I was an uptight, stressed out college student. There- I said it. By the time mid-terms rolled around each semester I was chewing up to 20 Tums a day and studying on Friday and Saturday nights. I actually started looking forward to nights where I would load up my laptop, grab my corner seat at the student center, gear up my iTunes and just study the night away (I wasn’t a partier in college…Don’t judge!).
I can remember one night where my stress really hit a tipping point—more like it toppled me to the ground, while I cried to my mother on the phone. I felt like I was crumbling under the pressure to make great grades, to finish both majors on-time, to ace my senior thesis and to manage my training schedule for cheer.
I couldn’t make it.
But that’s when my mom told me, “Just do the best you can. You’re putting this pressure on yourself.” And it was true. My thoughts contributed to what I deemed “stressful”. That had to be why my friends were way more laid back than me although they had the same course-load.
So, thinking of those moments when I could have enjoyed my 4 years, I get so mad at myself for being high-strung. And this brings me to myths about stress (which I really wish I would have debunked while tackling each paper and exam).
Myth 1: Stress comes from your circumstances.
As I figured out, stress really comes from what you think about your situation, not the situation itself. Again, that’s why everyone reacts differently to the same exam or paper or deadline, according to Psychology Today.
Myth 2: The best way to deal with stress is to breathe and to relax.
Yoga definitely keeps me balanced, but Psychology Today again recommends focusing on changing your thoughts about situations, rather than masking the root of the problem.
Myth 3: People who complain about stress are just weaklings.
How you manage stress has nothing to do with your strength as a person, as noted by St. Louis Psychologists and Counseling. I tend to think I’m a pretty strong individual in times of a crisis, but it’s ok to admit when you’re feeling as though stress is really getting you down. It does not mean you are defeated in any way.
Myth 4: Stress is always bad for you.
Zero stress does not equal happiness. According to the American Psychological Association, managing stress is what keeps us healthy and happy, not banishing it completely. A little stress will keep us on the path toward productivity.
Do you feel stressed while at school? How do you cope?