Monday, September 2, 2013

Stress Management: Handling Stress

Submitted by Rio Salado College Counselor Ethel Tease

Stress can be managed to live a healthier and more productive lives. Stress is a state that everyone will encounter during the course of a lifetime. Stress occurs when a person believes that the requirements necessary to do something — such as excelling in school, building relationships, or work expectations go beyond the ability to manage.

Experiencing a little stress can be good. It helps to keep focus, energy, and motivation to get through situations perceived to be overwhelming. However, too much stress can cause students to become immobile.

When students feel overwhelmed and stressed there is a tendency to do nothing or choose unhealthy coping strategies such as food, alcohol or drugs. These coping strategies can magnify and lead to other serious problems.

There are many ways to control stress; however, because everyone is unique, the key to handling stressors is to identify strategies that work for each individual. Trying out various strategies, will help students become aware of what works for them and what is the most effective method to control the stress they are experiencing.

Here are some tips that will help students to cope more effectively:

  • Choose to be positive. What we tell ourselves has a great deal to do we how we react to a situation.
  • Become aware and accept that we cannot control every event in our life.
  • Be assertive. Act assertive by expressing feelings and beliefs rather than showing aggressive behaviors such as anger, defensiveness, and/or passivity).
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, etc.).
  • Exercise because it helps the body to fight stress.
  • Be sure to incorporate a healthy, well-balanced eating regiment in your life.
  • Learn to say no to requests that create more stress in your life.
  • Make time for yourself. Take a break from the stressor. Give yourself permission to take a mental vacation from the situation. It will give you a new perspective.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. It will help the body to recover from stressful events.
  • Smile and laugh. It can help to relieve the tension.
  • Identify social support. Talking to someone that you trust and who understands can help to relieve the tension. 

Finally, Rio Salado offers several tools that can help students to cope with the stress in their lives. Take the online Stress Management Workshop to learn more about how to handle stress and contact the Counseling Department  to meet with a professional who is trained to help with stressful circumstances.