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Stress busters for college students

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

While starting college is an exciting time to make friends in a new environment, it can be a stressful time for the new freshman student. In addition to focusing on academics and building your social and support network, it's crucial that you create and implement some simple stress relief tips when preparing for college. Follow this advice from Keith King, professor and coordinator of University of Cincinnati's Health Promotion and Education Program, to stay focused and keep college fun and valuable.

Give yourself a time out
It may seem cliché to pause and count to 10 when you're feeling overwhelmed, but there's a reason why you hear that phrase so often: it works. King recommends taking a mini break from whatever is causing you stress to help clear your mind and relieve the immediate crisis situation. You may not find the solution to your problem in 10 seconds but you can put the brakes on your runaway thoughts.

Put things in perspective
Either during your "time out" or later when you have more time to check in with yourself, King says you should consider the context of what's bugging you. Is it a test? Are you having an issue with your roommate? In the grand scheme of things, it's just one test and one friend in a huge world of exams and people. When you pinpoint the problem and see exactly how it impacts your life, it takes away some of its power. Oftentimes, the issues that cause the greatest stress are the most miniscule.

Rely on your support group
When you're feeling especially stressed or lonely, take 10 minutes out of your day to call a friend or relative. Sometimes, just hearing a familiar voice and being able to discuss what's causing you grief is enough to give you some relief. However, if your family is responsible for some of the stress, it may not help the situation to contact them, warned the American Psychological Association. If your loved ones aren't available or you'd rather not talk through things, at least surround yourself with people. Bring a book to the library or hang out and watch TV in the student lounge if you feel part of your stress is being caused by loneliness.

Be alone
You don't have to lock yourself in your room to regroup and clear your mind. Just walking around campus by yourself in silence can produce the same effect, and you'll also get to enjoy the outdoors. College is a time to socialize and make long lasting friendships, but it's also a great period of self-reflection. King recommends scheduling at least 10 minutes of alone time every day to combat stress.

Stay healthy
Nothing makes stress worse than when you're sick and tired. Even though food and entertainment are constantly available on campus, it's important to practice self control so you stay healthy. Go to the gym or run around the football field to stay fit. If running isn't your thing, try group classes like yoga. Meditation, a main component of yoga, helps the mind and body relax and focus, noted the APA. The stress relieving benefits of the exercise can be immediate and effective. - helping you find colleges and universities that offer the accredited programs that most interest you.

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Stress busters for college students
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