Managing Stress during Finals

by Sara Waldron on December 5, 2017

What are the Effects of Stress on your Health?

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the daily demands of life. Stress levels typically are very high during finals time. You may find it difficult to manage your stress when everything seems due at once. Some stress can be good for you and motivate you to complete goals or deadlines. However, stress can be bad for you when it undermines your mental and physical health. Your brain is wired as an alarm system for your protection. The fight-or-flight response is the body’s sympathetic nervous system reacting to a stressful event. As a response the body produces larger quantities of the chemicals adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline. At the same time, non-essential body functions slow, such as the digestive and immune system. It’s essential to have tools and outlets to help handle the daily stress since it can impact your overall health.

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Why is it important to reduce my stress levels during finals?

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This is the time of the semester when it seems difficult to manage your course load and it can seem impossible to manage your stress. Stress is a natural response activated in the brain that can seriously impact your well-being. Reducing stress can improve your mood, increase your productivity, promote longevity, and boost your immune system. When you become too stressed your risk for developing a range of illnesses increases. Any prolonged exposure to these stressful reactions can significantly impact our physical, mental, and emotional health. One of the most important coping skills we can learn is to manage stress in our everyday life.

Tips for Stress Management

  1. Meditate. A few minutes of meditation per day can help lower anxiety. Try sitting up straight with both feet on the floor with your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing or repeat a positive saying to yourself. Try to let any distracting thoughts float away.
  2. Breathe Deeply. It can be helpful to take a five minute break and focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and place your hands on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. It’s beneficial to turn off your computer or TV off at least half an hour before going to bed. The blue light can trigger the brain into thinking that it’s still daylight and increase sleep difficulties. If you can, get the recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Your body and mind will thank you in the morning.
  4. Reach Out in Your Social Circle. Your social network can be vital to helping you handle stress. Talk to someone, preferably face to face to get a fresh perspective on the events in your life. Take time out of your busy day to get a coffee or have a meal with a friend to relax and keep your personal connection strong.
  5. Put down those electronics occasionally. Electronics can be demanding and consume a lot of our time. It’s important to learn the difference between urgency and triviality when faced with an overwhelming amount of electronic communication.
  6. Be Active. Any form of exercise can ease depression and anxiety by increasing the amount of endorphins released. Any physical activity can also lower stress levels while providing more energy throughout the day. Take a break from studying to go for a walk or a run to become more productive during the day.

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Try following some of these tips to help manage your stress and be a healthier you. The BSU Peer Educators are offering the Stress Free Zone, the week before finals, to help reduce stress. To learn more about Outreach Education and the BSU Peer Educators, like the BSU Outreach page on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bsuoutreach, and check out our calendar for upcoming events on the Involvement Network at https://bridgew.collegiatelink.net/ and search for the BSU Peer Educators.

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