It’s NORMAL to feel stressed, especially as a college student. In fact, stress is a fundamental requirement for growth. Increased stress results increased productivity. According to the American Institute of Stress, any stress that motivates you toward an optimal level of performance is defined as eustress (positive stress). However, there is a point in which things can go rapidly downhill in which eustress becomes distress, according to the American Institute of Stress. If your stress response doesn’t stop firing and levels stay elevated, it can take a toll on your health. Distress, also referred to as chronic stress, can negatively impact our health and well-being and lead to problems such as burnout and isolation. The point in which eustress becomes distress differs for everyone, so you need to be sensitive to the early warning symptoms and signs that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over the hump.
After becoming aware of your symptoms of stress and stressors (real or imagined situations and circumstances that are perceived to be a threat or that which causes stress), you CAN increase your ability to effectively cope with stress by using healthy coping mechanisms, such as applying the 4 A’s of stress management: