Why is it important to manage stress effectively?
Stress can affect you in many ways. Stress has been linked to many physical health problems including: fatigue, headaches, stomachaches, muscle stiffness, heart palpitations, chest pains, and/or illness. When you are experiencing stress, you are more likely to have difficulty with concentration, memory problems, and problem-solving difficulties. Stress can also affect you behaviorally. It is common to experience increased or decreased eating and sleeping, crying, pacing, fidgeting, drinking, yelling, nervous habits such as nail biting, and even violent behavior when under stress. Finally, stress can affect you emotionally, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, worry, fear, and irritability.
Techniques for handling stress effectively
- Practice good nutrition
- Get regular exercise
– Aerobic such as jogging, running or swimming
– Strength training such as using weights (light weights can be used)
– Stretching and flexibility such as yoga
- Be sure to get enough sleep! One of the functions of sleep is to give the body a rest from all the stressors of daily life.
- Take time out for yourself each day to do something you enjoy.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques. A mental health professional can assist you in effectively using relaxation techniques. They include the following:
– Body awareness- where do you tend to experience the tension in your body?
– Breathing exercises
– Progressive muscle relaxation
- Manage your time effectively. You can start by doing the following:
– Clarify your values- what is most important to you?
– Evaluate how you spend your time- where are you using and misusing your time?
– Set goals effectively- be sure to establish manageable short term and long term goals.
– Be organized! Make a to do list.
– Don’t procrastinate!
- Challenge your thinking! Our thoughts often lead to increased stress. By looking at the way we think about things, we can reduce the amount of stress we experience. Working with a professional Counselor is particularly important in working toward this goal. Counselors can help you practice effective techniques such as thought stopping and refuting negative or irrational thoughts.
- Be assertive to get your needs met.
- If the stress becomes unmanageable, it may warrant changing the situation. For example, changing jobs or ending a relationship is sometimes the best option. Talking with a Counselor can be particularly helpful as you explore your options and decide what is best for you.
If you would like additional information on stress management, you can attend one of our scheduled workshops or make an appointment with a Counselor. You can discuss your concerns confidentially with a professional who is trained to assist students with handling stress effectively. Referrals to outside agencies are also available.