Stress Management 101: The Basics What is Stress?

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Stress Management 101:

  • The Basics

What is Stress?

  • Stressor(s) – EXTERNAL environmental circumstances
  • Stress Response – Your INTERNAL emotional/behavioral/physiological reaction to environmental circumstances

Stress is an unavoidable part of life

  • You cannot escape it completely, but you can learn ways of coping that can decrease it.

Stress is the way your mind and body react to a situation that is new, threatening, frightening or exciting

Stress prepares you to act (fight or flight)

  • The way you handle stress determines whether it is helpful or harmful
  • Burst of energy, adrenaline
    • Increased blood pressure, pulse, and respiration
    • Digestive problems
    • Agitation/Restlessness
    • Increased muscle tension
  • Harnessing the energy

Harmful Stress

  • Chronic, unrelieved stress
    • Headaches
    • Poor concentration
    • Changes in appetite
    • Fatigue
    • Insomnia
    • Other physical problems
  • Anxiety, depression, or other emotional problems
    • Irritability
    • Withdrawal

The Stress of College Life

  • Adjusting to increased freedom (responsibility)
  • Workload is heavier
  • Competition is tougher
  • Adjusting to strangers (e.g., roommates)
  • Lost in a crowd
  • Loneliness
  • Finding the right BALANCE (social and academic)

Two Basic Approaches to Help Relieve Stress

  • Address life circumstances to eliminate stressors
  • Address individual patterns of your emotional/behavioral and physical responses to stress
    • Relaxation Techniques
    • Counseling

Stress: Academic Preparation and Study Skills

  • Time Management – take a seminar
  • Choose quiet place to study
  • Take breaks
  • Recognize Strengths and Limitations
  • ACCEPT Limitations
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Relaxation – take a seminar

Stress: Academic Preparation and Study Skills

  • Attend class
  • Avoid cramming
  • Seek help – professors, tutors, classmates, etc.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol use
  • Avoid drugs
  • Plan, don’t panic (good time management)
    • Make a schedule
    • Include specific study time

Test Anxiety

  • It’s NORMAL – in moderation
  • Be prepared
  • Use relaxation techniques
  • Develop good studying and test-taking skills – attend a seminar
  • Encourage yourself – positive self-talk
  • Distinguish between RATIONAL and IRRATIONAL anxiety

Test-Taking Skills

  • Deep breathing
  • Read directions carefully
  • Survey the test – what sections count more?
  • Budget your time
  • Essay questions: make a quick outline
  • One question at a time
  • Mark tough items – then move on and return later
  • Maintain concentration and focus
  • Reward yourself

Relaxation Techniques

  • Deep Breathing
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • The “Relaxation Response”
  • Visual Imagery
  • Meditation, Yoga, Massage, etc.

Where to Turn For Help?

  • The Rivier College Counseling Center provides support and education in stress reduction, time mgt. and test anxiety. Call us at ext. 8251 to schedule a time to come by.

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