By Paola Guzman
With midterms right around the corner, stress is inevitable for most students. College students have to juggle countless activities including school, work, a social life, clubs and health. It is no wonder that 31.8 percent of students nationally have reported that stress has directly affected their academic performance in the following ways, “received a lower grade on an exam, or an important project; received a lower grade in the course; received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research, or practicum work,” according to the National College Health Assessment.
Although school can be stressful, there will always be ways to cope with that stress. Elisabeth Petry, a sophomore English major said, “I deal with stress in a number of ways some good, some bad. I find it very helpful when I’m stressing out to take a step back and recognize that what I’m stressed about is likely only temporary and there are always ways I can try to cope.”
Physical signs of stress can be rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, headache, sweating or sweaty palms. There are also signs of emotional stress like becoming irritable, finding it hard to concentrate or fearing the worst.
First thing’s first, in order to prevent or cope with stress, you should be fully aware of it. Ways to prevent stress can be scheduling meaningful activities like dancing, writing or hanging out with friends. Making time for relaxation is also important or else the constant stress and pressure may cause harm in the end. Lynne Schwartz, director of the center for healthy living, said another great way to cope with stress is, “looking into ways of managing stress whether it’s academic, I would go to the various tutoring and support services on campus. And then working on developing a support system, come to the center for healthy living, also talk to friends and family; there’s people around you that can help manage that stress if you reach out.”
Physical activities can also help cope with stress. Through deep-breathing exercises or meditation, relaxation can be achieved. The center for healthy living offers “Meditation Mondays” every Monday from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm in Kahn. Exercise is also a powerful way to combat stress. It clears the mind and stimulates endorphins to make the body feel better. Exercise has been correlated to decreased anxiety and depression.
Nutrition is also essential to taking care of the body and preventing stress. Drinking chamomile tea helps alleviate stress and anxiety. For stomachaches and digestive troubles ginger tea calms the pain. If feeling the need for a pick-me-up, eat some oatmeal. Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates and contributes to the release of serotonin, without causing a sugar crash.
If all else fails Schwartz says to, “Laugh, laugh, laugh, make yourself laugh. Find something funny. It stimulates the endorphins and makes you smile because it takes away some of the gunk in your head. ”