Stress – A normal part of life

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Stress is a normal part of life. A certain level of stress is healthy and can be motivating. That extra burst of adrenaline that helps you finish your final paper, perform well in sports, or meet any challenge is positive stress.  It is a short-term physiological tension and added mental alertness that subsides when the challenge had been met, enabling you to relax and carry on.

Each of us responds to stress differently. What is stressful for one person may or may not be stressful for another.  Stress causes physiological and hormonal changes in the body.  A few examples are:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Increased frequency of headaches
  • Increased levels of frustration and anger
  • Being more irritable than normal
  • Recurring colds and minor illnesses
  • Frequent muscle aches and/or tightness
  • Being more disorganized than usual
  • Greater sense of persistent time pressure
  • Increased difficulty in getting things done.

So, how do you deal with this!  Fortunately, it’s possible to manage and maintain stress at relatively healthy levels by learning how your body reacts when it’s stressed out and monitoring yourself for these signs. Properly channeled, stress can result in increased productivity and creative solutions to problems.

Stress-Coping tips for College Students

  • Add a physical workout to your schedule at least every other day.You can jog, power walk, bike or go to the Fitness Center. Do not see this as ‘recreational time’ that can be blown off. Physical activity is a great way to insure that life’s minor stresses do not build up.
  • Set both long tern (this semester or this year) and short term (this day or this week) goals. Write them down. make them part of your time management schedule.
  • Manage your time. Develop a schedule that provides for academic, social and physical time. Follow the schedule! Seek help from the Academic Support Services in the Library to develop better time management skills.
  • Each day find twenty minutes of ‘alone time’ to relax. Take a walk, write in a journal or meditate. Did you know EMU has a prayer labyrinth which is located near the gazebo on the hill just above the Campus Center and seminary buildings.
  • Do not sweat the small stuff…always ask yourself if the issue at hand is worth getting upset about. If it is not affecting your goal achievement, it may not be worth worrying about.
  • Humor and positive thinking are important tools in stress management. Check out the events calendar on “My EMU” to see upcoming events that might make you laugh.
  • Most importantly, communicate!  Talking to a person who you trust (friend, roommate, family member, professor, residence director, community adviser, pastoral or ministry assistants, co-worker) about issues of concern is helpful. We all need someone to listen.

Need more information about stress.  Read the Stall Stories posted in the residential buildings and some academic buildings.  Come to our Health Fair on April 13th in the University Commons located on the 2nd floor between 11am and 3pm to learn how to “de-stress” and relax.