What is Stress Management?
We have all felt the effects of stress at one point in our lives, especially as busy college students. But you may be asking yourself, “what is stress?” According to the World Health Organization, stress can be defined as “any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain.” Commons stressors can include relationship difficulties, academic demands, juggling a busy schedule, and navigating new tasks and life transitions.
Short-term stress can actually be a good thing. Think about when you have a big test coming up and you start to feel stressed out. That stress can act as a motivator to start studying to ensure you are putting your best foot forward come test day. Short-term stress can build resilience and help us overcome challenges and obstacles we may face in the future.
But, when your stress levels persist for a longer period of time, referred to as chronic stress, we can start to feel a series of negative physical, emotional, and psychological effects. The key is becoming aware of when your stress levels are escalating. Everyone responds to stress differently and we can experience both emotional and physical reactions to stress. The following are some signs that you may be overly stressed:
- Racing thoughts
- Muscle tension
- Sleep difficulties
- Heart palpitations
- Chest tightness
- Stomach twisted in knots
- Sweating or shivering
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shallow Breathing
- Isolating from others
Becoming aware of your own “red flags” is the first step to learning how to manage and cope with stress. Once you become aware, you can take steps to both prevent your stress from escalating and reduce your stress levels if they do start to rise. Some common stress management techniques include relaxation and deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, a healthy diet, a solid support system, positive self-talk, and soothing with the five senses. Find what works for you by checking out the links below on stress management activities you can practice at home!
Stress Management Activities to Practice!
Are you up for the Challenge?
We challenge you to practice a stress management activity once a day! This could be reciting positive affirmations while you get ready for the day, practicing a grounding technique on your way to class, or reaching out to a friend when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s all about discovering what works for you!