Stress is defined as a response to a demand that is placed upon you. Stress in a normal reaction when your brain recognizes a threat. When the threat is perceived, your body releases hormones that activate your “fight or flight” response. This fight or flight response is not limited to perceiving a threat, but in less severe cases, is triggered when we encounter unexpected events. Psychologist Richard S. Lazarus best described stress as “a condition or feeling that a person experiences when they perceive that the demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” For most people, stress is a negative experience.
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Psychological – the response to stress may decrease your ability to work or interact effectively with other people, and be less able to make good decisions. Stress has also been known to play a part in anxiety and depression.
IDENTIFY THE SOURCES OF STRESS IN YOUR LIFE
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.
WHAT CAUSES STRESS?
Stressors are anything that cause or increase stress. Below are a few examples:
1. Academics – by far the biggest stressor for college students: the pressure of not failing.
2. dating– relationship problems may add to the pressure/stress of academics.
3. Environment – certain environments can bring about stress such as discussing/viewing heated topics, slow moving traffic, trying to find a parking spot, etc.
4. Extracurricular – some students may feel pressured to make extracurricular activities a part of their daily routine to the point where every hour of the day is accounted for.
5. Peers – peer pressure is a major stressor, especially pressure that is negatively influenced.
6. Time Management – one of the biggest stressors is not knowing how to plan and execute daily activities such as class, work, study time, extracurricular activities, and time alone.
7. Money – some student find themselves thinking more about money than they do anything else. Money is a huge stressor that college students face.
8. Parents – yes, even parents can become stressors. Pressure from parents to succeed is a great stressor.
UNHEALTHY WAYS OF COPING WITH STRESS
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they causemore damage in the long run:
Smoking Drinking too much Overeating or undereating Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities Using pills or drugs to relax Sleeping too much Procrastinating Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence) Learning healthier ways to manage stress
If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING THE CAUSES OF STRESS
Starting a stress journal may help you identify what your...