Academic stress and techniques to face it

Academic stress and techniques to face it

In daily life, new students entering bachelor's degrees are exposed to overwhelming situations, in which it is a real challenge for them to adapt to such situations, where the activity overload exceeds their own abilities and skills to carry them out, causing a reaction called stress, in which the body tries to cope with and regulate its functions In other words, there is a coping process that is the mechanisms with which the organism uses to face, they are known as coping strategies and these reduce the stress.

What is stress

The first person to talk about stress and refer to it with this name was a medical student named Hans Selye, who discovered the physiological effects of stress by accident while experimenting with rats about the discovery of an apparent "hormone" and its effect on the organism. , when conducting various studies he discovered that the "hormone" caused different diseases to rats and in more severe cases the death of animals as it gave them viscera fragments. After several experiments he gave up on the existence of the hormone since he realized that the laboratory conditions caused this effect in the rats, when they ceased to administer the exogenous substance, concluding the phenomenon as stress. The defined stress as the psychophysiological reaction between mind and body that in certain situations causes fatigue in the body's systems and causes malfunction as well as physical-bodily damages, and that at high levels can affect emotional, cognitive and behavioral fields.

In addition to the contribution of Selye, more contemporary authors, who have investigated stress, add that in addition to physiological involvement has a value determinant, researchers Lazaruz and Folkman explain that in effect stress is the result of the interaction of the person and the situation, but it is the evaluative component that will determine whether or not there will be stress as well as its level. It should be mentioned that cognitive assessment is understood as that meaning or value that the person assigns to the situation, categorizing it as a threat or challenge (known as primary assessment) as well as the resources that the person has or possesses to act. Given the stressful situation, this is known as secondary assessment.

It was mentioned at the beginning that the process to minimize stress is known as coping (secondary assessment), the authors Lazarus & Folkmam define it as changing behavioral or cognitive efforts according to the situation they make their appearance to handle both internal demands as external that are evaluated as surplus or threatening. It is said that this process is changing since you can make use of defensive strategies as well as strategies that allow us to solve the problem.

Thus, if the resources that are possessed overcome the situation there will be no stress as such or in the opposite case, if the situation exceeds the personal resources to cope with the stressful situation and it is given a connotation of importance stress will be presented, for example: when a student is immersed in front of the school demand, specifically exams, if the student catalogs it with a high value of importance in addition to a greater degree of difficulty and considers that his skills and abilities as a student are lower to cope with the situation, stress is present.

The situation presented refers to the stress experienced by academics, students and teachers, given the relationship with a school environment and its demands, more formally known as academic stress. Subject of which various studies have been carried out in university students, these being the ones that are subject to various activities of the university and with high demand, as if it were not enough in truly stressful periods, which affect their well-being, as well as their performance academic.

In some research conducted to University students found that the levels of perceived stress are high and that these cause little interest in the study as well as exhaustion. In an investigation carried out to undergraduate students of the faculties of Psychology, Economics and Anthropology in a public university institution they found that the students present a high magnitude of stress in the face of demands such as homework overload, teacher evaluation, excessive material to study in so little time as well as not understanding class issues. Similarly, it was found that women are more susceptible to stressors and academic stress.

It is important to mention that students as well as people in general have strategies to cope with stress, that is, the resources to deal with the stressful situation as mentioned above and in this study it was found that the students of the bachelor's degrees do more use of certain strategy more than another.

Knowing all this and with the aim of providing support to the students, below are some techniques to deal with the aforementioned stress situations, the first is time management, the second set goals and priorities and finally a positive attitude.

Techniques for managing academic stress

Time management

The poor time management can generate the feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands, causing fatigue or apathy as well as the feeling of not being productive, this happens when students perceive excessive study material in such a short time, the suggestions are:

That students establish more realistic work schedules with rest schedules that can be used as wild spaces in unforeseen situations, in addition to prioritizing study materials according to their relevance in terms of delivery time and their importance.

Take advantage of the travel spaces between the house and the school, in the same way it is very important to leave a break of 5-10 minutes since rest periods are necessary.

You can start by registering for one week what you do on a day-to-day basis, how much time do you spend at study and homework. You must take into consideration that as a student, in addition to school, there is a need for family and other social spheres, to which you must learn to delegate responsibilities and ask for help. To complement time management and avoid overloading tasks, it must be taken to establish objectives and priorities.

Set goals and priorities

Despite implementing time management to avoid feeling overwhelmed with regard to the load of tasks which will be very useful, you should be realistic and aware of your possibilities as well as your limitations, that is to say that you must take into account the schedule Since, the day has only 24 hours and this is divided into hours of sleep, school hours, recreation hours and less space for school activity. It is important to set priorities and recognize that some things cannot be done at this time, prioritizing is a skill that you must apply in conjunction with time management. Next we will give you some recommendations.

First make a list of all the tasks, activities and commitments that you have to do in one day. Then write the importance of completing this task the benefits as well as the consequences of not completing it. After performing this activity, you order according to the following criteria:

Task A: Tasks to be achieved that day without fail.
Task B: They are important tasks but they do not need to be completed on that day. (They can become tasks A).
Tasks C: Tasks that need to be done someday, but are not really urgent at that time.

You must take into account the unforeseen as well as the interruptions, sometimes it will be necessary to sacrifice tasks B and C to complete tasks A, another point you should consider is that you must take into account the estimated time it will take you to perform the tasks and leave a space between tasks, the wild space. And finally, in general, learn to organize yourself, use agendas and schedule your activities and projects, they will be very helpful following the instructions above, time management and setting objectives (prioritize). These are behavioral aspects that can be very helpful in organizing and effectively coping with task overload.

Positive attitude

A positive attitude can be the key to carrying out the above techniques and coping with stress in a general way. It is known that our mental predisposition, our intentions take us the direction we want to go. In other words, if we have a positive attitude that we will get out of stressful situations, humor gives us a situation of control and frees us from negative and unpleasant emotions.

The psychologist Williams James raised the following “we don't laugh because we are happy, but because we are happy we laugh”. Make use of humor in the face of adverse situations to cope with and encourage others we must be clear that before the humorous attempts of others we should not be offended as it is usually seen as offensive. If you consider yourself a serious person it is important that you change the label and find that funny person in you will be useful to surround yourself with people who have this sense.

We hope that these techniques of time management, priority setting and sense of humor can be a tool to deal with the most common stressful situations among students and thus stress is not an impediment to good academic performance.

Authors: Euán Ucán Karina Aké, Carrillo Guadalupe conception, Dzul Cocom Citlalli, Knapp Narváez Lucia and Torres Lara María José.

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