Your life will always be better with less stress
By Alexis Zygan, Staff writer
Symptoms of anxiety manifest in the body in several ways and result in aches, headaches, high blood pressure and stomach issues.
It’s only the second week of classes, but students are already feeling overwhelmed by their workload. Addressing stress early on is vital; after all, chronic stress adversely impacts mental and physical health. Every student ought to develop a stress-management plan that is reassessed throughout the school year. Symptoms of anxiety manifest in the body in several ways and result in aches, headaches, high blood pressure and stomach issues. If any of these symptoms resonate with you, unclench your jaw, stretch for five minutes, drink a 16-ounce cup of water, and continue reading to discover five practical strategies to mitigate stress. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. According to a study by McGill, 60% of university students experience above-average levels of stress. However, the habits we do every single day can transform our lives.
1. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Morning classes are not the same without a cup of coffee. But drinking caffeine throughout the day can increase anxiety and may contribute to digestive discomfort. Moreover, overdoing caffeine later in the day often results in an inconsistent sleep schedule. As a rule of thumb, you probably shouldn’t consume coffee after 1 pm. If you’re in desperate need of an energy boost, try drinking green tea with mint leaves and a wedge of lemon. Avoid energy drinks altogether as their high sugar and caffeine content can cause insomnia.
2. Prioritize what makes you happy.
Time is of the essence when scheduling during the school year. Maintain a balance between mentally taxing tasks with twenty minutes of an activity that makes you happy. Ideally, the hobby doesn’t involve a screen. For example, read a book in a cafe, knit a sweater or invite friends over for a night of drawing or board games. Socialization is proven to release the feel-good chemical dopamine!
Many academic studies have shown a correlation between physical activity and stress relief. However, frequently it can be hard to find the motivation to stay active. One tip to make physical exercise more accessible is to reframe the approach. Instead of associating movement with pain, ponder the benefit working out has on your well-being, happiness, and productivity. Activity can be as simple as stretching in between lectures or walking for thirty minutes.
Writing out thoughts as they arise is a simple yet effective way to declutter your mind. In addition, journaling has been proven to eliminate the symptoms of stress and improve cognitive functions. Verbalizing emotions can be challenging while jotting down feelings on paper allows ideas to flow freely and inspires self-reflection on which circumstances may be contributing to heightened anxiety. A gratitude journal is a way to remind oneself that there are also many reasons to be joyful despite mounting pressure. Keeping a journal may even transform your note-taking strategy.
A significant contributor to stress is an unmanageable workload. Previously, I wanted to fill all my spare time with activities. I would have benefited as a college student by learning when to acknowledge I was overworked and could not take anything else on. A strategy that can aid you now and later in life is becoming more comfortable saying no. Next time someone asks you for help, and you’re one assignment from dropping out, set a boundary. Your mental health will thank you.