Stress reduced by exercise, eating healthy officials say

Fitness Coordinator Glenda Richey leads a class at the Student Recreation Center. Stress management experts suggest exercise as a healthy way to channel and relieve stress.

by Staff Writer Luke Smith

Stress affects college students nationwide, officials said. There are various ways to deal with stress, not all of which are safe.

UNA provides counseling services to assist students who may be experiencing stress, said Lynne Martin, director of student counseling services.

“Generally, we take students through a process of assessment, which is very personalized,” she said. “We collect a lot of information, and the program is personalized with an individual approach.     

There are general stress management tips that apply to everybody, which is where we start.

“Basic stress management has to do with self-care, such as sleeping enough, eating healthily, drinking plenty of water, watching your caffeine and sugar intake and exercising. Exercise is probably our number one recommendation when you need to blow off steam,” she said.

Martin also said that learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing can be a source of relief for people dealing with stress.

She said UNA’s counseling services have assisted an average of 100 students in the last few years and that the counseling staff work about 60 hours every week with students.

UNA students deal with stress in different ways.

“I get rid of stress by listening to music,” said UNA student Andrew Finch. “If I feel under pressure, I’ll turn on Marilyn Manson, Godsmack or some other band like that, and it helps me chill.”

Other students may choose to relieve stress by venting their emotions.

“When I’m stressed, I cry,” said UNA student Katie Bagwell. “Then, to blow off steam, I try to sleep or just buckle down and get my work complete.”

Self-discipline may also be useful when dealing with stress.

“I find that the more disciplined I am, the less stress I feel,” said UNA student Michael Losey. “If I stay caught up on my studies, everything is less of a point of worry. This in turn helps me to be able to spend time resting when there is a test or class time where I need to take notes and be attentive.

“I do enjoy adult beverages, but try to always use in moderation so as not to contribute to more physical stress,” he said.

Useful skills for college students include developing and applying effective study skills, personal management skills and relationship skills.

Poor methods of stress management include ignoring stress, blaming others for one’s problems, and attempting to minimize problems.