Strategies for Managing Academic Stress: Understanding Stress and its Triggers (pt. 1)

Are you stressed, overwhelmed, in the mood to throw it all away?

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You must be asking yourself– who puts an ad at the beginning of a post? 

The answer is me, Mariana, your crazy Brazilian friend! 🙈😝🇧🇷

I was joking like it was an advertisement on television; hopefully, I managed to make you chuckle at least a little during this stressful time in college. And just for the record, please don’t call that number– I don’t even know who it is!

Let’s get a bit more serious now…

I know all the work involved in getting a degree is stressful; I’ve been there, done that. Like the fake Stress-free pill, I wish I could alleviate all your stress and give you the energy needed for you to keep at it; however, I don’t hold that type of magic. What I did do was research how to manage academic stress; I collected a lot of content and wrote a four-post series, so stay tuned to not miss any! 

In this first post, we’ll be giving you a general overview of stress

Stress is a biological mechanism that helps people in uncertainty, challenges, or even dangerous situations. When a person is subjected to a stressful situation, a series of reactions occur, preparing the body to act quickly. Blood moves from organs to muscles, blood pressure increases, hormones and neurotransmitters are released, and breathing is accelerated. 

Although the word stress holds negative connotations, a little stress is a good thing. The body was designed to face situations of stress; it keeps us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. The problem is when stressful situations continue without a release or period of relaxation. In this case, physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral symptoms are developed, compromising people’s health and well-being.

Nowadays, the pace of life is so hectic that people have been in increased stress levels. To have an idea, about 45% of undergraduate and graduate students in the United States say they’re experiencing more than average stress, and another 13% say they’re under tremendous stress. In other words, more than half of college students are under harmful stress– very worrisome, indeed!

Are you one of these students? If yes, answer this question: What’s causing you so much stress? 

Many factors cause stress in students, including: 

  • expectations they place on themselves
  • expectations of others (family, friends, etc.)
  • physical environment (noise, movement, weather, season changes)
  • internal environment (homesickness, academic pressure, transitions, finances, relationships, decisions, social life)

Can you identify which factors cause you stress?

After identifying the cause, you might be wondering– how do I end this stress? The answer is anticlimactic, sorry to tell you; turns out life is stressful and not all “rainbows and butterflies”. But, knowing how to deal with everyday stressors and live a more balanced life is possible. 

And that’s exactly what the next posts will cover– tips for you to put into practice that’ll help you live a more balanced life with controlled stress.

So stay tuned for the next posts and I’ll see ya then! 🤗🧡

reminder: you can text/call IFI’s prayer line whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and/or need help. 1-800-372-1013

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