We all feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and helpless at some point in our lives. This feeling of emotional pressure or strain is called stress. Stress affects everyone, irrespective of age. Stress may be due to external factors or due to internal perceptions.
Is stress always bad? Well, a little stress does not harm. However, excessive stress can affect your physical and mental health. Positive stress, also called eustress, motivates you to overcome your challenges and enhances your self-esteem.
Stress is inevitable in everybody’s life, and students are no exception. Students experience emotional and psychological pressure for various reasons. Studies show that the younger generation experiences more stress than older people, and they manage it poorly.
What causes student stress?
Students experience stress due to reasons which may not be in their control. The stimuli that cause stress are called stressors. When we experience stress, the body releases increased amounts of such hormones as adrenaline and cortisol, which cause adverse effects in the body.
The most common reasons for student stress are
- Heavy academic load
- Fear of underperforming in examinations
- Difficulty in meeting deadlines
- Negative peer pressure
- Over-expectation from parents and others
- Troubled relationships
- Transitioning to a new environment
The reasons for student stress can vary depending on age and conditions. Excessive stress can have adverse effects. Hence, parents and educators need to be watchful of symptoms of stress in their children and help students manage them.
Effects of stress
Stress usually shows up with a few symptoms such as sleeplessness, headaches, irritability, etc. These symptoms often reduce once the stressor passes. However, long-term stress can impact students’ health. The effects of stress include:
- High blood pressure and heart ailments
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Anxiety and depression
- Skin disorders etc.
When students face an academic setback or pressure, the amount of cortisol increases in the body. In most cases, students get relieved from stress as they address the reason behind it. However, some students find it challenging to come out of setbacks and remain stressed. Therefore, students need to adopt stress management techniques to ensure their well-being. Here are 7 simple ways to reduce student stress.
Stress management techniques for students
1. Active lifestyle
Active living is one of the proven stress management tools. Engaging in regular physical exercise, cycling, swimming or jogging helps in staying healthy. Students can be a part of sports activities in schools or colleges. Sports act as a stressbuster, relieving emotional pressure. Several studies show that physical activities produce endorphins in the body, which improve our ability to sleep and reduce stress.
2. Cultivate a hobby
Hobbies provide an outlet for stress. Taking some time off your regular schedule and engaging in a hobby is a great way to manage stress. Listen to soothing music or play an instrument, express your creativity with colours or explore new recipes in the kitchen - choose the best hobby as per your interest. The immense benefits will surprise you.
With the increasing need for managing student stress, meditation comes as an easy and effective solution. Meditation is the practice of being mindful and training your mind to focus. It eliminates cluttered thoughts and brings inner peace and tranquility. It gives a sense of relaxation and restores your calm.
Meditation combined with positive thoughts and affirmations can be a wonderful way to combat negative thoughts that lead to stress. Meditation enables students to take their exams with clarity of thought. It improves memory and concentration, leading to better academic performance, thus reducing student stress.
4. Better time management
While there are ways to manage stress, cultivating the habit of managing time well will prevent stressful situations in life. Students who manage their time well are less stressed with academic deadlines. Plan your work. Make a checklist of activities and complete it based on priority. Do not procrastinate and keep your assignments till the last hour. It is also essential to set realistic goals and to not overload your calendar.
5. Nutritious diet
Apart from these practices, a well-balanced and healthy diet plays a vital role in fighting stress. Wholesome intake, including right quantities of essential nutrients, keeps the body and mind fit and stress-free. Make sure that you include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, fish, and green tea help manage anxiety. Foods high in vitamin B such as fortified grains help metabolism.
6. Seek help
While you try to manage stress using one or more ways, additional support from someone dear will be of great help. Talking to your friend or a close person helps you vent out your emotions and gives you a lot of relief. Confide in someone you trust to express your thoughts, fears, and insecurities openly, which will help you reduce stress immensely. Surprisingly, spending time with pets also proves to be an effective stress management tool.
7. Developing a growth mindset
Many stress management strategies help in the momentary relief of stress. However, developing a growth mindset addresses the cause of stress. People who have a growth mindset believe that their talents and abilities can be developed by working on them. They value what they do, irrespective of the outcome. A growth mindset enables you to divert your thoughts from the negativity caused by a situation. So, more than the problem, you will focus on the opportunities for improvement and value the learning gained from experience. Stressful situations do arise. But a student with a growth mindset is equipped to handle it constructively and positively.
Dealing with stress can be challenging. Students with stress and anxiety often suffer in silence. Despite your best efforts, if you still feel overwhelmed, you can take the help of a therapist or a counsellor to work on your long-term stress. These professionals can guide you about addressing your concerns that cause stress. De-stress! You deserve it!