Stress is defined as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” While not all stress is bad, poorly managed stress negatively affects the immune system, making a person more susceptible to other diseases.
Identify the following stressors typical among student and help your students to recognize these:
- paper writing
- parental expectations about grades and college
- the lack of money
- the lack of sleep
- being ill
- coping with social pressures from friends
- the demands of extracurricular activities
- having a job that takes away from study time
- being involved in a romantic relationship (or the lack thereof)
- dealing with demanding teachers
- carrying unrealistic self-expectations
After helping students recognize stressors, share some strategies for stress reduction:
- Vigorous exercise. Physical activity correlates well with mental acuity and psychological well being
- Eat well. When you are run down physically, you’ll lack stamina to cope with stressors.
- Prioritize. List what is really important. Do those things first. Eliminate as many non-essentials as possible.
- Imagine the worst-case scenario. What would you do if this really happen? How likely is this to happen? Being prepared for the worst-case scenario will make you ready to handle it, if it ever should occur no matter how unlikely.
- Listen to music.
- Take a nap.
- Distinguish between working hard and being a workaholic. Hard workers are focused and organized. Workaholics are disorganized, escape their problems with work, and don’t know how to relax.
- Serve others. Jesus taught that if you lose yourself in service, you find yourself. Participate in a project that helps the less fortunate.
- Accept your humanity. If your stress is self-induced, perhaps you are being unrealistic. Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Get help. Maintain a support group of friends or family and, as needed, school counselors and health professionals. Talking problems out is a stress reducer.