Stress can be a common response to high pressure events or situations that we may encounter. Mild to moderate levels of stress can be normal, however when stress becomes ongoing, severe and persistent and starts impacting daily functioning, it may push you beyond your ability to cope with situations.
Learning how to manage stress in healthy ways is vital to everyday functioning. Managing your stress won’t make stress disappear from your life, however managing your stress regularly can alert you to the causes of your stress, and prevent your stress levels from reaching a level where you find yourself unable to cope.
By practicing effective ways to relax, you may be able to counter some of the negative effects that are caused by stress and help you increase your ability to cope with challenging and stress-inducing situations.
Ensuring that you have a healthy headspace allows you to better deal with many of life’s everyday challenges, and can help you tackle stressful events in more positive ways.
People usually get stressed when they are unable to manage, or respond appropriately, to demanding situations. Students may feel stressed when trying to juggle the demands of their university degree, along with other competing demands that may arise in everyday life.
There are two main ways to manage and reduce your stress levels:
Changing the situation that is triggering your stress, or
Changing your reaction to the situation.
Some helpful tips to assist in reducing your stress:
Identify what you can do to change the nature of the stressful situation.
Can you avoid a stressful event? For example, you may be able to avoid panicking over an exam by managing your study time efficiently and ensuring you have enough time to prepare and revise.
Identify how you can change your emotional reaction to the event.
Consider the consequences of overreacting to a difficult situation by taking a step back before your stress becomes uncontrollable. Try not to engage in negative thought patterns and think positively regarding how you can change your response to the situation.
The best way that you can reduce the stress of managing study commitments is by engaging in healthy study habits that assist in evening out your study load across the semester. Stress from study can come about by either working too hard, or by not working hard enough over the course of the semester. If you feel like you have been working too hard and are close to burning out, it may be important to take a short break and engage in some light exercise or change up your study routine.
Some helpful resources for managing stress and improving overall mental health are below:
Headspace (2017) offers multiple resources to improve mental health:
The University of Melbourne also has a range of resources available to students:
- By Kaitlin Kearney
Readers are reminded that this post is not intended as personal psychological advice and if you are experiencing distress or discomfort following viewing of this article please contact your local mental health service.