In light of the country's economic downturn, few topics are as prevalent as stress. In the course of the last year, many families have suffered the loss of their income, and many more have even lost their homes.
The reality of a recession always illustrates the problem of stress. But for the nation's students, stress is a reality that, unlike economic woes, is more permanent than it is temporary. Handling stress is a large part of being successful in the classroom, particularly as students advance through high school and into higher education. But handling stress is different for everyone, and there are myriad healthy ways in which students can cope with stress.
* Combine regular exercise with a healthy diet. Studies abound as to the mental benefits of exercise. Exercise not only improves a person's physical health, but also has a positive impact on mood, oftentimes making it easier to cope with stress. Part of that is because exercise relieves muscle tension, which can build up greatly in individuals suffering from significant stress. In addition, the negative effects of stress can be weight gain and other damaging physical effects, making exercise especially important for those under constant stress.
While a healthy diet can be difficult for the nation's college students, that doesn't mean it isn't important. Recognizing that, many of the nation's universities have increased their efforts to provide students with healthier fare at dining halls or other campus eateries. Students should take advantage of this whenever and wherever possible. Eating well can also help reduce stress, as a balanced diet will provide both the energy and nutrients necessary to handle a full load.
* Learn to take a breather. Adults often take breaks when going through the daily grind, and students should make note and follow suit. Studying for too long without taking a break can be counterproductive, as concentration will begin to wane after too long, making it increasingly difficult to soak in studies. Schedule breaks into each study sesssion, whether it's to go for a walk, jog or simply fit in a healthy meal. But don't allow break time to become too big a distraction.
* Determine the root cause of the stress. Work is typically the root cause of adult stress, and school is often the cause for students. Many students stretch themselves too thin, hoping to gain as much as they can from their high school or college experience and therefore filling their schedules. But students who feel as though they're being pulled in too many directions should drop an activity or two. For instance, playing a varsity sport while holding down a part-time job and having a full courseload is simply doing too much. If a class is getting to be too much to handle, students should consult a teacher and explain the situation.
* Don't be afraid to speak about stress. Many students find it healthy and rejuvenating to simply speak about their levels of stress. This helps to get things off their chest, and it also inadvertently gives them time away from studies. Be it sharing experiences with stress among fellow students or simply talking to Mom and Dad, students should speak about stress in an effort to combat its ill effects.