By Colten Cashmore, UWO Health Advocate
Stress is defined as how the body and brain respond to demands or threats. We feel overwhelming stress when the perceived demand or threat feels outside of our control or outside of our capability to handle. However, we have a lot more control of that stress than we might think. Stress management is about helping ourselves to balance our lifestyles, thoughts, emotions, and the way we deal with problems. So what can you do help yourself stress less?
- The first important thing to do when dealing with stress is identifying what is causing your stress.
- Once you successfully identify your stressor you then have to replace your unhealthy actions with those that are beneficial. Healthy behaviors can be as simple as taking a walk, or a short study break.
- It’s helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept. The four A’s can help your turn your stressful situation into a manageable one.
- Creating a balanced schedule is important when managing these stress situations. All night studying and no breaks is a recipe for disaster.
- Try to find a balance between studying and social activities and daily responsibilities and downtime. If you can’t change the stressor, try to change the way you respond to it. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations.
- Look at the big picture. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run? Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
- Accept the things you can’t change. Some stress is just unavoidable. It’s okay to accept that things may be difficult at times.
- Look for the upside. When facing challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.