Tips for Dealing With Stress

Kenny McDowell recently graduated from Brown University where he studied history and economics as a QuestBridge Scholar. Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Kenny has a passion for helping others by providing well researched and informative advice about an array of issues. When Kenny is not actively looking for management consulting positions, you can find him playing basketball, reading about politics and futurology, or discovering new ways to become a renaissance man.

For those of you new to college, you may find yourself with even greater work and responsibilities than you had in high school. This may lead to even greater levels of stress. You may even find that extracurricular activities, which were meant to distract you from academic endeavors, may actually increase stress levels. When I started my first semester, I found my stress levels had nearly doubled. However, by the end of my senior year I had mastered how to deal with stress and significantly decreased levels of stress to levels well below what I had in high school. I credit my success to the flowing tips that I discovered through experience.

Exercise
I cannot stress the multiple benefits to adhering to an exercise regimen. Exercise will help your body release stress derived from the mental pressures of college. I recommend exercising at least three times a week. This could be anything from running, walking, skate boarding, dancing, yoga, or playing sports. I personally was actively involved in intramural sports at my college. This was a great way to meet new people, release stress, and have a good time playing a sport you enjoy. I will note for the highly competitive: do no take the outcome of the games so seriously.

Schedule Your Time
Scheduling and planning out you entire week will help you feel less stressed because it will give you a sense of control. I would invest in an agenda planner. I highly recommend using an online calendar. Gmail has a calendar application I lived by. This application was particularly nice because it would transfer the information in its calendar to the calendar application on my cell phone. This enabled me to see the information on my Gmail calendar on my phone. Also when scheduling your time slots for homework and exam preparation, give yourself extra time. College students often underestimate how long tasks will take them to do.

Maintain a Healthy Mindset
Be positive that you can accomplish the tasks ahead. This positive mindset will help put you in the right mental state to reduce stress.

Meditate and Stretch
I recommend spending a few minutes each days meditating. Search the web to find short mediation techniques. In college I would meditate for ten minutes while stretching my body. Stretching, which I think people do not do enough of, contributed greatly to reducing tension in my body and promoting inner calmness. Stretching and meditation in conjunction contributed to me feeling more relaxed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Use Your Campus Resources
If you feel overwhelmed, do not be afraid to ask for help. Your campus should have resources available to provide guidance about coping with stress via seminars or talks/lectures. I suggest seeking the counsel of academic deans who should be able to provide solid advice on dealing with stress. The office of residential life should also able to provide resources to help you deal with stress. You can even visit your professor’s office hours and ask them for their advice. They were in college once and can most likely suggest techniques for dealing with stress.

Devote Time for Fun
Make sure to devote time for relaxing and fun pursuits. Do not neglect your favorite activities. You should be socializing and dating if you so desire. This is college. This may the best opportunity you have in life to meet smart, interesting people from diverse backgrounds. Just make sure to schedule this time.

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