Checking Up: Stress awareness brings relief

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

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The expectations placed on our generation to live a perfect life in an imperfect society continue to grow. We are required to juggle sports, sororities, jobs, relationships and extra curricular activities all while maintaining a high GPA. Stress is inevitable. 

While stress may seem crippling, it is a natural reaction and is not always negative. There are positive stressors that can act as motivators. For example, if you have a test tomorrow, you will probably stress out about studying, thus the only way to get rid of this stress is to study! Unfortunately, even short spurts of stress can be hard on your body and your mind. You may get stomach-aches, sweaty palms or you may even get light headed. 

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), experiencing things such as fighting with your partner, or even a natural disaster, are so unexpectedly stressful that they have been known trigger heart attacks or arrhythmias. 

There are many things you can do to  eliminate these small amounts of stress from your life. A few options that can help you cope are getting more sleep at night, not worrying about things that are far in the future, trying to focus on one thing at a time and searching for support. 

Cassandra Cantrell, a biology advisor at WKU, is dedicated to helping students cope with  stress. She holds weekly meditation meetings at Suite Zen Therapeutic Spa at 923 College Street on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. and is free to WKU students.

“When students take time out to do this type of activity, it really does improve the quality of their life. It gives them a break from the daily stressors so that they can have some time to enjoy who they are,” Cantrell said. 

However, while some stress can be motivational, prolonged or chronic stress can cause extensive problems to your body and mind. According  to the APA, chronic stress is stress that interferes with the functioning of your daily life. The longer your stress lasts, the more damage you are inflicting on your mind and body.

When undergoing this continuous stress, you put yourself at risk for fatigue, irritability and even worrying yourself sick— iterally. When you spend every waking hour worrying, you begin to bring yourself down. This behavior may also open the gates that lead to depression. Depression is a serious mental impairment that affects your entire life. 

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or even just simply stressed out, there are many options on campus that are at your disposal. WKU offers individual counseling for all students through the Counseling and Testing Center located in Potter Hall room 409. There are also advisors for academics, finances or anything you may need assistance with. Talking with someone about any concerns you have can really allow you to feel like you are control of the situation. 

The first step in resolving your stress is figuring out where the stress is rooted, and then talking with someone about it. Everyone experiences stress and everyone adapts to it in his or her own way. It all comes down to finding a coping method like exercising or a hobby that works for you.