Feelings of stress are a normal part of life. Stress is what gets us up in the morning and keeps us moving forward. Many postsecondary students report feelings of stress before big events such as an exam, a class presentation, a job interview, a new job, a wedding or party, or in times of financial worries. Stress helps keep us awake and on our toes, ready for action.
But sometimes, too much stress can leave a person feeling anxious, on edge, worried. It can also give rise to other symptoms such as headaches, stomach upsets, back pain, trouble sleeping, and trouble concentrating on a task. Stress can even cause some health problems.
This can happen during exam week or during a relationship problem or when for some reason a person feels he or she has failed and can’t get back on track. The reasons can vary from individual to individual. Sometimes too much stress can lead to mental health issues where our ability to complete life daily activities becomes compromised.
We all have coping strategies that help us manage our stress and stay in balance. But sometimes, when there is too much stress we can be out of balance. When anyone is stressed, it’s easy to eliminate some of the items that help us stay in balance and managing stress.
Signs of too much stress:
- Reduced concentration
- Difficulty with memory and organization
- Undue anger
- Physical problems such as insomnia, stomach problems, headaches
- Poor judgment
- Isolating from others
Teachers and other staff are in unique positions to both mitigate stressors in the environment while also reacting to others in obvious stress. When performance or behaviour is a cause for concern, suggest that the person talk things over with a counsellor or advisor or someone else they trust.
For more information about stress:
- Consult the Canadian Mental Health Association’s site.
- To find out more about stress and suggested stress management strategy , consult the Helpguide.
- Consult the Helpguide for more information about stress symptoms, signs and causes.
- See the National Institute of Mental Health for a fact sheet on stress.
- View Kelly McGonigal How to make stress your friend.
- View a brief animation demonstrating the effect of stress on the body .
- For a description of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder view from Military Health.
- Road to Mental Readiness, Canadian Armed Forces, “aim of the guide is to provide military leaders with information and practical strategies for dealing with stress and the provision of psychological support”.