Stress is a normal part of life for most people. Many college students find themselves figuring out how to manage stress at higher levels for the first time or in different ways during their time on campus.
Sometimes called eustress, "positive" stress is important to us as individuals and as a community because it drives us to learn, perform at our best, and be change-makers in our world. Eustress gives us a sense of purpose when we wake up in the morning to get to class, hike a mountain, or check in with a friend.
Chronic stress, or stress that occurs with high levels of frequency and intensity, even if it is eustress, tire our bodies and minds. When we are stressed at high levels over long periods of time we have little time to relax and recover in order to feel prepared to meet the next wave of stress that might be coming. Situations like a number of projects all due on the same date, loneliness, a high-pressure job or responsibility on campus, or a stressful relationship with a friend, family member, or partner can all cause chronic stress. Chronic stress can weaken our immune systems, heighten anxiety, and interfere with sleep and appetite.
Effectively managing stress can alleviate some stress-related problems. Many students find that different strategies work in different situations and that practicing stress management techniques increases their effectiveness over time.