Tag Archives | stress

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Statistics on addiction in the U.S. are alarming. For example, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction says that there are 17.6 million adults suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. There are over 2 million adults suffering from opioid addiction which includes prescription pain killers and heroin. With such alarming rates of addiction, students going to college or universities are at a high risk.

The Campus Environment

Many universities are going to great lengths to protect their students from falling into an all too familiar college experience. With substance-free housing, help lines for addiction and many programs promoting health and wellness, it’s clear that an epidemic of partying too hard has shown to cause present and future problems for students.

Students are more at risk to develop substance abuse problems because the campus environment has long promoted it. With most students being away from home for the first time, there’s going to be some experimenting, but it’s when it becomes chronic that things get out of hand. The peer pressure to enter the party scene is the highest a student will experience throughout their life. Young and impressionable adults attending college away from home want to be a part of the culture. The problem is that you aren’t equipped to use substances responsibly. It’s not to say that you should never let loose and enjoy your college years, it’s just that to live a well-rounded life and get good grades, life should be more than a perpetual party.

Yoga for Anxiety

One of the reasons students tend to drink or take drugs is to relax. Studying full time can be a stressful experience, especially when you have big tests coming up. There are plenty of yoga poses that can ease your tension immediately. Instead of partying your stress away, go to bed early and do some yoga. You’ll be happy you did. When you feel anxious, instead of trying to run away from it (a common tendency), let yoga ease your stress.

One of the gentlest poses in yoga that will ease your stress and make you feel safe and secure immediately is Child’s Pose. Another alternative that offers you more of a physical challenge is Warrior III. If you can handle standing leg balances, you’ll enjoy this stress relieving pose that also strengthens and challenges you. You will stimulate your abdominal region which improves digestive functioning. This is an important way to stave off anxiety, studies have shown. Also, because you’re having to put all your efforts into a challenging pose, you’ll shift your attention from your minds’ chatter and can sit within yourself.

Yoga for Centering

In all aspects of your life, it’s important to center yourself. When you can effectively do this, you begin to understand your deeper workings. This allows you to make healthier decisions because you’ll practice more self-care. Partying constantly takes you out of your body and out of your mind so you can’t really tap into yourself any longer. Your reality is numbed and you lose yourself in a sense.

This isn’t healthy for your soul and it leads to unhealthy choices. Part of yoga is meditation, where you look into yourself. You focus on your body when you do poses and when you’re still, you focus on what you heart is truly feeling. Even if you’ve been heavily involved in the party scene at your campus, a few yoga sessions eill bring yourself back to center. For those with addictions and substance abuse problems, yoga has been a lifeline for their recovery. Yoga poses, combined with breathing and looking inwards, will shift your consciousness – which can be life changing.

Yoga for Clear Thinking

If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, you may have noticed that afterwards, you look at things in a different way. You are aware and awakened with an ability to think more clearly. Yoga promotes stillness in the mind so all that chatter falls away. When your subconscious mind isn’t filling your thoughts up with useless information, it allows you think in the present moment.

Yoga reduces restlessness, dullness, and inertia, and increases your purity. You allow thoughts to unfold in a more natural way when you practice yoga regularly. You fuss less about what people think about you and more about the conversation you’re in the middle of. You can train the mind to stop worrying about not being good enough or smart enough and just learn the material you need to learn.

Through breathing and poses that promote oxygen to surge through your body and into your mind, you will find yourself thinking more clearly. Submersing yourself into the yogic lifestyle as opposed to drinking will significantly increase your mind’s ability to retain important study information. You can promote a healthy mind or stunt it with partying. The results will be vastly different.

While there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your college years at parties, yoga does offer you another alternative. You’ll have less stress in your life and you’ll make friends that share similar values. Just as important as enjoying the freedom of college is molding yourself into the kind of person you’d like to be.

This article was contributed by guest author Meera Watts.

Image from depositphotos.com

Image from depositphotos.com

Student life stressing you out? Here’s a pro tip: become careless. Follow the letters of the Jedi code: don’t listen to emotions, listen to peace. Remember that passion exists only if you let it overcome you. Serenity is the only way towards true carelessness.

A true careless attitude aims to make you oblivious to the happenings around you. In a true existentialist scenario when everything has gone haywire, you must stay a stone in the middle of an ocean of troubles. Yet keeping calm when your daily routine is raided by problems is easier said than done. One other consequence would be the possibility of becoming heartless (something not really desirable).

Fear not, though, for we are here to present you with the top tips on how to nurture a true careless attitude. Follow the advice below and you won’t be shaken by your emotions again:

1. Learn to Say No
You may think that this is unimportant or that it may make you become heartless. None of that is true. Saying no means saying yes to the things you really want. Saying no means staying focused. On track. Goal-oriented. Set on success with the power and the right attitude to have you going the distance every time it’s needed. If you don’t learn to say no, you’ll end up trying to help everyone and forget about yourself.

Want more reasons to say no? Read this comprehensive analysis on how the art of refusing will give you your life back in more ways than one.

2. Accept Your Weaknesses
Nobody’s perfect, am I right? Except for aerospace engineers, of course.

The moment you expect yourself to achieve perfection, your productivity will decrease. Instead of perfect, aim for good. Instead of rushing and overworking to make everything the best thing ever, try a level-headed approach. If you lower how much you care about something, you will not be disappointed if you do less than perfection.

3. Understand How You Function
Everyone has a specific rhythm in which he or she works best. Get to know your rhythm. A person nurturing a careless attitude will automatically work according to their specific cycle. Any alteration to that workflow and you may end up tired, unhappy, and sick of your job. Every now and then it’s OK to even ask for a time off to recharge your batteries, so don’t be afraid to if your body prompts you to.

4. Don’t Change for Others
Your way of working doesn’t need to change. Once you tell yourself that, you will be able to overpass any constraints. Tell your peers that your rhythm works best for you and argue your decision to stick to it. If you make a successful enough plea, the people around you will begin to adapt to your way of working and managing deadlines.

5. Stop Seeking Validation
Rewards come and go. Thanks are often absent. Reproaches can sting. However, the validation game is just another one of those tricks that your mind likes to play on you. Once you receive positive feedback, you will want more, like a drug.

Don’t expect to be thanked for what you do. Always put reproaches behind you – keep in mind what you’ve done wrong and do better next time. No ifs and no buts. Being truly careless means having the power to weather the most terrible of storms with a straight face.

Last but not least, reward-based work also has many downsides – so avoid yearning for them and you’ll be all the more surprised when they do arrive.

6. See the Flaws in Others
Everyone has flaws. There is a certain perfection in a world where flaws meet qualities and complete each other like pieces of this grand puzzle that is the universe. Try to notice the harmony that arises from this. Try to perceive your idiosyncrasies and part of what makes you human and therefore beautiful. Don’t try to stress them nor should you take pride in them. Treat them as they are and if possible, improve upon bad habits.

All in all, remember that self-improvement is something necessary and logical at the same time. It’s what we all do to escape into our better selves. Therefore, developing a careless attitude is the best way to have peace of mind in any and all situations that one may encounter in life.

This article was contributed by guest author Amanda Wilks.

Image by A Health Blog, Flickr

Image by A Health Blog, Flickr

2.6% and 30.3%. Those statistics represent two different factors that disrupt a university student’s academic performance: physical injury and stress. 30% is not a small number!

Mental health for students is a topic that rarely receives any more attention than the knowledge of what it is. For others, it’s something that can affect them in their studies, social interactions, or just themselves and their reality.

University students are known to be at a stage in their lives where they start to experience the most amount of stress. It’s a challenging environment, so much so that it sometimes can lead students to develop health issues. Many students are aware of this but forget about the university resources that are openly available to them – in most cases, for free.

Among stress, many students proclaim feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, severe lack of motivation, sadness, and depression. None of these problems have to be permanent, or recurrent.

If you have reason to believe that yourself or anyone you know may be experiencing mental issue, take the step to talk to someone or contact your campus mental health resource department.

Furthermore, if you have a shred of doubt about your mental stability and want to know more, take a look at the well-informed guidebook here: Student Mental Health: Identifying Disorders and Promoting Wellness; it displays information on some of the more common problems students face as well as a means to tackle those problems.

Image by Shane Global, Flickr

Image by Shane Global, Flickr

There is hardly a student who hasn’t experienced exam stress. Professors say that you don’t have to worry if you’ve studied enough, but the reality is strange: you get more worried the more you study. In some students, the stress grows into a state of anxiety, characterized with excessive worry, fear of failure, and psychosomatic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, stomach pain, and extreme fatigue.

During exam week, students are burdened with too many tests within a short period of time. As a result, they feel little or no control over the situation. Exam anxiety is often accompanied with tough self-criticism and pessimistic predictions.

Technology, with its power to make studying easier and help students surpass different issues, has the capacity to reduce exam-time stress to a certain level. When the anxiety is excessive, the student may need counseling. However, proper use of technology can release some of the tension.

Let’s see how exactly technology can help students reduce the volume of stress during exam week.

1. Social media serves as virtual group therapy

Students are not left on their own to deal with exam-time pressure. They can always use social media to support each other, ask questions, and help each other find the answers. Facebook groups are a very effective tool that helps students connect and show support. When you’re extremely stressed and you notice that everyone else is feeling the same pressure, you realize that you’re not alone on this journey. The sole realization that all students go through stress may make you feel more comfortable with exams.

When students connect via social media, they can share notes, thoughts, useful links, and explanations. As a result, you can find resources that help you handle the studying material more easily.

2. Brainstorming, note-taking, and mind-mapping tools help students study more efficiently

Technology makes the studying process more organized. There is no need for messy notebooks that the student himself doesn’t comprehend. With brainstorming, note-taking, and mind-mapping tools, students can easily generate ideas, highlight important facts, and memorize information. These are only few of the many effective tools that make the studying process more effective:

  • Stormboard – an online brainstorming and planning tool, which helps students think of an answer plan on potential essay questions. Brainstorming is a necessary aspect of the preparation process whenever there is a certain level of creativity involved in the answers.
  • Evernote – a note-taking tool that students can use on all their devices. With Evernote, they can take all types of notes and organize them in notebooks. They can also share those notebooks with their friends, so they can discuss and collaborate in real time.
  • MindMup – an online tool that enables students to create effective maps, which are very effective in classifying, organizing, and memorizing data.

3. Technology makes time management more effective

A plain daily planner can help a student organize time more effectively. However, a simple notebook can get messy, since it doesn’t allow you to edit the plan when something comes up. An online planner, on the other hand, is much cleaner and more effective.

  • Google Calendar is an excellent online calendar that makes planning less stressful. As a student, you can use it to keep track of important exam dates, and plan your time in a way that allows you to progressively cover the entire coursework material.
  • RescueTime is an app that monitors the time you spend online, and then provides an eye-opening report. It alerts the student when he/she is spending a lot of time on a certain online activity, such as browsing through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit feeds. It also measures the time the user spends in effective online research. At the end of the day, the student can evaluate his/her online time and block distracting websites if necessary.
  • Remember the Milk is a simple, but very effective to-do app that reduces confusion during exam time. When the student has several subjects and assignments to cover, he/she can easily forget about important responsibilities. With this planning app, task-management becomes a breeze.

4. The writing process is easier thanks to online tools

Studying for the exams is important, but so are all term papers, research papers, book reviews, and essays with strict submission dates. When students are burdened with all these assignments, the exam anxiety gets even worse. Some students decide to use writing services to delegate part of their work and get more time for studying, but that’s not an ethical academic practice and all colleges sanction it.

There are other ways students can get practical advice, such as YouTube videos that help students to grasp complex concepts that are not properly covered in their textbooks. Writing Forums and Writers Digest are only two of the many online communities of writers who are ready to offer opinions, critiques, and tips for students who want to learn how to write. In addition, the editing process becomes really easy for students who use Hemingway App, Grammarly, and similar automated editing tools.

Thanks to the online world, students can get answers to all their questions. Google Scholar is a great search engine, which gives instant access to relevant resources that students use for their essays. When they read some of these materials, they get better chances to answer the essay questions with great success.

With Proper Use of Technology, Exams Are Easier to Cope With.

You won’t free yourself from exam-time stress entirely when you start using technology. However, you will handle the busy schedule and huge volumes of studying material much more smoothly. Try implementing the right tools and practices into your routine, and tell us about the results you notice.

This article was contributed by guest author Mary Kleim.

Image by Jirka Matousek, Flickr

Image by Jirka Matousek, Flickr

College opens doors. For some it grants the credentials to achieve highly technical professional career, and for others it equips them with the skills and knowledge they can use to eliminate what could have been years trudging their way up the corporate ladder.

Entering, remaining in, and succeeding at college can be extremely difficult. Nightmares about student loan debt, an inability to balance life, work and school, as well as the very real reality that you might not be in the right mindset to succeed, has convinced many students to put off college just one more semester. If you fall into one of these categories, don’t give up yet – here are a few methods to ease yourself into college.

Take College Classes in High School
Some high schools do not prepare students for the rigors of college. Many high school curriculums are so easy that students can sleep through them. Get a taste of college and a jump start on your college degree with dual (also known as concurrent or advanced placement) college classes. Students in dual enrollment classes earn high school and college credit for courses at the same time.

Depending on the school district, these courses either take place online, in class, or at a college campus. They are usually significantly cheaper than the traditional college course, and some states and school districts will cover the cost of students enrolling in dual enrollment programs.

Community College
Community college is a solid way to ease yourself into college. The low cost of tuition for community college (students can expect to pay around $3,400 a year in some states) makes pursuing higher education a more viable option. If you’re curious how much in-state or private colleges will cost you this year, check out this article. Due to the steep price of college, many students knock out many of their generic courses through a local community college and then transfer to an in-state school for their junior and senior years.

Community college can also offer a low stress, minimal commitment education. Individuals who aren’t sure if they have the time or mental capacity to pursue a college degree can sign up for a course and just see how it goes. Dropping the course mid-semester if life takes a sudden twist won’t be such a punch to the gut due to the lower tuition fees.

Audit Classes
Some potential students are more concerned with their ability (either mentally or temporally) to handle their classes. The thought of dishing out tuition when the course might be beyond your ability to complete successfully can be daunting. Auditing might be the answer to circumvent that issue.

Auditing occurs when the school and the professor grant a student permission to sit in on a class. Often students don’t pay and they’re not required by the professor to take the tests. Many colleges offer the ability to audit classes to students who aren’t enrolled (but these may come with a cost). Other colleges don’t require students to pay. And others just require auditors to pay the attached class fees.

Arizona State University recently created a program that could change the face of education called the Global Freshman Academy. The academy offers the ability to audit while still giving students the ability to earn credits at the end of the course. The only up-front fee is $45 dollars for each course students enroll in to verify the student’s identity.

At the end of the course, if the student passes and wishes to earn credit for the course, then they can pay for the credits. It’s a fairly innovative process that offers all of the rigors and time commitment without any of the academic or financial stress. Failing or dropping the course won’t leave a messy trail on your college transcript.

Perusing Videos or Podcasts
If all of the above options are too much of a time, money, and brain suck, individuals can dip their toes into higher education by listening or watching professor or guest speaker lectures. For those who don’t live near a college campus, many colleges, departments, and professors upload their lectures online on a variety of platforms. When you have some free time, check out iTunes, school websites, or YouTube for free educational lectures.

College courses can grant the skills, knowledge, and credentials to succeed professionally. Not all students can afford to dive into college, due to personal, professional or monetary constraints. Starting college while in secondary school, enrolling in community college, auditing classes, and listening to educational lectures online is a solid way for individuals to ease their way into college.

This article was contributed by guest author Samantha Stauf.

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Post-secondary years are stressful for most. There are assignments, exams and readings all piled on top of each other, not to mention juggling a part-time job for some. It can be hard to balance all your duties – but it is not impossible.

All it takes to accomplish your goals is some inventive thinking. It allows you to perform duties on tight deadlines, complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, and have more time for yourself. Most importantly, you’ll be less stressed. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips:

  1. Skim through the readings.
    Read quickly, and avoid overthinking certain passages. Highlight and make notes in your book (if it’s not a library book). This way, you can refer back to your book if you need to, but avoid spending too much time taking notes. Make your notes brief phrases rather than full sentences to save yourself some time.

  3. Try to schedule time in advance to complete homework and study.
    Put away a few hours here and there to study and complete assignments, especially when you have to work. Have readings to do? Do them on the bus or subway. You’d be amazed how much you can complete while commuting.

  5. Eliminate distractions.
    Put away your cell phone, stay off social networking and avoid instant messenger when doing homework. You may just accomplish more than you expected.

  7. Take fewer courses.
    When you are selecting your courses, try not to take on an unreasonable load. See what has worked for you in the past, and go from there. If this is your first year of school, take a look at the required credits per year for your program. You may even wish to see an academic advisor to help you choose the right amount of courses. They may be able to help you choose the right combination of courses that range from lightweight to a heavier workload.

  9. Take time off work to complete assignments, if you need to.
    If you’ve tried all of the above and you still aren’t finishing your work, take time off from your job. This should ease your stress and give you ample time to do your homework. Try not to do this too often, though – you don’t want to get in trouble or get fired.

Managing your workload while in school can be tiresome. By avoiding distractions, skimming through readings, assigning time for homework, taking no more than the required number of courses, and taking time off work when necessary, you can reduce stress. Don’t dwell on your workload. Do something about it.

Image from https://www.gratisography.com/

Image from gratisography.com

As I walked into my first day of university classes, I flashed back to all the warnings I had received from my high school teachers over the past couple of years.

“Time management is vital once you enter university,” my Economics teacher would tell me.

“If you can’t balance your time once you get to undergrad, you’re in for some trouble,” warned my English teacher.

So as I opened the door to my very first lecture hall, I was fairly intimidated. Could I handle all that was about to come at me? I was already working part time and playing in a hockey league; before second year started, I was about to have a second job. Was this all going to be impossible?

The answer was no.

After some early struggles in the first few months as I adjusted to a heavier course workload, it dawned on me that life was leaving more than enough time to bear down and study, if I only wanted to take advantage of it.

I learned to “work the clock.” Yes, I finished work every Friday night at 10:30 p.m. But instead of heading home to watch two hours of HBO and crash like most of my colleagues (the job involved lifting fridges), I would lay out my books and make notes as I had a late dinner. I gained two hours a week right there.

Saturdays, which were typically a night that I got together with friends (balance), I would spend the time in between working my second job and getting ready to go out reading a few chapters. Not only did it calm me down after another busy work day, but I felt refreshed before heading out to see friends, and I’d knocked down another two hours of work.

I would do the same before hockey on Sunday nights, and spent about 50% of my free time in between classes at school doing work. The other 50% I spent with friends, which I found recharged my batteries and gave me the energy to prepare for another few hours of schoolwork that night.

After graduating, I was hired full-time by that second job of mine; the time management skills I had built during university had helped me take on various projects in the office that led to the offer.

Was I busy during my university years? Absolutely. Yet eliminating excuses and finding the time to work and the time to relax led me to a career path that I’m quite proud of, and looking back, I don’t ever remember feeling as if there weren’t enough hours in the day. There are. You just have to use them to your advantage.

Image by bottled_void, Flickr

Image by bottled_void, Flickr

Exams, essays, assignments – it may seem like the workload never ends. College can be a major source of stress for some people. They may attempt to rip their hair out or simply scream at the first breathing thing they see. It doesn’t have to be like this, though.

There are ways of eliminating or reducing stress. That doesn’t mean you won’t get stressed; it just means you’ll have better ways of dealing with it. These solutions may make you feel like you aren’t stressed for a little while or significantly cut down feelings of stress.

If that’s the case, how do you deal with stress?

  • Purchase a stress ball. Stress balls are very effective in eliminating stress. When you’re frustrated, just squeeze your stress ball. It should relax you.
  • Exercise. Find time to work out, if you can. When you work out, you release your frustration through exercise.
  • Take breaks. Taking breaks is not only a good way to stay focused, it is also a good way to relax for a few minutes. Watching YouTube videos, calling a friend or reading magazines all make for good break activities.
  • Manage your time wisely. Plan how you will spend your time. Then, make good use of your time. This will allow you to stay on track, not causing any added stress from being behind schedule. It may even prevent you from cramming at the last minute, a bad habit of many university students.
  • Keep a journal. It’s good to vent when feeling overwhelmed. This allows you to express your frustration, which may leave you feeling refreshed.

It’s very easy to be stressed while in university or college. In fact, you just may be stressed your whole post-secondary life. There are ways to de-stress, though, that could be a lifesaver for you. Never fear. You can eliminate stress in your daily life.