Transform College Stress into Success in Seven Simple Steps

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As primitive, unconscious reactions kick in, higher cognitive functions suffer. These inborn survival mechanisms are ill-matched with present-day realities. Success in our professional and personal lives requires flexible intellectual, emotional, and social responses rather than instinctive physical reactions.

And the challenges we face often persist for long periods of time, leading to chronic activation of a survival system that evolved to function only in emergencies. Eventually, that chronic activation can push any of us to our tipping point. We need the awareness to notice them, as well as the courage to make tough choices to bring our stress levels down. Of course, committing to reducing stress is only useful if you have some idea of how to do that.

We encourage leaders to use whatever techniques work for them. Breathing is both involuntary and voluntary. This gives us the power to interrupt our involuntary stress responses and establish greater balance in our autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system has two branches: the sympathetic our natural accelerator and parasympathetic our natural decelerator. When these two branches are alternately activated in a consistent pattern, we can enter into a state called coherence.


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Coherence is characterized by emotional stability and increased access to the prefrontal cortex, which promotes mental clarity, focus, and concentration — just what we need to tackle leadership challenges more effectively. Stress, in contrast, is characterized by strong sympathetic activation with less parasympathetic activation, so we are constantly accelerating. And this is where breathing comes in: On the inhale our heart rate accelerates, and on the exhale it slows down.

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This heart rate information is sent directly to the brain, which plays a part in regulating the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, when we engage in a regular pattern of inhalation and exhalation, we help to establish a balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activation. Establishing coherence is useful in almost any context, not just high-stress situations.

The more you practice the three steps, the easier it will be to engage in intentional breathing when you need it most. In time, Stefano gained more energy, his heart palpitations ceased, and his heart rhythms became more coherent.

12 Ways To Eliminate Stress At Work

At the same time, his depression lifted and his impatience and irritability disappeared, leaving him calm and relaxed. Today, Stefano is in excellent health. Like all of us, he sometimes faces stressors that tempt him to push beyond his limits. Practicing regular exercise can keep your energy levels up, resulting in a more engaged mind when doing school work.

Many also assert that getting adequate sleep at night can save college students time—this not only helps you avoid the time taken for afternoon naps, but it also can increase your alertness and decrease your stress levels. Printing or writing out checklists for each class or each day of the week can be a helpful way of remembering everything you need to get done. Try color-coordinating tasks by importance or subject such as school or work to help you better visualize what needs to get done. At times it may seem as though the pile of work you have is insurmountable.

Work encroaches on school, and who even has time for a social life?

Maybe that means dropping an activity or reducing your credit load. Time management means nothing if you are physically, emotionally and psychologically drained.


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Take the advice of experts and students who have been there. See if you can calm that chaotic schedule for a stress-free college degree.

7 Effective Time Management Tips for College Students

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Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college. Use your phone for good With millions of apps and games at your fingertips, your smartphone can seem more of a time waster than a time manager.

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Stick to a routine Getting into a routine can reduce uncertainty about when and how you will fit in homework and study time on top of school and work. Be healthy This may seem like the kind of advice you heard from your mother, in the vein of warm socks in the winter, sunscreen in the summer and daily vitamins year-round, but it can actually play a huge role in successfully managing your time while in college.

Checklists are your friend Printing or writing out checklists for each class or each day of the week can be a helpful way of remembering everything you need to get done. Find a balance At times it may seem as though the pile of work you have is insurmountable. Put these college time management strategies to use Take the advice of experts and students who have been there. Request More Information Talk with a program manager today.

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