Everyone gets stressed – you are not alone!
Everyone experiences stress. Stress is our body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that causes us to feel frustrated, angry, excited or anxious. Routine activities (deadlines and exams) or challenging life events (relationship break-up) that result in these feelings are often referred to as stressors.
Positive vs Negative Stress
From a positive perspective, stress can be a strong motivator that impacts performance on all levels. In this situation stress is manageable and potentially helpful.
From a negative perspective stress can have a significant impact on every aspect of life.
Academic stress can encourage avoidance of starting and completing tasks.
Social stress can result in avoidance and withdrawal from positive social supports.
Physiological stress can impact concentration and result in a number of negative physical sensations (trembling, sweats, nausea) produce headaches, sleep disturbance and can decrease energy and change appetite.
Emotional stress can cause one to feel overwhelmed, irritable and worthless. If not dealt with properly it can cause helplessness, hopelessness, depression and anxiety and may lead individuals to self-medicate using drugs and alcohol.
Prolonged stress can increase susceptibility to disease by lowering the effectiveness of the immune system.
Self-care plays a significant role in the prevention and management of stress. When self-care strategies are used, it increases a person’s resilience when stressful situations occur. Self-care is especially important in the university setting as there are many opportunities for students to learn and incorporate positive coping strategies to maintain positive well-being.