Stress is the body's response to things that upset or excite us. Stress can be acute (a pop quiz or a bomb threat), episodic (monthly bills or quarterly exams), or chronic (rush hour traffic, a learning disability, or an alcohol dependant parent or spouse), depending on the stressor that causes the stress response. Not all stressors are negative. Some of life's happiest moments are enormously stressful (births, reunions, and weddings). This type of good stress is called eustress. Distress is the negative form of stress which can disrupt our lives and be harmful to our health. Distress has been linked to an increase risk of developing heart disease, a decreased function of the immune system, and other health problems including migraine headaches and a disrupted digestive system. College students are under considerable amounts of stress on a daily basis. Their response to that stress may lead to increased numbers of headaches, anxiety, anger, crying, depression, or starting new habits like smoking or drinking.
Starting college can be an incredibly stressful event for many students. Living with other people, moving away from home, adapting to the new social environment and the academic workload can put college students under a great amount of stress each day. Their response to stress may lead to an increased number of headaches, anxiety, anger, crying, depression, or new habits like smoking and drinking.
How to Help Your Child Manage Stress
Before your children begin college, you may want to talk about the ways in which they currently handle stress and healthy coping options. Helping your child to see that there are healthy ways to reduce stress, such as talking to other, cultivating hobbies, using relaxation techniques or exercise can greatly improve your child's ability to cope with the stressors of everyday life and reduce the negative impact of stress. The Office of Health Promotions and The Counseling Center are also always available as resources for students who need assistance in coping with the pressures of college.
These things may help to decrease your stress level:
- Strive for balance - review plans and commitments and scale down if necessary
- Get the facts - when faced with a change or challenge, seek accurate information, which can bring vague fears down to earth.
- Talk to someone you trust - A friend or a health professional can offer valuable perspective as well as psychological support.
- Exercise - Even when your schedule gets jammed, try to work out 20 to 30 minutes several times a week (walk, swim, bicycle, jog, walk, or work out at the gym).
- Help others - one of the most effective ways of dealing with stress is to find people who are dealing with hard situations as well and do something positive for them.
- Cultivate hobbies - pursuing a personal pleasure can distract you from the stressors in you life and help you to relax.
- Master a form of relaxation - Whether you choose meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or another technique, practice it regularly.
If you are having a hard time dealing with the stress in you life you can make an appointment at the College Counseling Center by stopping by the office on the first floor of Jonsson Tower or calling 580-5555.