Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unwanted Stress of Being a College Student

Studying for midterms, volunteering three days a week, attending Alpha Delta Pi events, homework for seven classes, becoming a peer advisor, studying for more midterms, keeping up with housing and utility bills and attempting to catch up with friends is what my semester has consisted of.  Being a college student at CSU, Chico is not always the stereotypical life of a “party animal”.  To some outsiders’ amazement, many CSU, Chico students are involved in more than one organization on campus and lead a very busy life that can cause stress beyond belief.  School days can be overwhelmingly long and anxiety filled.  Throughout my college career I have developed many ways to control the stress produced by living the life on a college student. 

My iPod became my best friend my first semester of freshman year when I took Biology 103 and we have maintained a close relationship ever since.  Whenever I feel stressed or have the "stomach on a roller coaster" anxiety feeling, I just slip on my ear phones and put on my Taylor Swift playlist.  Music has a magical way of acting as a medicine and relieves my anxiety.  it cures the unsettling feeling of not being able to breathe.  In the article, "The Power of Music to Reduce Stress," by Jane Collingwood, the author states that "listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies."  Music has a way of absorbing our attention, while distracting our mind at the same time.  Singing to music is a way of relieving tension.  The article also states that listening to music has been used to relieve depression as well as relieve stress and anxiety among hospital patients before and after surgery.  My advice to all those stressed out college students out there is to create a playlist of music that will ease your mood and whenever those troubled, heavy feelings come around, your playlist will help you coupe and get rid of unwanted tension.
 Another tool that I use to manage my stress especially on those depressing cold, windy, gloomy day is go on a run or walk through Bidwell Park.  Playing basketball, walking, bicycling, etc. are all great activities that involve exercising.  According to Livestrong, an article was written by Cynthia Meyers, “Does Exercise Relieve Stress”, which explains the ways in which exercise can reduce stress because “exercise focuses your thoughts somewhere besides your problems.”  Next time that you are feeling stressed, go out and engage in fun filled movement activities and see how you feel afterward.               

Keeping a journal is a way that I can relieve tension about an issue stressing me out.  Something about writing down my feelings makes me feel free.  Probably because when I write out my thoughts it leads me to come up with solutions to my problems. Keeping a journal is a way to sort out your thoughts and reflect on your past.  The article “Journal Your Way to Stress Relief,” written by Trisha McCoy suggest reasons for why writing in a journal relieves stress. One reason that writing in a journal is a great stress reliever is because it “provides an outlet for expressing difficult emotions, such as anger and frustration without harming someone you love” and it “can be a way to release your negative thoughts and emotions so you can move on to a happier state of mind.”  The article provides a research study done by Psychotherapy Research which found that the patients who had greater reductions in symptoms of anxiety and progressed better in psychotherapy were those patients who were encouraged to let out their emotions through expressive writing.                 

There are many ways college students can relieve their stress that are free and easily accessed.  Next time that you or a peer you know are having a hard time coping with their anxiety, try listening to music, engaging in a physical activity, or write down your feelings in a journal.

By Sam Brasil

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