“Stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.”
Photo by stuartpilbrow
What is Stress?
Stress is any event which disturbs our physical or psychological equilibrium and requires some adjustment to bring back that equilibrium.
Stress may be Biological, Psychological or Sociological and may result either from Internal or External obstacles, failures, restrains, injuries and illnesses etc.
Physiological responses include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Dry mouth
Cognitive and Emotional responses include:
- Negative self talk
- Inability to concentrate
What causes stress?
- Academic pressure
- Perception of lack of time to meet demands
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Social pressures
- Financial pressures
- Psychosocial issues
Self Imposed Stressors
- Late night awakening
Stress manifests it self in the form of Stress Syndrome
1. Alarm Reaction
2. Resistance Stage
3. Exhaustion Stage
Hazards of Stress
1.Stress can cause psychosomatic disorders.
2.Stress can lead to accidents.
3. Narrowing of attention.
4. Lowering of performance.
5. Irrational behaviours.
How to avoid Mental Stresses?
- They cannot be avoided but
- We have to learn to cope with them.
- Lead a balanced life, don’t overdo studies or recreation.
- Understand and accept personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Take frequent breaks during study periods.
- Expand your social support network.
- Exercise regularly.
- Learn and practice relaxation skills.
- Practice meditation and prayers.
a. Anticipatory Planning
- Set realistic long and short term goals.
- Management of time.
- Break up large tasks into smaller chunks.
- Take breaks!
- Give yourself rewards!!!
b. Time Management
- Monitor yourself.
- Schedule your tasks and try to finish it in specified time.
- OVERESTIMATE the time needed for each task!
- Get down and just do it!
c. Anxiety Reduction
- Take charge of your situation.
- Get good sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Relaxation techniques.
- Talk freely to your friends.
- Discuss your feelings and problems with your friend, colleague or family members.
- Get consultation if you need help.
d. Attitude Check!
Attitude affects how successful you are at completing your goals and how you feel!
- Are you willing to learn?
- Do you try your best when studying?
- Do you demonstrate enthusiasm?
- Do you welcome challenges?
- Do you have a sense of humor?
e. Promoting Positive Self Talk
1.Notice your patterns: The first step toward change is to become more aware of the problem. You may not realize how often you say negative things in your head, or how much it affects you.
2.Journal Writing: Keeping a journal can be an effective tool for examining your inner process.
3.Thought-Stopping: As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, try to alter your thought mid-stream my saying to yourself “Stop”.
f. Positive Thinking
- Don’t deny your anxiety.
- Review your accomplishments.
- Remember you have overcome hurdles before as well.
- Don’t get caught up in negative thinking.
- Positive imagery.
- Focus on small achievable goals.
- Congratulate yourself for small steps.
- Nobody’s perfect, you’re doing just fine!
7 Steps to a New Attitude
- Be confident.
- Be positive.
- Be punctual.
- Be patient.
- Believe in yourself.
- Set goals for yourself.
- Get fun out of life.
g. Relaxation Training
Deep Breathing Exercises
1.Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair.
2.Your body should be as relaxed as possible.
3.Close your eyes and scan your body for tension.
4.Pay attention to your breathing.
5.Place one hand on the part of your chest or abdomen that seems to raise and fall with each breath.
6. Breathe through your nose.
7. Notice if your chest is moving in harmony with you abdomen.
8. Now place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.
9. Inhale deeply and slowly through your mouth.
10. Relax as you focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.
Managing Exam Anxiety
1.Stay on a regular schedule of reviewing, eating, sleeping and relaxing.
2.Try to start this pattern several days if not weeks before the exam.
3.Don’t try to study 24 hours per day.
4.Don’t force yourself to study beyond your normal limits of concentration.
5.Short, regular study periods are more productive than lengthy single sessions.
6.Eat a well balanced diet.
7.Drink lots of fluids.
8.Don’t use drugs or alcohol.
9.Be reasonable and conservative about the demands you place on yourself.
How to improve sleep?
- Know and get the sleep your body needs (sleep without an alarm to determine your body’s needs).
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Wake up early.
- Relax and unwind the last hour before going to bed.
- Deal with worries before going to bed by reviewing concerns and considering possible solutions.