#DolphinsLiveWell: What is YOUR relationship with Stress?

I’m sure you have all heard the saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well, never has that been more appropriate than now as we head into fall break.  The reason is that right behind fall break lurks midterms!!


How are you planning on spending your long weekend?  Resting? Relaxing? Maybe you are planning on visiting friends and family.  It might be worthwhile to stop and assess where you are at academically. Are you caught up or are you playing catch-up?  Do you need to finish up assignments from a week ago or are you ready to tackle a future paper or project so that you are ahead of the game when you get back to class?  Of course, along with all this talk of homework, comes the inevitable stress that goes along with it! We usually think of stress as a negative state where one feels at the very least “uncomfortable”and no one likes to feel uncomfortable!   The best way to minimize stress in this area is to do the work. Avoiding your academic responsibilities has never been a great way to get rid of stress and will make you feel more uncomfortable in the long run!


Experiencing and managing stress makes us resilient. It helps us bounce back quicker from adversity, and as long as we employ strategies to keep the stress minimal, stress is a positive factor that is necessary in order to promote growth in our lives. Therefore, the goal isn’t to totally eliminate any stress from our lives but to be able to manage the stress that we do have by engaging in activities that will help us to do this.  


College students, especially at this point in the semester, tend to believe they don’t have enough time to participate in “stress-management” activities, and this could be true! Between classes, homework, projects, papers, exams to study for, jobs, and athletic commitments, there might not be large chunks of the day to devote to long periods of exercise, binging on Netflix, or getting lost in social media. There are, however, times throughout the day where you can create a “time-out” by generating a conscious separation between stressful events, allowing you periods of relaxation in order to re-energize.


Engage in activities that make you smile and laugh, because they will create extra serotonin, which will decrease some of the stress that is in your system. Humor, a quick lunch with friends, or a walk around campus on a sunny fall day—even a quick conversation with a favorite administrator, faculty, or staff, or a phone call home are all quick ways to keep your serotonin levels up and stress levels down.  

So, over this long weekend, practice balancing your work and play as this will not only lead to less stress, but you will be better able to manage the stress you do experience!