Stress in College

Stress is something that most people know well and experience often. It's unavoidable. Stress comes from events that you consider to be positive-a job promotion or vacation- as well as from negative events-loss of a loved one or relationship difficulties. It's your personal response to situations and circumstances that cause you to feel pressure.

Using the analogy of a rubber band, positive stress is just the right amount of stress needed to stretch the band and make it useful. Negative stress snaps the band. Common stressors in college life include: greater academic demands, adjusting to living on your own, financial worries about school and future job prospects, time spent away from family and enjoyable activities, exposure to new people and ideas, and relationship stress. These stressors can all stretch the rubber band, drawing you closer to your snapping point.

Stress may be short term (acute) or long term (chronic). Chronic stress is often related to situations that aren't short-lived, such as relationship problems, loneliness, financial worries or long workdays. You may be able to handle an occasional stressful event, but when stress occurs regularly, the effects multiply and compound over time.

Stress produces a variety of physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms. And it can lead to illness- aggravating an existing health problem, or possibly triggering a new one, if you're already at risk of that condition.

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Stress may produce the following health effects:
Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Your first indication that your body and brain are feeling pressured may be associated symptoms of stress-headache, insomnia, upset stomach and digestive changes. An old nervous habit of nail biting may reappear. Another common symptom is irritability with people close to you. Occasionally, these changes are so gradual that you or those around you don't recognize them until your health or relationships change.

Strategies for Managing Stress