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Relax! Why Stress Harms Your Body

Essays, exams, research projects and extracurricular activities can sometimes result in more stress than you can handle, let alone the negative effects on your body. With so much on your to-do list, it’s beneficial to focus on the importance of staying calm. Here are some of the negative effects of stress on your body and what you should do to prevent them.

As, ahem, stressful as it is, stress can sometimes be beneficial to college students. It sends a message to our bodies that helps us perform at our best capacity. The body’s natural stress response is a huge help to us in getting through nervousness during a test or in propelling us forward while working on that Philosophy term paper. It is, however, not at all healthy to live in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

Consistent levels of stress can result in headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, heart palpitations, sleeplessness, decreased immunity, weight problems, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. The purpose of stress is supposed to be life-saving. It helps us move more quickly and fight harder when our lives are in danger. Living in that state just wears out every single one of our organs and can do some major damage to our physical health and mental well-being.

Stress can also change your behavior in unexpected ways. It can cause under eating, over eating, social withdrawal, outbursts of rage, abuse of drugs or alcohol, crying spells and major problems in your relationships.

Although you can do nothing to change the facts of life in college (you still have to complete assignments on time and make good grades), you can still help your body cope with stress by changing your mindset. The stress reaction is typically triggered by the mind. Students have the tendency to take advantage of the higher rate of performance they see when under stress, and continue to function all the time in that state. When you stop seeing getting an A or turning something in on time as a life-or-death situation, though, you will be less prone to jump to stressing out.

Remind yourself that you can only do what you can do. You can change your study and writing habits so you’re not constantly behind. Remember that your grades are not the most important thing in the world. If you take the pressure to be perfect off of yourself, you will be much more relaxed, happier and healthier.

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