Stress seizes students' senses
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 08:10
Research from the American Psychological Institution shows Americans are more aware of stressors and the negative effects of stress, but have not been successful in reducing it or controlling it.
A-State Student Health Center advanced practice nurse Victoria Williams said, “A lot of times we have a ‘try to do it all mentality’ that can lead to increased anxiety.”
In a 2012 study completed by the American College Health Association, more than 50 percent of college students reported an above-average stress level. Feeling stressed should not be a permanent state of being, however. Williams said students with high stress levels should learn to set boundaries for themselves and to prioritize.
Not all of the effects of stress are psychological and emotional. Williams said there are physical implications as well.
“Sleep, memory, focus and concentration can be affected,” she said. Tension headaches can occur and arthritis may worsen under stress. Williams also said skin conditions like hives, eczema and psoriasis can be triggered by stress.
“Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health problems students confront,” according to an article at www.bussinessweek.com.
“Only back pain, sinuses, and allergies are more prevalent among college students,” John MacPhee, executive director of the Jed Foundation, said in the article. He added the second leading cause of death in college students is suicide, which can be brought on by depression or anxiety.
Audra Fowler, a sophomore radiation therapy major of Violet Hill, said she feels most stressed during midterms.
“If you have a grade you aren’t satisfied with at midterm, you often have to work extra hard to change it before the semester ends,” Fowler said.
Fowler has, however, developed several effective methods of relieving stress. “I go to the gym, and I also keep a journal. That helps a lot,” she said.
Fowler also visits the counseling center when she is feeling stressed. “It makes a big difference,” she said.
Emily Stallings, a junior sonography major of Paragould, said moving off-campus has contribute to her stress this year.
“Living on campus made everything so much easier,” she said. “I usually try to keep myself busy to keep from having to go home any earlier than I have to, which leads to a more stressful schedule.”
Adam Burnette, student life counselor of the A-State Counseling Center, said the leading cause of any stress is day-to-day life.
“At any given time students may have problems at home, feel blue or just feel the anxiety that comes with taking classes.”
The counseling center does notice an increase in stressed students around midterms.
A student feeling stressed might need to simply take a break and relax, Burnette said. When it comes to eliminating stress entirely, there is no cure-all. He said maintaining a good diet and getting plenty of sleep helps, as does making time for calming exercises like yoga.
“Do not lose yourself to the anxiety. It is about maintaining a balance. Your body needs to be taken care of and your relationships need to be taken care of,” he said
For any students worried about their stress levels, help can be found on campus. A stress test can be performed at the student health center. There are also people to talk to and resources for coping with stress available at the counseling center. A one-hour elective course on successful stress management is also offered at A-State.
Burnette said building resilience is the best way to make it through college.
“College is difficult, but perfectly doable. Hang in there and know that you’ll survive,” he said.