Three ways to take control of your stress this semester

Reading Time: 2 minutes

UVU students enjoy a yoga class available in the Student Life and Wellness Center on campusPhoto courtesy of August Miller, UVU Marketing

Stress is an inevitable part of the college experience. Whether this is the first semester or the last, stress can be managed and even used to students advantage, if approached correctly.

Change your perception

In a study conducted by Harvard University, “Mind over Matter: Reappraising Arousal Improves Cardiovascular and Cognitive Responses to Stress,” 50 individuals took part in an experiment that involved speaking in front of evaluators and afterward, completing a word exam. The combination of those two activities has proven to be very stress inducing.

Before the tests, a group was told to play video games, another was told to ignore the stresses, and the other group was given advice on how to handle the stress and use it to their benefit. They were told that when responding to stress, the body will often react by increasing the heart rate and breathing more heavily. This stress can aid the performance of the individual because it heightens the senses and allows oxygen to enter the brain more rapidly. Researchers told the group that because of these biological responses, stress could actually make them stronger.

The last group performed better than the others. The study concluded that they were more confident and calm throughout the tests because of their perceptions about stress.

Take time for self-care

“When I get overwhelmed or stressed about school, I try to take an hour or two to plan, relax, work out or watch something funny,” Kara Sanderson, a social work junior, said. “After that, I’m better able to focus so I can get more work done.”

Self-care comes in many forms, and there are many resources for students to take advantage of on campus.

The Reflection Room in the Student Life and Wellness Center can help students find peace and spiritual care. The facility can be used for prayer, meditation or just to have a quiet place to relax.

Fitness programs like yoga, Zumba, cycling and many more are available to help students reduce stress through exercise. Other facilities include bowling alleys, a rock-climbing wall and a full gym.

Stress Less is a stress management program that includes five one-on-one meetings with students wanting help managing their stress. According to the UVU website, the meetings provide participants with resources in order for them to survive the stressors that come with college.

Plan ahead

Something as simple as a weekly planner can help busy students organize due dates and tests so nothing catches them by surprise.

“Planning is probably what best helps me cope with academic stress,” said Sanderson.

Knowing what lies ahead in the week can help students prioritize their workloads and schedule out the day. This will allow time for obligations and maybe even time for a fun activity with friends.