Stress is seen as the ‘big taboo’. Something that is unwanted and should be avoided. But that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, stress is often the driving force that pushes you to work harder towards achieving something i.e. a qualification.
Yet, there is a limit to how much stress we can each handle. Left unchecked, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, leading to other real and worse problems.
So what can you do? How can you control stress, identify triggers and take preventative measures to protect yourself so you don’t get lost? How can you ensure stress doesn’t suck out all the joy from your studies?
Step One: Organisation
The biggest and most important step is to be organised. By getting your work in order and proactively managing your studies, you can create an environment free of stress.
The trick is to: organise and plan your study time; organise your work environment, desk and study materials (e.g. keep your space clean of clutter), and ensure you have got everything you need within easy reaching distance.
Step Two: Exercise and fresh air
It is easy when deadlines loom to put your head down and stop taking breaks so that you can get your assignment done faster.
Now, whilst on the surface this sound great – taking a ‘less haste, less speed’ approach can help you to focus better.
The problem is, speed doesn’t always equate to quality – or you comprehending what you are trying to learn if you’re revising. Instead, taking a break; going for a short walk or simply sitting outside in the fresh air, can all help you to gather your thoughts, push back the stress and allow you to re-evaluate the situation.
Step Three: Distractions
No one likes distractions. Not only are they annoying but having to listen to clicking pens and keyboards can push your stress levels over the edge.
Now, you might think that the simple solution to solving this would be to block out these annoying habits/distractions. But attempting this can actually make you more stressed. It’s true! That is why experts advise you to instead tune into these distractions as they will eventually disappear. For instance, instead of thinking so hard about these distractions and how you hate them, simply accept that they are there. This will loosen their grip on you and allow you to refocus on your work.
Step Four: Talk
No one said studying was easy. It can be a challenge to manage it all – your studies, your family, your social commitments – it is natural to feel a little overwhelmed.
Now whilst organising your time and searching for solutions can help you to manage stress. Often the easiest thing you can do is talk. Talking to someone about how you’re feeling, for instance your partner, friends or a fellow student/tutor, can help you to deal with this stress as they can offer you a new perspective, as well as tips on how to deal with it. They will understand how you are feeling as they will have been in a similar situation themselves.
Step Five: Change your view on stress
Like we mentioned at the start of this post, stress doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Instead of letting it trigger your ‘flight’ instinct, learn how to stay and fight, and use it to overcome this particular challenge.
The trick is taking the time to understand how stress makes you feel. Does it impact on your sleep? Does the quality of your work suffer? Acknowledge how it affects you personally, and you will then be able to take steps to change your negative reactions into something positive.
For instance, neuro-linguistic programming courses can help you to change the way you think and handle things such as stress (visit our website for more details).
As you can see, stress doesn’t have to negatively impact on your learning experience. Learn how to control it and turn it to your advantage, and you too can achieve the qualifications you want, but on your own terms.
For more tips on handling stress, visit our website.