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College Students and Stress
Stress is no joke, and college is a time when many people feel stressed.
Left untreated, chronic stress can ruin a person’s body and mind.
At the very least, being stressed all the time is not conducive to being a good student.
This Q&A looks at 7 things you should know about college students and stress.
Not Here To Read; Just Give Me The Resources
- Thursday Q&A for College Student- Archive
- Money Saver- College Savings Newsletter– Save $99/week on food, textbooks, gas, etc.
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- Book- 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind, Change Your Life
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- Article- What are the common causes of stress in college students?
- Article- 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress
- Article- Best Healthy Meal Prep for College Students (2 Hours or Less)
- Resource- DayOne Journaling app
- Resource- Box breathing- YouTube tutorial
College Students and Stress:
7 Things You Should Know
#1. Stress in college is more common than you might think.
These numbers from the American Psychological Association about stress on campus may surprise you.
- 30% of college students seek counseling for stress-related issues
- 61% of those students also report experiencing anxiety.
- 49% for depression
- 31% for family issues
- 28% for academic issues
- 27% for relationship problems
So if you’ve come across this article thinking you might be the only one experiencing stress, that’s hardly the case.
Look to your left, look to your right, and, at least statistically speaking, one of you is dealing with stress.
#2. The causes of stress are usually the same.
One study found that 6 things tended to link college students and stress. They are:
- Maintaining academic success
- Dealing with homesickness
- Building new friendships
- Balancing social life
- Handling roommate drama
- Managing financial burden
And in all likelihood, more than one of these things is leading you to feel this way.
#3. Stress looks differently for everyone.
When it comes to stress, symptoms vary.
Headaches, muscle aches, trouble learning, chest pain, decreased appetite, weight gain, and reduced work efficiency are some examples of how far the symptoms span.
Here is a list of 50 common signs and symptoms of stress.
Keep in mind that individual coping methods vary greatly, too. Sometimes, it’s best to simply be compassionate towards people when you can’t understand their behavior.
#4. When it comes to stress, gender doesn’t matter.
Think getting stressed out is just for one type of person? Only women, perhaps?
Think again. While women are more likely to experience stress than men (or at least report it), 20% of adult men suffer from stress-related symptoms.
People are a product of their environment. As great as the college experience can be, it can just as easily become a breeding ground for stress and anxiety, regardless of gender.
#5. Simple habits can help eliminate stress.
If you’re feeling the stress of college, take a look at how you’re spending your days.
A few simple habits added to your morning routine or mindful acts sprinkled in throughout the day can go a long way.
The king of stress relief- in my opinion- is having a daily meditation practice.
This book started me on my path to making meditation a part of my routine. I recommend it to anyone that doesn’t think of themselves as a “good” meditator.
5 other habits you may consider:
- Eating healthier food
- Sleeping more
- Exercising daily
- Journaling (I use the DayOne app)
- Box breathing
#6. The easiest way to beat stress and anxiety? Break your pattern.
Ask yourself what the #1 thing is that’s causing your stress. It might be a class, a person, or a situation.
If you’ve been stressed for a while, there’s a high probability that you can come up with a “pattern” of behavior that’s resulting to how you feel.
For example, maybe a difficult professor assigns extra work over the weekend, a time when you normally work or look forward to socializing.
The stress you feel comes from thinking you’ll have no time or that the weekend is ruined.
All of these are valid concerns worthy of your attention. But choosing to feel stressed about it is not the best option.
Yes, choosing. You have a choice.
Instead of choosing to feel stressed, choose to break the pattern by focusing on problem-solving instead.
“Even though it’s not an ideal situation, what is a possible solution here? How can I change this pattern”
Chances are, you can alter the situation slightly to get yourself out of a negative pattern.
Obviously, you can’t just quit taking a college class to eliminate stress. That would be an example of unrealistic solution.
But one thing you can almost always do is set new boundaries.
Set boundaries around when you will study for a class, when (or if) you’ll socialize with certain people, which shifts you’re able to pick up at work, and how much you’ll let roommate drama affect you.
6.1 Another “break” that beats stress- change your scenery.
Breaking your pattern can also mean changing your environment.
Maybe a change of scenery will give you a new perspective.
Work at a coffee shop instead of in your dorm, pick a new time to eat dinner, or schedule a few weekend trips home.
#7. There are free resources available, likely on campus.
Most American colleges offer free counseling and other mental health services.
If your school has psychology or therapy graduate programs, you can likely schedule as many free therapy sessions with a graduate student as you need.
Look into your school’s “Student Life” sections to learn more about the services they offer.
You might also consider these affordable coaching options for college students.
College students and stress seem to be synonymous, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Stress is a big deal. It will ruin your mind and body if left untreated, and prevent you from being a good student and enjoying college.
It’s becoming a real issue for you, look into the free mental health service options available on campus.
If those aren’t available or effective, take it upon yourself to add positive habits to your routine or reframe the situations that are causing you stress.