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This time of the year can be a mixed blessing. At the same time that the weather is so enjoyable, many students are in the midst of preparing for final exams, projects and papers, end-of-the-year celebrations, proms and other time-consuming activities.

And, what does all of this activity and pressure to succeed…or finish generate on a regular basis? That’s right. You guessed it. Stress.

Evidently, stress in and of itself is not bad thing. In fact, it can be normal and healthy.

According to this Drexel University site designed for students:

Stress is our mind and body’s reaction to any perceived physical or mental demands placed upon us. When we perceive a situation as dangerous or threatening, or don’t believe we have the resources to cope with the situation, we often experience stress and may have a “fight or flight response.” This is when our body rushes to protect itself – it’s a survival response.

Having some amount of stress is adaptive and protective. It helps us prepare for challenges and alerts us to danger. Also, a certain amount of stress helps us perform at our best and adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity for growth.

Not all stress is bad for you. There are two types of stress:

Distress – a chronic feeling of being overwhelmed with little relief in sight.

Eustress – a push that allows us to engage with the challenges and opportunities in life that are meaningful to us.

This sites ends with recommendations on ways to reduce stress levels. I particularly like “Change your attitude.” and “Be realistic.” I often ask myself whether a challenge or situation is really life-threatening. If not, I can handle it. And, if it is life-threatening, or I can’t handle it…I know where to go to get help.

Yes, I think this is funny. (source: Science Geek Girl blog)

Yes, I think this is funny. (source: Science Geek Girl blog)

More ways to handle stress (in no particular order):

  • Identify and eliminate some of the stressors
  • Clean your desk
  • Take breaks
  • Learn to say “no”
  • Get regular exercise
  • Laugh, use humor
  • Find a support system
  • Reclaim your confidence
  • Be a friend to yourself