6 tips for reducing stress in college students

6 tips for reducing stress in college students

No one is immune to stress. Some are able to manage it better than others, however. The secret lies in one’s ability to cope and actually putting those coping tools to use. New research says college students are lousy at managing their stress, but they could easily get better by taking certain actions.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Happiness & Well-Being, found that although there are simple ways for college students to relieve stress and get back to their happy place, they don’t take advantage of them as much they could.

Lead researcher of the study, Keith King, a University of Cincinnati professor, cited both immediate and long-term simple actions students can take to relieve stress.

King recommended that students take the following steps for immediate action:

  • Stop, pause and breathe. When you’re stressed, calm everything down by pausing and taking deep breaths. Try counting backward from 10.
  • See the bigger picture. Ask yourself, “Is what you’re experiencing really that big of a deal or not?”
  • Contact a friend. Reach out to a friend to talk about what’s bothering you so you don’t hold on to these feelings.

Things students can do over a longer period of time to ward off stress include:

  • Diet and exercise. Those who eat healthy and exercise regularly are more likely to have lower stress levels. Exercise allows you to burn off negative energy while healthy eating helps you avoid feeling weighed down.
  • Daily “me time.” Make time for yourself every day to do something that you enjoy.
  • Remember to H.A.L.T. “Make sure you’re not hungry, you’re not angry, you’re not lonely and you’re not tired,” said King in a statement. “If you can take care of those four things, you’re significantly more likely to be unstressed.”

The nearly 500 students who participated in the research through a voluntary survey had their overall happiness and stress levels assessed. Researchers found that although many reported feeling highly stressed (61 percent), more students failed to do much about it (72 percent reported low use of stress management techniques.).

Dr. Prentiss Taylor, an internist and preventive medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago adds that stress management means getting a certain mix right. “Many college students I’ve seen as a primary care physician are struggling to find balance in their life,” says Dr. Taylor.

“Some overindulge in campus food or snack foods if living off-campus, leading to excessive weight that later turns into obesity. I endorse the findings and recommendations in the research. So often balance is finding the right mix of food, exercise, sleep, and relationships,” he adds.

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. Aye we should ALL take a moment in our day just to relax. Nowadays stress is everywhere.

  2. This is great advice. I am a college student and I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed and let the pressure get to you. So many of college friends believe they don’t have time to deal with stress, but I’ve found that not dealing with it slows me down even more than taking a step back to reevaluate the situation and decompress. I make it part of my daily routine to do a “service check” to see how stressed I am and figure out what I have to do to calm down because I honestly don’t have the time to let it get to me. The key is to identify your stress level before it pushes you over the edge.

  3. “No one is immune to stress” – I beg to differ. There are scores of schools of meditation, mindfulness or by any other name, where detachment is taught and successfully brought about. One teacher on a CD I listened to uses the phrase “calm down and think ‘none of my business'”. No, before even looking into the matter, most people tend to dismiss this as causing you then to become a recluse or a “hermit”. But watching these people they are anything but. They are serene but because of this detachment they have more energy even to communicate and listen than others who “manage” their stress. I, for example, am always amused at what happens when standing on a platform the sign changes to “This train will be 20 minutes late”. Most of us will have a feeling for how long twenty minutes are. While I make it a point not to look at the sign within the next quarter of an hour, most of the others look at their watch or the clock above every two minutes at least. They show signs of stress. To cope with such stress you do not even need any technique – it can be combated rationally by making a decision, once and for all, to accept the delay, EACH delay in future life, as it is, as a PAST event (the dice have already fallen!) and get on with something useful instead. Which is why I avoid using sentences such as “No one is immune to stress” – this works its way as an autosuggestion – even the opposite “I am immune to stress” still evokes the image of stress. BANISH stress, it is a primordial reaction useful to combat predators in the jungle, but makes you your own worst enemy if you entertain it. I have taught that to children and actually, absent the stress, their learning was more disciplined than before.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.