This is a guest post by Ms. Mariana Ashley.
Being a student is hard work. Each class demands more time than the last, and teachers don’t seem to care about the fact that you have other classes that are assigning you more homework than you can handle, leaving you no time to study for the tests that always seem to be right around the corner.
As stressful as the student experience can be, it is important to stay healthy and balanced, and to keep school in perspective. Studies have shown that mounting school pressure can have extremely adverse effects on students, from malnutrition to suicide, who don’t have a way to cope.
Finding balance to beat student stress isn’t an easy task in itself, but it is a vital one, and one that will help you for the rest of your life, no matter what career you choose. If the study pressure is on and you can’t seem to keep it together, here are a few ways to help you remain calm, balanced, and successful:
Both literally and figuratively, it is important to breathe when the stress of studies mounts on you — hyperventilation is common in stressful situations. Metaphorically, “taking a breath” means putting a little mental distance between you and whatever it is that is stressing you out. Imagining a peaceful place, doing some mental math, telling a joke in your head; whatever works to get you out of a panic. Stress is magnetic, and can pull you in faster than you realize, so it is important to not allow yourself to get sucked in too far.
Part of the sinister nature of stress is that it keeps you trapped inside and tethered to it. Often this means sitting at a desk doing homework, research, or studying. These tasks are all sedentary, which means that they keep you sitting down and inactive. Your body and brain require oxygen to function, and oxygen is transported around in your body in the bloodstream. It is important to exercise while studying, because it keeps you alert, awake, and feeds your body and brain the oxygen it needs.
Moreover, stress triggers the increased release of a hormone called cortisol, which can impair your body’s ability to fight weight gain. As a person becomes more and more stressed, especially over a long period of time, she will be at a greater risk for obesity, heart problems, sleep problems, and any number of other health problems.
Exercise not only counteracts the health risks that stress poses, but also counteracts stress at a chemical level. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural happiness hormones.
Stress tends to isolate you. Instead of occasionally going out with friends, playing games, reading, or doing other kinds of things you enjoy, you become cut off from the world and retreat into the very thing that makes you stressed. While you are studying, plan some time to step away from your work and enjoy the company of others. The varied mental stimulation will relieve some of the pressure you feel, and will also keep you happier and more balanced.
Dealing with stress will take a while to master, but once you do, you will find that big projects and hectic timelines aren’t so unbearable because you know how to handle them. I will close by saying, however, that putting off the task that is stressing you, will only lead to more stress. So work at it little by little, and take breaks.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.