April is stress awareness month, and as someone on their academic journey at any stage I can imagine that you will be feeling some level of stress. If you’re not…cherish this moment with all your heart!
An inconvenient truth of studying is the stress that comes along with it. We’ve been there ourselves on many occasions where we just wanted to throw in the towel or behaved in a limiting way to avoid the responsibility of what needed to be done…usually by enjoying the other more social side of university a little too much!
If this rings true with you and you are feeling a little stressed during your studies then hopefully this blog can help you overcome that. Below we are going to share a few of the best stress management techniques that have been proven to help people overcome stress and perform at their highest level. And let’s be honest…when you can do that, you’re going to be a whole lot happier with your study experience regardless of whether you are at college, an undergraduate or even postgraduate.
We don’t have to simply accept that studying means stress and you just have to suck it up! You have the choice to make this better…so lets do it!
So to begin…let’s start with what can you actually define stress as?
Stress gets a bad wrap, however stress can be both good and bad! Just think about how the greatest athletes use stress to perform at the highest possible level and pull things out of the back at the very death of a match, game or event. So it can be good.
Looking at it in a even more raw form, if humans didn’t feel any stress we simply would not be here today. Mr. Sabretooth tiger would have came along many years ago and wiped the lot of us out because with the lack of stress we would not have feel fear and ran away. Imagine that!
Let’s get back to reality though and think more in terms of your stress. Typically we will worry about the more negative type of stress that leads to procrastination, feelings of self loathing or even more debilitating emotions. It is these stressors that will typically ruin your academic journey. And that is where we want to help you.
Stress is a physical response where the body switches to survival mode, preparing the body for a physical reaction. This causes your more logical functions to shut down and hence some of the really negative effects of bad stress.
So how can you make a change to a less stressed life you ask? Well take a look below for our top three stress management tips that you can use straight away…
STRESS MANAGEMENT TIP #1: IDENTIFY AND LIMIT UNECESSARY STRESS
This one sounds extremely simple and it is why we put it at the very top!
We are all guilty of allowing stress into our life that doesn’t need to be there. This could be taking on too much work, a bad relationship, a friend who is the devil on your shoulder every Friday night (or every night!)
The key here is to really reflect on what typically makes you stress during the week. Once you identify the points at which you get stressed, then ask yourself, what is the root cause of this stress. Once you identify that, get that task dealt with and removed from your schedule and begin to lead a much lower stress life!
Top tip here…this will not happen overnight because many stresses originate from a person or task that has become a habit. As such, just plan to keep chipping away at these unnecessary stresses until you are at the point of only accepting stressful situations that will move you closer to your goals.
STRESS MANAGEMENT TIP #2: CUT DOWN YOUR TO-DO LIST
Another simple yet effective one. And…the exact reason why we have the FOCUSED FEW within our planner at the start of each week and on each day page.
Realistically you should have no more than three key tasks that you want to get done in a day which would make that day great. Other less important tasks should remain less than 5.
This allows you to remain focused and productive, which in turn reduces your stress significantly in the long run.
Procrastination is the thief of productivity and procrastination normally occurs when the tasks you have to do seem insurmountable. Having a massive to-do list is definitely in that category where if you have 15-20 things to do in a day…you probably aren’t even going to get started!
STRESS MANAGEMENT TIP #3: CHANGE YOUR VIEW ON THE SITUATION
This one is about managing stress through the technique of taking back control of each situation you end up in.
When a stressful situation occurs next, you should acknowledge it, take a step back and ask yourself can I…
- Alter the situation in any way so that it is less stressful or more to my benefit?
- Can I change my reaction to the situation. Is there actually another way I can look at this?
So, let’s unpack those two. The first is about actually changing the stressful situation. A lot of the time we don’t actually realise how much power we have over a situation. We actually just think things are always “happening to us”. This is definitely not the case. For the remainder of the month, look at every stressful situation as an opportunity to do things on your terms and ask yourself or even the person or task delivering the stress…”is there an easier way that this can be done?”
On the second point this is much more about perspective. Many situations are made much worse by the way we perceive them. The 10 seconds that lie between thought and taking action can actually be life altering. So whenever you next feel stress don’t react straight away. Name the emotion of stress in your head and give yourself 10 seconds to really digest how you think about it. React intentionally to the stress rather than to react emotionally. This can absolutely transform the way you see the world and will most definitely lower your future stress levels as you give yourself the headspace not to fly off the handle every time stress approaches….or maybe not that extreme!
So there it is…our top 3 tips for managing your stress in the future. Stress awareness month is a great time to really think about how you can implement these techniques to improve your wellbeing whilst also increasing your performance. The two go hand in hand and once you take back control from stress you will be sure to unlock your full potential
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