College can be a stressful time for anyone. Some stress pushes you to meet goals by studying more, working harder or sticking with a challenging task. But sometimes stress reaches an unhealthy level that can prevent you from functioning well and meeting your goals. Recent research from The Jed Foundation and mtvU found that over half of all college students had been, at times, so stressed that they couldn’t function during the last year. Your health, school performance and social life can all suffer when stress becomes too much to handle. That’s because stress can affect your mood and ability to think clearly. It can also weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Chronic stress can lead to — or worsen — serious health problems, including high blood pressure, autoimmune illnesses, digestive issues, depression and anxiety. So it’s important to manage stress, prevent negative stress levels and speak up if you are feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips for managing stress while in college:
• Watch out for signs of stress overload. Symptoms of too much stress can be physical, emotional, mental and behavioral. While everyone is different, some common signs are: memory problems, trouble concentrating, racing thoughts, irritability, anger, sadness, headaches, frequent colds and changes in sleep or appetite.
• Know your stress triggers. Stress and its triggers are different for everyone. Certain people, places or situations might produce high levels of stress for you. Think about what causes you stress, and brainstorm solutions. If public speaking or presentations make you stressed, start researching early and practice several times. If there are friends or social situations that cause extreme stress, you may want to avoid them when you are already feeling tense or overwhelmed.
• Exercise. All forms of exercise reduce stress hormones, flood the body with feel-good endorphins, improve mood, boost energy and provide a...