Coping with stress

Coping with stress

Coping with stress

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. Whether we’re overwhelmed by academic demands, job responsibilities, financial concerns or struggles with loved ones, our bodies respond in predictable ways. Physical symptoms include headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, low sex drive, heart palpitations, trembling, sweating, fatigue, and appetite changes. Emotional symptoms include irritability, fearfulness, social withdrawal, crying easily, impaired concentration, and forgetfulness.

While stress can’t be fully eliminated from our lives, it can be minimized. Here are some strategies for reducing your stress level:

  1. Prioritize
    Figure out which tasks need to be done today, which can be accomplished later in the week, and which are not necessary to do until later in the month. Break complex tasks down into more manageable parts and do what needs to be done first.
  2. Anticipate
    Prepare for impending stressful situations. Practice for upcoming events that are likely to be challenging, such as exams, oral presentations and difficult conversations. In addition, learn to expect the unexpected;allow some extra room in your schedule to absorb unanticipated demands like computer problems, sick children, and car trouble.
  3. Shift your attitude
    Pessimistic attitudes about yourself and the world around you interfere with your ability to cope. Examine whether your negative thoughts are based on fear or fact. Take note of what you have to be grateful for and look for the learning opportunities inherent in each challenge. Focus on the things you have the power to change rather than on those which are beyond your control.
  4. Relax
    It’s impossible to be stressed and relaxed at the same time. Participating in activities that calm you provides a respite from stress symptoms. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, and guided visualization techniques are great ways to achieve tranquility. Setting aside time each day for relaxation rejuvenates us and inoculates us against stress.
  5. Live healthfully
    Like cars, bodies handle stress better when they are well-fueled, tuned-up and don’t sit idle for too long. Eating balanced, nutritious meals at regular intervals, getting enough sleep to feel refreshed upon wakening, avoiding self-medication through alcohol and other drugs, and getting regular aerobic exercise are all important buffers against stress.

Need more assistance with managing stress? The staff at the NJCU Counseling Center offers free and confidential counseling for registered students. Call 201-200-3165 or stop by GSUB 308 to make an appointment.

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