College is the start of a new chapter, a new beginning in an individual’s life. Most people have an idea on what college is like and how they can survive through the harsh academics. College students can understand, when I say, stress is going to be your new best friend in college; because the amount of stress increases as we get older and take on new responsibilities. In my personal experience so far, I’ve had to manage friends, family, two jobs and my academics; so I can say I have had a good amount of stress. Being a second year college student, it has made me realize what it takes to survive college but not only that, I have been taught how to deal with stress itself, through the use of coping techniques. The problem in today’s society, is that most college students who tend to go through more than they can handle, often commit suicide or just give up. There are coping mechanisms that can help deal with being stressed, some might be preferred over others but I have a few that have worked for me in the pass two years of college.
Surprisingly, some college students don’t even know what stress is or how it could effect them personally. Those college students, like many only use the word stress when they feel overwhelmed or not even happy. Stress is a natural feeling to receive when your body or mind is trying to adapt to certain situation or circumstance. Take the first year of college for example, the first year of college demands the need for every individual to be independent and take on more responsibilities; in order to meet this demand, our bodies have to stress to do what is demanded of us. There is a thin line between good stress and bad stress, good stress is used to survive and become better individuals, while bad stress only demoralizes us, in a result of poor actions/thoughts. Bad stress is a result from stressing too much. Stress is just like everything else in life, too much of it and it’ll kill you. Stressing too much can have a large impact on ones’ health and mental state; eventually leading to disorders such as PTSD, Acute stress disorder and even depression. My friend a few years back, stressed constantly about everything in her life even when it was not necessary for her to stress; homework when it was due a week in advanced, juggling a job while maintaining relationships with her close friends. She eventually became diagnosed with depression and it became worse over the years. Depending on the type of person you are, Pessimistic or Optimistic, there is always a way to overcome such stressful events and prevent any health problems. The difference between my friend and I, was the fact that I had a few coping mechanisms to help me deal with the stress I was already in, while she consumed all the stress day by day doing absolutely nothing about it.
Learning how to cope with stress is a vital skill to have, and a skill that is not taken into consideration for most college students. A lot of us already have something we already do, that is considered to be a coping mechanism, activities such as playing a sport, interacting with friends, and playing video games, etc. Although there can be a lot of techniques to name, there are a handful that are very important to remember and practice. The very first mechanism I’d like to mention is the use of a friend or someone very dear to the heart. This can be helpful through almost every situation, because it allows yourself to express the amount of stress within. This in the long run, not only builds a good relationship with him/her but relieves you of any past/present stresses. The second mechanism, is the use of a diet plan; eating the right foods and creating a healthier lifestyle. Many Americans face the issue of obesity, which most of the time leads straight to depression. The healthier the foods, the more likely it is for your body and mind to become healthy, preventing any sort of health stress. It is a very complicated, and hard coping mechanism very rewarding towards the end of the diet. The third mechanism I’d like to mention is, thinking positively; a skill that takes awhile to master if not positive already. Great Entrepreneurs and Religious figures all can say one thing about success and that is to think positively and let go of the negativity This coping technique is pretty common sense when it comes to a explanation, out of positivity comes absolutely nothing harmful for your health but in fact brings wonders to your life. The reason why this is brought up as one the important coping mechanisms for stress is because, a lot of people, not just college students overlook such a simple task. Yes, it is easier said than done, but it is achievable.
Last but not least, people can cope with stress by becoming active in their daily routine. By active, I mean exercise, getting out of the house and sweating. It is proven that when you exercise for more than 30 minutes a day your mind becomes healthy and you tend to stress less than before. In an article (“Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, 2010) “Those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.” These vigorous exercises can include, yoga, basketball, running, jogging, soccer, anything to make you sweat. There are a handful of coping mechanisms but there are only two that work 100% of the time and that every college student should follow if not already.
Although there might be a variety of coping mechanisms, only two have the best results for college students specifically. Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day, as well as implementing a healthy diet can serve as the two best techniques.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day, can help with almost anything especially stress. As a commuting college student, I can whole heartily say that going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday has been more of a therapeutic session for me; relieving me of all t he overwhelming responsibilities clouding my head. It also does not have to be something like going to the gym; it could be any outdoor activity that requires the individual to sweat. A list of activities includes, running, walking the dog, playing football, basketball, soccer, tennis; even something as simple as riding a bike down your street for a good 30 minutes. Now, lets look at exercising from a broader perspective. Say you were to implement, an exercise routine in your daily schedule, and follow it for about a good six months. Not only will you relieve yourself of daily stress, but you will become more in shape, more attractive, you’ll give yourself a good self esteem boost and prevent any large health risks. These risks actually have a large spectrum starting from Heart Disease, Diabetes, Asthma, Back pain, etc. Exercising is not the only way to stay healthy and relieve yourself of stress. To give a good idea about physical exercise “Studies show that doing more than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate physical activity or an hour of vigorous activity every week will reduce your risk of coronary heart heart disease by about 30%.” (“Physical Inactivity.” 2015)
Going on a Diet from Junk food and all the other foods that impact your health in a negative way can be a coping mechanism to stress itself. First, you have to realize that Glucocorticoids, a group of hormones, increase our cravings for sugary foods and are activated when faced with extreme stress. (Dallman,2003). Many of college students ask why eating is such a common thing when attacked by extreme stress. It is because too much stress activates a group of hormones that make you eat terrible food! To combat that, here are some three good foods to eat; Oranges, Sweet potatoes, and Dried Apricots. This coping tool may be a little hard to achieve due to the the amount of money we have as college students, so we can’t be as picky as we want to be. Fortunately, there is a way we can get around this problem without having to spend so much money to be on a diet. If you’re still asking what the point is of going on a diet, lets look at it from a different perspective. Have you ever heard of long term goals? What would be the results of being on a healthy diet for such a long time; healthier body and mind, loss of fat, increase in self confidence, increase in energy. As a college student all these are a must to get through college and beyond.
Some people might argue and say that thinking positively or staying inside to play video games are one of the best ways to cope with stress. Thinking Positively, is a somewhat of a habit and usually not everyone has the ability to do such a thing. When I say think positively, I do not mean just in one situation but in all situations no matter what the circumstance. Easier said than done, like most things. Some people may have already experienced some sort of depression or is already a pessimistic thinker. In situations like these, action is required to change a life or the habit of on individual. On the other hand, video games can occupy one’s mind and from personal experience, I can say that video games sometimes can ease the mind but does it really have any positive benefits. That is for another debate, but if you were to compare the health benefits between staying inside for hours on end playing video games to exercising or staying on diet. Video games would have no benefits to one’s well being compared to becoming fit, and having a very health body. There was a study that stated “ Sedentary entertainment leads to an increased snacking behavior and the consumed snacks are usually high in caloric and carbohydrate values.” (Zain A Sobani1, Ali Pervaiz1, MohsinYakub2, Ali Khawaja1, Rehmatullah Khan1, 2011). The reason why this study is so important is because video games is considered a Sedentary activity. Therefore, making it prone to more negative health effects and less effective in the long run. Obesity and addiction to video games are serious issues in the video game world. Overall making the two techniques of exercising and implementing a diet plan the best coping mechanisms for college students.
As a college student, there is no need to take hold in all the academic, financial and social stress. Don’t be a victim to extreme amounts of stress, do something about it. Tomorrow get out for at least 30 minutes, take in some nice air and get your heart pumping. If you feel like just being lazy tomorrow, sit down with a notebook and come up with your first diet plan of healthy yet energizing foods such as oranges; dried apricots. Take control of your life now, and make it a positive experience.