Stress is sometimes good and sometimes bad.
Stress is not always a bad thing.
Sometimes we need stress to achieve goals, and sometimes it can lead us to situations that put our safety at risk.
When you are preparing for an important project or presentation, a little stress can be helpful because it motivates you to work harder and focus on the task at hand. Stress isn’t all bad, though; sometimes it can even be good for us. For example, stress helps prepare us for certain situations: when we’re playing in an athletic competition or meeting new people. In these situations, stress can motivate us to do well because we want to impress others and reach our goals!
Why do many students get confused with their stress management?
It is critical to understand that not all stress is harmful. In fact, stress helps motivate you and actually increases performance. Stress only becomes a problem when it becomes unmanageable for you. It is important for you to acknowledge the stressors in your life and be able to distinguish between good and bad stress.
You may be wondering why you are so stressed out with everything going on in your life. Well, the honest answer is that many students get confused with their stress management because they are unaware of the real source of their problems. Stress can come from several different sources such as relationships, academics, or even your current environment.
Stress affects each individual differently depending on their personal circumstances but some common triggers include overcommitment, perfectionism, money worries, and family struggles amongst others. For example, A students placed too much pressure on themselves because they wanted an A grade rather than a B grade which resulted in them feeling overwhelmed. This can lead them to become stressed out all the time. That makes it harder for them to concentrate at school or on college work. These feelings continue putting further pressure causing them more and more distress.
Your experience is subjective!
One of the key things to remember is that stress is subjective. Your friend may be able to handle the same amount of stress that you cannot, and vice versa. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume we’re talking about somewhat significant stresses here (e.g., a stressful task at work or a major decision). If you think you cannot handle your problem alone, it is better to talk to a medical professional as soon as possible.
Too much stress can be counterproductive
When you’re studying for a test, stressing about it too much is counterproductive to your learning process, because you lose focus on the material itself.
Try the following tips to gain the most amidst the stress.
- Study in small chunks. If you can’t force yourself to sit down and study for hours at a time, don’t! Try to study in 10-15 minute increments instead. Set a timer so that you don’t have to watch the clock and get distracted. Even studying 10 minutes at a time will yield results; trust me!
- If you are stuck, do something else for a bit! When trying to understand something becomes frustrating or overwhelming (which is inevitable), take a break from it. Do some other work or school-related activity for 15 minutes or so before coming back to what was puzzling you. You might find that when you return with fresh eyes that things look easier than before!
- Try not to get lost in the details of what you don’t know yet; focus on understanding the concepts and ideas of what is being taught well enough so that when the details come up again later. You recognize them as being part of an overall pattern rather than an anomaly that must be memorized alone.
Your brain can only take in so much information at a time, especially when you’re stressed out.
Have you ever felt distracted, disorganized, and scattered?
We can only pay attention to one item at a time. Stress, anxiety, and worry are major factors that can cause us to lose our focus. And when we lack the ability to focus, things fall through the cracks and it becomes much more difficult to accomplish what we plan on doing. The end result is a snowball effect of stress as missed deadlines pile up, adding to our already heavy load of responsibilities.
If you’re feeling scatterbrained and distracted by your never-ending list of things to do, it may be time for a mental reset. Learn how to get in the safety zone and stay in the safety zone in your mind.
You can overcome stress – That’s some good news!
The very first step to tackling your stress is to recognize it, recognize why you are feeling stressed, and then allow yourself to get angry.
It’s okay. “I am so friggin stressed!” you may say aloud. And that’s okay.
You are going through a lot right now; you are studying for a major test that has the potential to affect the rest of your life, make all your dreams come true, or shatter them completely. That pressure is real. Recognize that it is there and remind yourself over and over again (yes, this really does help):
You can do this!
You have done this before!
Worst case scenario – you don’t get the score you want on one test but it’s not like everything will fall apart in an instant if that happens! It may even be worth taking a break from school for a bit if you need some time off after graduation anyway.
Remember that failure is not fatal and you can always try again better with more experience.
You are a human being
The first step to reducing or managing stress when it comes to schoolwork and exams is to remember this mantra: you are human. You are not perfect (nobody is) and you will make mistakes, but these mistakes can be overcome. Don’t beat yourself up over past mistakes; instead, look at them as a lesson on how not to do something in the future.
Don’t worry about what other people think of you, or your grades. Some people care too much about their grades because they want everyone else to think that they’re smart or intelligent. But these same people sometimes can’t do well even though they try so hard because they’re worrying more about what other people might say rather than focusing on the task at hand. In short, don’t be stressed about things you can’t control.
Be a good team player
Here’s what the data says:
- Students who are part of a team, playing a sport, or otherwise engaged in extra-curricular activities on campus, tend to receive better grades than those who aren’t involved in such activities.
- When you stay active and take time away from your studies, your brain has the opportunity to relax and focus elsewhere. When you return to studying later, you’ll be more productive and easily retain information that you’ve learned.
- Students who play sports are more likely to be accepted into college than those who don’t participate in sports.
Ask yourself what your stress tells you
• Stress may reveal to us as college students what we need to work on. If you’re concerned about anything, consider whether there’s a way you might make things simpler the next time.
• You don’t have control over everything around you, but you do have power over how you react and respond to it.
• Take some time to consider how to remedy the issue.
• Set realistic objectives that are attainable within a specific time frame; this will assist minimize your stress levels when it comes to completing duties throughout the day or week.
• If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a project, divide it into smaller steps so that each step appears more achievable.
You can manage a lot more than you think!
Here is a little secret: You. Are. Amazing. Yes, you! You are stronger than you think, smarter than you think, and more capable than you think.
So, if most of us have an innate tendency to believe that it will be harder for us to achieve our goals than it really will be, how can we overcome this belief? By telling yourself that your goals are harder than they actually are? No way! Instead, try telling yourself something like “I’ve got this.” Repeat it as many times as needed until your body responds with yes!