Facing Student Stress: Try these 10 techniques for stress relief
Dealing with tight deadlines, volunteering on the weekends, feeling pressured to pick up additional skills, and even in our free time, worrying about how to get an internship for the next summer holiday. Does this sound relatable to you?
Having some stress is good as it heightens our awareness and helps us deal with our challenges more efficiently. However, when we are in a prolonged heightened state due to our neverending stressors, we end up feeling burned out and counterproductive.
To avoid falling into academic burnout, here are 10 ways students can relieve their stress!
The benefits of exercise are not limited to having a fit body, it can help you relieve stress too! It is one of my favourite methods of stress relief because after returning from a good run, I always feel oddly happy, less stressed, and more focused when I’m studying.
Exercise stimulates your brain to release endorphins, which trigger positive emotions and optimism, allowing you to view your stressors more positively. It is also a good excuse to temporarily forget your academic stressors, allowing your mind to rest and gain clarity!
Sleeping is a very effective way to relieve stress but arguably one of the most overlooked among students. If you have a hard time sleeping, check some tips on how to sleep better!
Sleep is a time for your brain and body to recharge, and students who deprive themselves of this restorative process experience poorer mental health and impaired cognitive functions. As a result, learning and concentrating become harder, increasing one’s susceptibility to academic burnouts.
Ultimately, you are choosing between longer study hours or shorter but more productive study hours. Furthermore, sleeping an extra 60 – 90 minutes per night can make you a happier and healthier individual!
When you feel overwhelmed from academic stress, try practising positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is the process of modifying your internal dialogues from destructive and self-defeating thoughts to positive ones.
By believing that you can be positive about your outlook and overcome your challenges, you are reframing the way you view your stressors, to something less stressful. As Widad Akrawi says, “if you are positive, you will see opportunities instead of obstacles”.
Some examples of positive self-talk:
Oftentimes, students feel overwhelmed thinking about every single deadline they have and start stressing over how they don’t have enough time to complete them.
Instead of worrying about everything from next week’s presentation to your “where you see yourself in 10 years” goal, break down your to-do list into short-term, small and achievable goals.
As you complete and cross out each small goal, you will gain more control over your tasks, become more confident in conquering them, and ultimately, feel less stressed!
Hugs stimulate the release of feel-good hormones in us that relieves stress and improve our mood.
The stress-relieving hormones involved include serotonin, an antidepressant hormone that can lift our moods, and oxytocin, which lowers blood pressure and helps us feel comforted.
So the next time you feel that study stress, grab a friend nearby and give them a big hug!
One simple and fun way students can relieve stress is by laughing. Besides relieving academic stress, it is good at alleviating anxiety and depression, improving students’ overall mental health.
Laughing reduces stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and increases happy hormones like endorphins. So when you feel overwhelmed by schoolwork, take a break and watch a funny video before returning to your studies to prevent burnout!
According to the Wim Hof Method, cold showers build your resilience to stress, helping you recover from stressful situations quicker.
Another benefit is increased alertness which helps students focus better when studying.
Deep breathing is a convenient and quick technique for stress relief.
Our bodies respond to stress by increasing our heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and adrenaline levels. When we take slow and deep breaths, a message is sent to our brain to calm down and relax, helping us recover from our stress response.
If stress and anxiety get overwhelming before a class presentation, it’d be funny to step out of class for a cold shower, but deep breathing can be done anywhere and anytime!
Expressive writing involves penning down thoughts and feelings surrounding a past traumatic experience or a stressful situation you are about to face. Research has found that it can help students cope with academic stress better, and even see improvements in school performance.
Firstly, expressive writing allows students to clarify their innermost feelings, organize their thoughts and find meaning for the negative event they experienced. By releasing their pent up emotions, students would become less reactive to stress.
Secondly, it helps us cultivate better stress coping behaviours. Studies found that helping individuals organize their thoughts and understand their own emotions, it made it easier for them to open up about the stressful event and receive social support from others.
To practice this method effectively, read suggestions by an expert.
Social support can come in material and emotional forms, and are effective in minimizing the effects of stress and improving one’s mental health.
In cases where you don’t feel comfortable sharing certain concerns with your social network, professional counsellors are another option to gain social support. Fees should not be a deterring factor as there are counselling services for students that can be engaged at free and affordable rates too!
If you are considering visiting a school counsellor, you can read about the misconceptions and what to expect when you go for school counselling.
Having access to the right resources can make your demanding school curriculum less stressful. If you have not already, join StudyRamen’s Telegram community for specially curated content for students!
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For Junior College students, here are 10 additional ways to cope with stress and survive JC according to a JC graduate!
Let’s get stress out of our way and ace the school semester!