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How Students Can Combat Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

How Students Can Combat Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

As the first term of the school year comes to a close, and with finals on the horizon, many students are facing burnout and excessive levels of stress. This, in turn, can also trigger elevated levels of anxiety and depression, because let’s face it: crunch time at school is never easy.

Many people don’t realize that there are physical side effects associated with stress, depression, and anxiety. The physical implications of these overwhelming feelings include, but are not limited to: headaches, stomach pains, anger, irritability, and changes in blood pressure, appetite, sex drive, and sleeping patterns.

In order to excel at educational endeavors, students must not sink into stress and other cognitive conditions. They must figure out ways of coping with and addressing roadblocks to scholastic success. It’s not always easy, but there are many ways to swim back to the surface!

1. Practical Stress Management Techniques

School and stress oftentimes go hand and hand, especially around tests and final exams. Fortunately, there’re a plethora of ways to take stress ‘by the horns’. Meditation, exercise, seeking tutoring and pursuing creative endeavors are all fantastic ways to reset and brush off stress.

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2. Meditating To Clear Your Busy Brain

An article by Grade Potential Tutoring highlights an approachable meditation technique that will aid in melting away stress for students of any age.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and focus your attention on your breathing.
  • Count each breath. Breathe in, breathe out, one, breathe in, breathe out, two, etc.
  • Continue until you reach ten and then start again.
  • If you lose count, go back to one.
  • If you have any thoughts or become aware of outside noises, acknowledge them, then let them go and return to your meditation.
  • Continue the exercise for five to fifteen minutes.

As you become more practiced in this meditation, you may wish to do it for longer periods of time and focus on the feel of your breath as it enters and leaves your body.

Other forms of meditation can also be helpful with stress management. There are many guides on meditation in previous Lifehack articles. These include meditation tipstechniques, and suggestions on meditation apps to help clear your head.

3. A Boost of Endorphins Can Defeat Stress

Sometimes the best way to work through stress is to distract your body and mind in a healthy way. Whether you’re casually burning calories or dedicated to a routine at a gym, getting your blood pumping helps alleviate stress.

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Personally, my favorite way to experience positive emotions associated with elevated endorphins is to go on a long bicycle ride. I also enjoy hiking when weather permits.

But no matter what you’re doing to exercise, both your mind and body will thank you.

4. Tutors Are Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

Oftentimes, a particularly challenging course can get the best of students and stress is a corollary byproduct. This doesn’t mean that you’re any less intelligent for struggling, it just may require a little extra dedication in order to be successful.

If struggles become persistent, oftentimes a tutor can be a roadmap to navigating your success.

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5. Relocating Perpetuates Stress

A major stressor for students, especially college students and those studying abroad, is moving. Whether moving to a dorm at your hometown university or relocating across the world, it’s usually undeniably stressful.

An article by Life Storage, titled 5 Essential Tips for a Less Stressful Move offers these crucially important moving tips:

  • Prepare to be disorganized. You can’t move in a day, so slow down and move at a logical pace.
  • Pack a transition bag. Toiletries, medications, a few sets of clothes, and of course, important electronics and accessories should be packed separately.
  • Set aside move-in supplies. This includes items such as tools, cooking/cleaning supplies, a first aid kit, and bedding.
  • Declutter storage areas first. You want access to closets, cupboards, and dressers first thing!
  • Make a check-off list and schedule easy-to-forget moving tasks. Plan this a month or more in advance so that you won’t stress as much when moving day inevitably sneaks up on you.

6. Students Face Depression and Anxiety As Well

On top of feeling overwhelmed and stressed, many students also face depression and anxiety. Of the large number of students recently surveyed for the National College Health Assessment, 33% were severely depressed and 55% were overwhelming anxious.

Mental illnesses are still frequently encapsulated by heavy, unwarranted stigmas. So learning to live with these type of cognitive conditions can be a huge challenge, especially when bullying or unfair pressures are persistent.

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All of the above-mentioned techniques for managing stress segue into treating depression, anxiety, and other mental illness. But it’s important to mention that counseling and/or medications may be necessary to live more comfortably with depression and anxiety.

The best starting point is consulting family and close friends you trust for help and guidance; then seeking help and support from counselors or other professionals becomes much more comfortable.

Remember that approaching depression and anxiety starts by getting support from those you trust and is built up by counseling, medications, or a combination of the two.

If seeking counsel is difficult due to insurance issues or other limitations, many universities offer counseling services at a sliding scale payment. This means you pay what you can afford because your seeking help is mutually beneficial to graduate students in this line of work, and of course, yourself!

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Robert Parmer

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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