The stress factor
The long term effects of stress can be damaging to the body and mind
Looming deadlines, the management of work, school and life are all major contributors to stress levels.
While some people flourish under the weight of stress — those people are more of the exception than the rule. According to Hans Seyle, the founding father of research on stress, there are limits with how much stress people can deal with. When this happens, the adrenal gland becomes over stimulated and the body reacts by triggering the “fight or flight” response — as it perceives a threat or danger.
Kim Conard, whose working title is Integrated Manual Therapist with the Holistic Institute of Health and Fertility (HIHF), helps people work through emotional issues and says stress and anxiety are the most common complaints. She says that societal pressure is one of the biggest causes of stress in this day and age.
“Everyone knows what they should do so why aren’t they doing it — it is because they are not functioning properly so you can’t. The expectations of what someone should accomplish in a 24-hour day is insane. It is ridiculous — and then you are supposed to eat properly and exercise and sleep 10 hours a night. It is impossible.”
Common symptoms one might experiences when under stress and when the “fight or flight” response is engaged are: anxiety, impending doom, depression, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers and chronic fatigue — just to name a few.
If the idea of an upcoming exam or deadline is giving you anxiety, causing insomnia, or if you have an uncontrollable desire to say “fuck it” and finish the semester off in a blaze of solid “C” glory, you may have triggered your “fight or flight” response.
Once the pressure of school comes to an end, there looks to be a future paved with never ending stress and societal pressure to look forward to. Students dealing with stress on campus can go to the Wellness Services and to talk to someone. There are also many services at school or in the city that can help deal with our stressful lives.
When asked if Conard had any tips or tricks on how to deal with stress she said unfortunately not, “I could tell someone to go and meditate or go outside or run, but if they are not functioning well they are not going to do that. They are never going to make the choice to do that because they can’t add something else to their plate.”
Conard points out that the people that are highly functional in stressful situations are extremely regimented. They are able to deal with stress because they understand how to carve time out for themselves and nourish their souls.
As the semester draws to a close and finals are on the mind, take this opportunity to learn how to deal with stress before the real world comes a calling. Remember to carve time out of your busy schedule to nourish the mind, body and soul. It could be as simple as taking a walk and stopping to smell the roses.