Whenever you hear the following proverbs or statements, you can already surmise the theme or topic: 'pressure burst pipes' or 'diamonds are made under pressure.' People's pressures are related to how they manage stress.
"Stress is a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation" (Merriam Webster dictionary). Adults and even teenage students face stress too. They encounter positive stress, eustress, which motivates them to pass exams, but when the negative stressors outweigh the positive stressors they become distressed.
Students can B.E.A.T. stress by capitalizing on the following: breaks, exercise, asking, time-management.
4 Ways to B.E.A.T. Stress
1. B- Breaks
Taking breaks will help you to sharpen your axe and cut down tasks. Imagine two men who participated in a wood- chopping contest. The question of the day was: How many wood, would a wood-cutter chop if a wood cutter could chop wood?
The winner who chopped the most wood, would be greatly rewarded. The two men were chopping wood from morning until noon, neck and neck. But one of them took a break, which seemed to be a very lazily move.
By sundown, who do you think surprisingly chopped the most wood, almost as twice as the other man? The man who took a break for lunch and sharpened his axe.
A brain break is needed when studying. It's no surprise that some students are studying too hard and are not reaping positive results. Student's brains can become so overstimulated when they claim that they are "cramming" as an effective study strategy.
As long as study breaks do not become procrastination, taking a few minutes to recharge will definitely sharpen your axe.
2. E- Exercise
Some parents may want to capitalize on students being at home to take on additional courses like "Sweeping the House 101" or " Fundamentals of Washing Your Clothes". Housework, gardening, and yard work are physical work where, to increase the intensity, students can do them at a more vigorous pace. Incorporating exercise into daily schedule can become a part of students lifestyle and not necessarily another activity that students have to tick off.
Exercising is loaded with so many benefits, like burning calories and losing weight. Building muscle strength is important too. An inactive lifestyle may affect your metabolism, and the body might struggle break down fats and sugars. Lessening inflammation, poor blood circulation and preventing hormonal imbalance are more achievable with an active lifestyle.
Moreover, if you are feeling low, exercise will pump up the production of the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. So, exercise does not only improve physical health, but is also associated with emotional resilience. (Child, et al, 2014)
3. A- Ask Questions
Students must learn when to ask open and closed ended questions to better connect with instructors and fellow students and ease stress. Open ended questions require elaboration and explanation. For example, "How may we identify the symptoms of stress?"
Closed ended questions usually elicit a yes or no response. For example, " Can stress be identified on the body?" The answer "yes" would follow. Moreover, when students feel overwhelmed with online classes, knowing which tool is available to communicate can better alleviate stress immediately with an email, call, or text.
Collaborating with fellow students can make stressors manageable while working independently. Students face similar stresses and can share best practices, so getting to know other students will provide a win-win outcome.
4. T- Time- Management
"Effective time management is associated with greater academic performance and lower levels of anxiety in students; however many students find it hard to find a balance between their studies and their day-to-day lives." (Adams, et. al., 2019)
Stress management does not exist without time-management. Sometimes, time- management includes creativity. Many students must avoid being like a crow who was thirsty and found a pitcher of water, but it's beak could not reach the water in the pitcher, so the crow threw pebbles in the water. Undoubtedly, the water level in the pitcher rose enough for the crow to reach the water and quench it's thirst.
Students must make persistent efforts to prioritize most important and least important tasks while researching the best tools and apps which can be used to organize and manage task.
When negative stressors are beating you down and you feel pressured, remember that you can turn your situation around as you B.E.A.T. stress.
Adams, R. V., & Blair, E. (2019). Impact of Time Management Behaviors on Undergraduate Engineering Students’ Performance. SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244018824506
Childs, E., & de Wit, H. (2014). Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in physiology, 5, 161. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2014.00161