Stress as a Positive?

My name is Conor and this is my first opportunity to blog to all of you this school year. I can’t believe that it is already October. Hopefully everyone has had some time to adjust to the school year and have had some fun. Particularly those of you in first year, many of who are dealing with living away from home for the first time.

Now…the school year is in full flight, meaning that midterms are upon us!

Many of you will be experiencing stress as you begin to study for your midterms. Stress is determined by the balance between the perceived demands of the environments and an individual’s resources to meet those demands. Stress is a natural feeling during exam time. Common cause of stress (or stressors) during exams include expectations to perform well, and lack of time to study.

Many of us don’t realize that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. There is eustress and distress. Eustress is positive, whereas distress is negative. The relationship between eustress and distress can be seen in the graph below.

From the American Institute of Stress via creativecommons
From the American Institute of Stress via creativecommons

The graph shows that moderate stress leads to an increased level of performance. However, too much stress will lead to a decrease in performance.

Now here are a few ways to manage stress:

Exercise. Even during exams, 20-30 minutes of exercise, whether that is a run or resistance training, is very doable. Exercise helps reduce stress by releasing endorphins and improving sleep. Additionally exercise is proven to improve academic performance by increasing oxygen flow to the brain and by increasing brain neurotransmitters!

Nutrition. Make sure you maintain a balanced diet.

Sleep. Get at least 7-8 hours a night. Not only does sleep reduce stress, it also improves your brain ability to function.

That’s it from me. Good luck with your midterms! Study hard and stay healthy.

Conor.