Stress

Why do we feel stress?

Stress is a part of everyone’s life.  Some people are able to cope effectively and others are not.  The demands on our physical and mental selves can be tremendous.  Many people will try to deal with the stress by avoiding the situation, taking emotions out on others, or by withdrawing.  By not confronting the source of the stress, our bodies will react with the appearance of multiple symptoms.  Headaches, indigestion, insomnia and moodiness are just a few of the many ways your mind and body will try to speak to you.  Developing new coping strategies and learning to recognize stressful situations before they happen, will help you to confront and deal with the stress head-on in healthy ways.

How do we know we are overly stressed?

The human body will show many signs of stress.  While it is normal to feel stress, the levels will vary depending on the person, the situation and/or event.  When your good health is being compromised, it is time to stop and recognize the signs.  You can experience one or a variety of physical, emotional and mental symptoms.  Please read the list below and ask yourself if you might be feeling overly stressed:

Physical

Emotional

Mental

· Headaches

 · Moody 

· Forgetfulness

· Heart pounding

 · Irritable

· Lack of concentration

· Sweaty palms

  · Overly anxious

· Poor judgment

· Indigestion

· No sense of humor

· Disorganized

· Shortness of breath

· Hostile

 · Confused

· Sleeplessness

· Nervous

· Loss of interest

· Nausea

· Negative self-talk

· Diarrhea

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective Strategies for Stress Management

  • 1.      Learn to organize.
  • 2.      Control your environment and who is around you.
  • 3.      Give yourself positive feedback.
  • 4.      Reward yourself and relax.
  • 5.      Exercise consistently.
  • 6.      Get plenty of sleep.
  • 7.      Be aware of stress signals.
  • 8.      Eat a balanced diet.
  • 9.      Set goals for yourself.
  • 10.  Talk about how you feel.
  • 11.  Try to enjoy each day.

HOW VULNERABLE ARE YOU TO STRESS?
Download this test.

*Score each item from 1 (almost always) to 5 (never) according to how much of the time each statement applies to you.

____1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.

____2. I get seven to eight hours of sleep at least four nights a week.

____3. I give and receive affection regularly.

____4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely.

____5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.

____6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.

____7. I take fewer than five alcoholic drinks a week.

____8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

____9. I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses.

____10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.

____11. I regularly attend club or social activities.

____12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.

____13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.

____14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, and teeth).

____15. I am able to speak about my feelings when angry or worried.

____16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems, e.g. chores, money, and daily living issues.

____17. I do something for fun at least once a week.

____18. I am able to organize my time effectively.

____19. I drink fewer than three cups of caffeinated coffee (or tea or soft drinks) a day.

____20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.

To get your score, add up the figures and subtract 20.  Any number over 30 indicates a vulnerability to stress.  You are seriously vulnerable to stress if your score is between 50 and 75, and extremely vulnerable if it is over 75.  Psychologists Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith at Boston University Medical Center developed this test

If you find yourself overly stressed and are not sure how to handle it, please call the Student Counseling Center at 549-2859.