Study stress can be defined as a state of strain, tension or pressure in school or as a student and it is a normal reaction resulting from interaction between the student and the environment.
Stress is a natural feeling designed to help you to cope in challenging situations. In small amounts, it can be good because it pushes you to work hard and do your best, such as during exams. But if you are too stressed, or you reach a point you can’t manage it, it can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, and can also affect your academic performance. Some examples of signs of stress are irritability, anxiety, and sleep problems, shortness of breath or breathing very fast.
Understanding stress is an important part of stress management. There are two main types of stress: Acute stress and Chronic stress.
Acute stress is the body’s immediate reaction to a perceived threat. Acute stress can propel you to move away from danger, or in some cases even give you energy. Generally, acute stress does not cause significant problems. But when it occurs regularly, it can trigger anxiety, panic attacks, or other health related issues.
Chronic stress occurs when there are several acute stressors that don’t go away. It builds up over time and the effects may be more problematic and cause long lasting issues.
Below are helpful ways to manage stress.
KEEP A STRESS JOURNAL
One of the best ways to identify stressors is to keep a “stress journal”. As you recognize feelings of frustration, anxiety or any other negative feeling, write down the situation. This will help you know what to do and avoid these situations.
KNOW WHAT TRIGGERS YOUR STRESS
Your stress could be triggered by internal or external stressors. Internal stressors come from your own thoughts and beliefs and you have the ability to control them. External stressors are things that happen to you that you can’t control such as new deadlines, upcoming exams, seminar presentation, tasking assignments etc. Work out what it is that is making you feel stressed. See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you are under.
MAKE A TIMETABLE AND ABIDE BY IT
Get in control of your schedule by planning your study sessions. Time management will help you relax and focused. Break down tasks into manageable chunks to keep up with deadlines. If you set aside no more than half an hour or an hour once a day to deal with course work and reading, you will feel better in the long run and prepared for the next class.
TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
While studying, take regular Short breaks. Don’t over study.
Stress can be relieved through exercise like sports, walking, bike riding, socializing with friends etc. Try exercising at least 15 minutes away; it will make you feel better. By keeping your body in shape, you will free up time to relax and better concentration. Exercise is stress reducing activity.
EAT HEALTHY AND WELL BALANCED MEALS
The role of diet in stress management is very important. Eat well balanced meals at regular intervals which will help you function and feel better. Your diet can either boost your brain power or sap your mental energy. A healthy diet can function as both a stress management technique and a study aid.
Clutter can cause stress and decrease productivity. Keeping a minimal, soothing study area that is free of distractions and clutter is one way to reduce stress.
Have a sleeping pattern and stick to it. Ensure you are getting eight hours of sleep. Have a set bedtime and wake-up time to ensure you feel recharged.
SHARE RESPONSIBILITIES AND RENEGOTIATE DEAD
Find one or two course mates with whom you can divide up some of the study tasks. Often those around you might not realize how loaded you are feeling except you speak out and ask for help.
Try and reduce cramming as much as possible by keeping up with the course work and reading throughout the semester even though it is in chunks. You can always skim the chapter and read under the major section headings.
TAKE CALMING BREATHS
When your body is experiencing a stress response, a quick way to calm down is to practice breathing exercises. This helps relieve stress in minutes, and effective for reducing anxiety before or even during tests, as well as during other times when you feel overwhelmed with stress.
PRACTICE PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION (PMR)
PMR is a stress reliever that can be used during tests, before bed or at other times when you are physically wound up. It involves tensing and relaxing all muscles until the body is completely relaxed. It is particularly helpful for students for deeper sleep and even to relax and reverse test induced panic before or during a test.
DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY LIKE LISTENING TO MUSIC
Hobbies can help you relax. Music can help you to relieve stress and calm yourself down or stimulate your mind. You can play classical music while studying, upbeat music to “wake up” mentally, or relax with the help of your favourite slow melodies.
Make it a priority to get plenty of support rather than trying to cope alone. You can talk to a friend, tutor or a family member about your stress. Do not struggle alone.
Your health and well-being should always be a priority. It’s important to recognize the signs you may be stressed and deal with them.