Stress is inescapable, especially in college. You’re on your own in a new environment. It’s overwhelming at times. However, it’s important to understand what effects are endured by the body and brain by learning the science behind it and ways to relieve it.
What is stress?
Stress is a naturally occurring response caused by change either physically, mentally or emotionally. This is also your body initiating the “flight or fight” response. It is often attributed to headaches, tiredness, sleeping problems and many other negative health effects. Stress in some ways can be helpful. This is called positive stress which could mean planning for a trip. On the other hand, negative stress can put a serious toll on the body.
Stress and Brain’s Relation
Your mind and body are meant to stay in a balanced state. When stress occurs, things become unstable. One of the most disruptive and surprising concerns is the ability to think and recall things. This could mean forgetting ordinary parts of your daily routine, or even your wallet.
Memory stems from the hippocampus, which controls memory learning. This is one of the main parts of the brain where the building of new brain cells occurs, which is vital for survival. Stress can damage the production of new cells.
Many researchers have often found that stress lowers learning retention. “…exposure to stress right before a memory retention test leads to decreased performance in both human and animal subjects.” Said Kendra Cherry. So, if you’re thinking of cramming the night before an exam, maybe you should rethink that plan before creating more stress for yourself.
Stress may seem overpowering at times, but there are ways to lessen the anxious feeling-
- Get Organized: Regaining that sense of control will help you feel accomplished.
- Establish your support system: Asking for help is a concrete way to manage stressful situations.
- Don’t Procrastinate: It’s easy to feel stressed when there are a lot of items on the to do list. Make a schedule for yourself so things aren’t done last minute.
- Practice Mindfulness: This can help bring your mind into the present and forget about all the stressors. Try downloading an app on your phone to get into a weekly mindful regime.
- Sleep: This is probably if not the most important tip. Your brain needs quality sleep in order to function well. Stress will seem more detrimental without enough sleep.
Life will always throw obstacles that we know as stressors at inopportune moments. It’s how we prepare and experience those situations that make people resilient.