Healthy ways to handle stress

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Homework, jobs, money, roommates and a social life. The pressures for today’s students can build up quickly, and learning how to deal with “stressors” is one of the key ways to deal with college.

Indentify stressors

Social Media:
With the advancement of technology, many find themselves owning smart phones that are able to do everything a computer can do. These tiny, all-knowing machines are efficient and convenient for everyday necessities like checking email or finding out the weather. However, constantly being inside the cyber world has seemed to shorten the attention span of students as they are always looking out for the latest post or “tweet.”

A New York Times article reported, “While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say and they experience more stress.”

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are also culprits. They are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but like smart phones, you can get so used to having something to check that over time many do not know how to handle not having something to engage them.

Psychologist Richard Balding told USA Today, “Everyone needs a break, some time on your own, otherwise there’s a risk that the stress and tension that builds up from keeping engaged can end up having a negative impact on relationships.”

Solution:
Give your technology a “nap.” You do not need to constantly be up and running and neither do they. Unplugging yourself from the cyber world has the potential to open your eyes to all there is to do in the real world. It can relax your mood and give you a chance to enjoy other activities, as well as try new ones that you have yet to explore. Leaving time for your mind to wind down will help with your focus and stress levels.

Taking on too many responsibilities:
Friends are fun and homework needs to be done, but many students have a hard time drawing the line between what they need and what they want. Life gets tough when it seems like everyone wants you to be in a million places at once. What seems like just a few tasks can add up quickly, stretching your availability thin and before you know it you are “people pleasing” more than getting necessary things done. This inevitably can become a huge weight upon your shoulders and send stress levels soaring.

“Sometimes we can’t focus on one certain responsibility, because we are so stressed knowing that we have a million other responsibilities. This puts a lot of tension and stress in our lives so we can’t focus on doing what’s important,” Michelle Kern, sophomore, said.

Solution:
Learn to say no. You can only handle so many things at once. Figure out what things demand the most attention and what things you know you need extra time for, like homework. Prioritize what things you have to get done, and do not take on more than you know you have time to do. Doing so will end up running yourself thin, so you are not able to perform to your full potential on everyday tasks. Also, make time for yourself. It is important that you take time to rest and recharge.

Finances:
The status-quo is: if you’re in college, you’re poor. Now this assertion may not be correct for all students, but it rings true for most. Gas, credit cards, tuition, food…the list goes on. Since money can directly affect what you do and when you do it, it seems to be a consistent stressor for young adults. Money problems will not go away anytime soon, and may even get worse as you get older.

Solution:
Learn how to budget your money. You may have heard this from your parents plenty of times without much thought, but it is important for a reason. Figure out what things are a necessity and which are not. The little things add up. Buying a coffee nearly every day is a quick $50 a month down the drain. Refraining from purchasing unnecessary things will allow you more money to spend on things you actually need. Another easy way to ensure you are budgeting right is by keeping track of your expenses. Write down where you use your money and see if you want to continue in that direction, or if you can cut something out.

If that is not enough to convince you to spend wisely, Luke 8:14 says: “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature,” (NIV).

To help prevent stress, at least seven hours of sleep and a healthy diet are highly suggested.

“Not enough sleep makes me moody and added stress just makes me a monster to be with. Efficient sleep and eating habits are key to a better life in general,” Jade Wilia, junior, said.

Exercise is also a great stress manager. Increasing your heart rate releases endorphins that eases stress and leaves you with a better attitude. This does not mean you have to go out and run a marathon. Actually, it does not take much to reach your target heart rate. Simple activities like Frisbee and swimming will give you a good amount of feel-good hormones without being too harsh on your body.

The bottom line is that stress will always be there no matter whether you are in school or at work; the trick is learning how to manage it and enjoy life.

About Aarika Hernandez

Sports Editor

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