students feel stressed.
Students juggle part time jobs with university, worry about assignments and stress about the future and how to make the next step. Trying to manage all these things at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
As a student, every spare minute seems to be filled with worrying – you feel like you have to achieve something and make plans for your future. Instead of relaxing in the holidays, you're planning an internship to add to your CV, or working to earn some well-needed extra cash.
If you're not careful, working too hard and worrying too much can lead to "burnout" – when everything seems bleak and you have nothing left to give.
It might not seem like it when you're feeling down, but living a more stress free life is possible. There are some really easy ways to beat stress effectively. Here are some that I have encountered as a student:
1. A varied and healthy diet
Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, such as orange or grapefruit juice, are said to be good for your immune system so can help with stress.
When you're busy and tired it can be tempting just to grab another pizza or ready meal, but cooking from scratch can be therapeutic as well as being healthier.
Doing sport at least once a week is the best way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins, which make you feel good. Even daily walks of 30 minutes can help reduce stress levels but it's even better to work out intensively. Even if you don't feel like it at the time you will feel the benefits afterwards.
Joining a sports club could also help with stress as the regular contact with other people should help improve your mood.
And why not try yoga? It's a great way to ease your mind and relax your muscles.
It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really help with stress levels. If you've never tried meditation before, it's worth a go.
Good breathing techniques can put you in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm you down and beat the stress.
4. Take breaks regularly
Short breaks between working can help you switch off. But longer breaks are important too.
How about taking the weekend off to relax? Make time for fun and for yourself even if this means that you have to schedule time away from your work. You'll hopefully come back to your work feeling fresh.
5. Get a pet
It is said that spending time with animals is good for your health. If you pat a dog for a couple of minutes, your body releases hormones that make you feel happy and can decrease the amount of stress in your system.
Most uni halls won't let you keep an animal though, so spending some time with friends or family who have pets is a good option: you get the love without the commitment.
6. Sleep (and sign off Facebook)
Sleep is always the best medicine and some people find that small 20-minute naps can help increase productivity.
As students we tend to spend too much time on social media sites and answering emails, texts and phone calls. Sociability is fun – but too much of it, and too much computer time, can lead to more stress.
Failing to switch off from work because of your electronic gadgets will only make you even more stressed.
7. Quit smoking
Some people say they smoke to relax, but researchers on the European Board for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco suggest that nicotine suppresses the hormone serotonin, which fights stress. Another good reason to quit.
8. Try to see the positive side
If you missed a deadline, try to appreciate what you learned from this mistake: now you know how to plan ahead. Things might seem bad, but if you try, there is usually something positive to be learned.
9. Listen to music
Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind. If you're feeling stressed, putting on some calming music while you work could really help.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it's really true. Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress.
Not taking life too seriously can help everyone live a better and easier life. Make time for yourself, log out of Twitter and take breaks. It's about time that we students accept that we can achieve just as much in life without all the stress.
How do you manage stress? Share your tips in the comments section below
Stress Management Essay
Stress is a large part of every day life. Stress is has many definitions and there are many ways to manage stress. Most stress occurs at our busiest moments; school, work and home. Those are the most common places for stress to build. Nevertheless stress is unavoidable.
How do people know that they are stressed? The body responds to stress negatively. Many biological changes take place which include but are not limited to the following: muscles tension, breathing heavily, dry mouth, sweats, tremors, dialating of pupils, response are not clear and there are many more (Wagner& Taylor). These changes can cause health problems if experienced to frequently. The body often becomes worn down making it more susceptible to becoming sick. Depending on how serious the stress, can determine the severity of its impact.
For example, an individual may have a stressful week at work, and contract a virus, and end up with a common cold. Reducing stress may help the body recover faster, and may even keep a person healthier (Palmer).
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The brain, nerves, and central nervous system interpret stress in our lives. Some factors effect the way people live and determine how stress is interpreted by their immune system, and what side affects stress will have. Nourishment is important because the immune system needs enough to weaken viruses (Palmer). Exercise is vital because it can relieve tension and keep the body healthy. However moderation is the key. Heavy exercise with no break can harm the body and wear it down with similar effects as stress. Personality is an important factor because that is the trait that helps individuals cope with stress. Easy going personalities are usually able to deal with stress better.
People with this type of personality don’t let as much upset them and reason better when faced with stress. Hostile personalities usually become angry more quickly when faced with stress (Pope).
There are several side affects that occur from stress. Insomnia is another factor that stress may bring on. This occurs when a person is disrupted with thoughts and questions that drive them crazy and cause an inability to sleep. Chronic pain, headaches and backaches can be stress induced when under pressure. The muscles in these areas become tense under stress. Heart problems are the most common side affect. The pain felt in the chest is tension caused by an oxygen shortage to the heart. Heart attacks occur due to high blood pressure and can be fatal.
Some behaviors that people take part in to reduce or cope with stress may also bring on heart problems. Stress can also hurt emotionally as with depression (Russel). Depression is another side affect from stress and that is a serious disorder to deal with. Pressures of life may really get to an individual making them feel down. Some of the symptoms discussed previously may be a sign of depression resulting from stress. Symptoms of depression may include diet, sleeping problems, headaches, body aches. Individuals who are depressed should seek counseling. (Palmer).
There are several different ways to manage stress. Not every way of managing stress is right for every person, because everyone’s reaction to stress is different. There is no right or wrong answer. One way is by practicing a simple breathing exercise. They calm down an individual and help them relax. There are many different techniques for breathing that can reduce stress.
Stress counselors can recommend a certain technique for a each person. Relaxing and breathing work together. Relaxing may include doing something enjoyable, such as taking a walk, listening to music, picking up a hobby, reading or simply sitting or lying down in peace and quiet.
Moderate exercising is another way of reducing stress, but it is important to remember not to over do it. Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean running the mile. It could simply mean stretching (Pope).
Biofeedback is also a way of managing stress. This involves monitoring specific areas of the body with an electrical device that is hooked up to an area of the body. The device makes a noise, and the pitch of the sound is determined by how relaxed the individual is (Palmer).
Eating well will help for managing stress. Healthy foods keep the immune system strong, as well as limiting the amount of caffeine that is consumed daily. Caffeine speeds up the heart and metabolic rate which can add stress. Quitting smoking is also an excellent alternative to reducing stress. Cigarette smoking has a similar effect that caffeine has on the body (Pope).
Individuals that are under stress should not turn to harmful stress relievers such as smoking, drinking or unhealthy eating. These unhelpful stress management strategies may seem like they are relieving stress, but instead they are hurting the body, which leads to more stress. Problems with work, relationships, school, and life in general should be dealt with accordingly. By using healthy strategies in moderation or seeking counseling a person can determine what works best for them in dealing with stress. By identifying stress, its causes and side affects managing stress will eventually become easier.
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