(April 21) Stress is defined as the body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It’s a normal part of most people’s lives.
College life in particular – with exams, money issues, and social life – is filled with many stressors.
COVID-19 certainly hasn’t made things easier. According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, two thirds of college adults say that the “pandemic makes planning for their future feel impossible.”
In addition, research says that people dealing with stress are more susceptible to addiction. So, whether it’s short- or long-lived, it’s important for students to be able to recognize what causes stress in their lives so they can implement healthy ways to cope.
What Can Stress Look Like?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the body’s responses to stress can include:
- difficulty sleeping,
- increased alcohol and other substance use,
- being easily angered,
- feeling depressed, and
- having low energy.
What Are Some Ways Students Can Manage Stress?
Relaxing activities, like breathing exercises or meditation. The University at Albany has a list of self-help apps for students on their site aimed at helping reduce stress and anxiety. The page also lists apps that help students struggling with substance misuse.
Regular exercise. Whether going for a hike or just a walk around the neighborhood, exercise is good for physical health and also can
also be a mood booster.
Socialize. Connecting with other people is a great way to deal with stress, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends or family when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Don’t use drugs or alcohol. Misusing substances can actually make things worse by adding to your stress.
For More Information About Stress:
Stress and Your Health (Medline Plus) https://medlineplus.gov/
Stress in America (American Psychological Association) https://www.apa.
Stress in College Students: What to Know (US News & World Report) https://www.usnews.
5 Things You Should Know About Stress (National Institute of Mental Health) https://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Coping with Stress (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)