Introduction What Causes Stress

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					Introduction                                               Feelings                                             Physiology
Stress is a part of day-to-day living. It is a common      •     Feeling anxious                                •      Perspiration/sweaty hands
human phenomenon and part of life as a college             •     Feeling scared                                 •      Increased heart beat
student. As college students you may experience stress     •     Feeling irritable                              •      Trembling
meeting academic demands, adjusting to a new living        •     Feeling moody                                  •      Nervous ticks
environment, or developing friendships. The stress you                                                          •      Dryness of throat and mouth
experience is not necessarily harmful. Mild forms of       Thoughts                                             •      Tiring easily
stress can act as a motivator and energiser. However, if   •     Low self-esteem                                •      Urinating frequently
your stress level is too high, medical and social          •     Fear of failure                                •      Sleeping problems
problems can result.                                       •     Inability to concentrate                       •      Diarrhoea / indigestion / vomiting
                                                           •     Easily embarrassed                             •      Butterflies in stomach
What Causes Stress?                                        •     Worrying about the future                      •      Headaches
Although we tend to think of stress as caused by           •     Pre-occupation with thoughts/tasks             •      Premenstrual tension
external events, it is the way in which we interpret and   •     Forgetfulness                                  •      Pain in the neck and/or lower back
react to events that makes them stressful. People differ                                                        •      Loss of appetite or over-eating
dramatically in the type of events they interpret as       Behaviour                                            •      Susceptibility to illness
stressful and the way in which they respond to such        •     Stuttering and other speech difficulties
stress. For example, speaking in public can be stressful   •     Crying for no apparent reason                  Tips to Help you Cope with Stress
for some people, and not for others.                       •     Acting impulsively                             Remember our goal is not to eliminate stress but to
                                                           •     Startling easily                               learn how to manage it and learn how to use it to help
Symptoms of Stress                                         •     Laughing in a high-pitch and nervous tone of   us. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may
There are several signs and symptoms that you may                voice                                          leave us feeling bored or dejected. On the other hand,
notice when you are experiencing stress.          These    •     Grinding your teeth                            excessive stress may leave us feeling tied up in knots.
symptoms fall into four categories:            Feelings,   •     Increase in smoking                            What we need to do is to find the optimal level of stress
Thoughts, Behaviour, and Physiology. When you are          •     Increased use of alcohol and/or other drugs    which will individually motivate but not overwhelm
under stress, you may experience one or more of the        •     Being accident prone                           each of us.
following:                                                 •     Losing your appetite or over-eating
Some tips to help you.
                                                     Where to find Help
      Exercise regularly
      Eat a well-balanced diet
                                                     Student Counselling Service                      Stress Management
                                                     Portacabin 3 behind the main building.
•     Do you best, as opposed to trying to be        Tel: ext 2635 (from outside 4042635)
      perfect                                        E-mail:

•     Talk to your friends or family members
•     Practice     relaxation    exercises,    for
      example, when you feel tense, slowly
      breathe in and out for several minutes
•     Do not use alcohol or any other drugs
      to alleviate your stress
•     Recognise you negative thoughts (e.g.
      “that was a stupid thing that I did”) and
      replace     them   with    more     positive
      thoughts (e.g. “it’s o.k. to make              Some Reading
      mistakes)                                      There is a wealth of literature on anxiety in
                                                     most large book shops. Below are some books
•     Make time for fun activities                   which are available in the Institute Library.
•     Get a hobby or two
•     Avoid unnecessary competition
                                                     Manage your mind
•     Recognise and accept your limitations          - Gillian Butler
•     Learn how to use your time wisely:
                                                     Calm Down
      - monitor how you are using your time          - Paul Hauck
      - plan ahead and avoid procrastination
      - make a weekly schedule                       Feeling Good Handbook
                                                     - David Burns
                                                                                                     Student Counselling Service
                                                     Complete Guide to Stress Management
                                                     - Chandra Patel                                 Student Services
                                                     Overcoming Stress                               Institute of Technology, Tallaght
                                                     - Vernon Coleman