Posted by: Stephan Muller | October 25, 2010

Stress

Stress is caused when a situation overwhelms a person’s perceived ability to meet the demands of a situation, an emotion we have all experienced. Stressors are the cause, events that trigger a stress response. In the late 1960’s researchers had created an instrument in order to measure stress levels on a scale of 1-100. The top 5 in descending order were, death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail term, and death of a close family member. All these stressors are unexpected events that do not occur with any consistency. Every day hassles, however, are the stressors that are quite consistent in our lives. For college students these include getting homework done, living on a budget, dealing with roommates, etc. Research has shown that the famous “Freshmen 15” (when college students gain 15 pounds in their first year) is strongly related to stress. This theory, in my eyes, expresses a great amount of truth. The workload increases significantly compared to high school, and most find it quite overwhelming especially since parents and even teachers might not be there to guide us. We experience social stress, getting used to a knew environment, making new friends, and hoping we fit in. Other stressors also affect our college life; we tend to stay up late and become sleep deprived which causes are mood to change and our health to deteriorate. We might miss home, we have to choose a major, or a “direction in life”, we have to start doing our own laundry, etc. Even though college students experience most of these stressors, they do not seem to change their lifestyle in order to lessen or eliminate them.

There are several ways to reduce stress in every day life. The one that works best for me is exercise. Whether you choose to take a 10 minute walk or lift weights, exercise will help you focus your mind on something else. It has also been proven that exercising 3-4 times a week on average can extend life by 3-4 years. It reduces the chances of heart disease, stroke and cancer as well as it helps improve your memory.

Another stress relieving method that has been shown to be successful is meditation. Clearing your mind for a minimum of 10 minutes a day will bring great results. Meditating efficiently lowers your heart rate and your breathing slows down. Regular meditating also makes it easier to give up life damaging habits, those that some consider stress relieving, such as drugs and cigarettes.

There are psychological ways of coping with stress as well. Social support is most popular and arguably the most effective. This occurs when we seek out for help from our family and friends, and speak about our problems. Writing about a stressful experience, also called emotional disclosure, is another way of working yourself through the negative emotions you are experiencing. You could also use positive blame. Every day hassles are mostly caused because you got yourself into them. You must therefore recognize that you got yourself into the situation and must do everything you can to get yourself out of it.

There are ways to escape stress, but one must do so through the sensible methods mentioned previously. Some turn to harmful options such as cigarettes, alcohol, food or drugs.
– Cigarettes, firstly, contains nicotine which is a stimulant which increases blood pressure and heart rate. The reason why cigarettes are thought of as a relaxant is because it relaxes the skeletal muscles.
– Alcohol, a depressant, could cause liver damage, and an increase risk of liver cancer. Excessive drinking, which occurs often among university students could cause sleep deprivation, another stressor that college students have a problem with.
– Food is another way that people tend to deal with stress. Sugary foods, especially, are known to have a calming effect on the consumer. Stress increases eating, and eating reduces stress. However, excessive food, as we all know, leads to an increase of fat – a major problem in America. It increases the risk of cancer and heart disease, as well as negative emotional effects.
– Drugs have been a common college stress reliever as well. Marijuana being most popular. The hallucinogenic drug alters consciousness and creates a mood of euphoria. It is a harmful way to escape the stress you are facing.

Living a healthy life can help you get rid of stress. Exercise, meditate, eat healthy, and socialize, and maybe even get a massage. Physical and psychological wellbeing is the key to living is a non-stressful life.

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Responses

  1. Hi Steph,

    Loved again reading, all points taken into consideration and certainly proven to be right.
    Love that you did not forget the Massage.

    Jan


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