Stress management tips for stress awareness month

Written by: Claire Phillips | Entertainment Editor

Content warning: this article contains mentions of mental health struggles.

As students begin to gear up for midterms, stress begins to build up as well. Losing oneself in school or work is easy, and once the situation is realized, it’s a slippery slope to recovery. During stress awareness month, the Howl and Western’s Student Health and Counseling Center want to make students aware of the resources they have available to them.

Western’s Student Health and Counseling Center provides a variety of resources: immunizations, counseling and women’s health care. The SHCC website states: “We continue to evaluate our needs and the needs of students to ensure great care in a timely manner. We continue to provide counseling and medical services to eligible students.” 

There are factors college students may not realize contribute to stress. Stress can either be acute or chronic, and it is important to recognize the distinction. Both are equally important to attend to depending on the situation. Acute stress is short-term and may be caused by sitting in commute traffic, while chronic stress is long-term and may be caused by job dissatisfaction, tumultuous family life or a sport. 

When one is experiencing stress, it is important to catch it early on. Stress, especially chronic stress, can lead to physical health concerns such as insomnia and high blood pressure. However, the mental aspect of stress or anxiety has the greatest impact during the time the person is experiencing it. Scott Perfect, LPC, NCC and the counseling director at Western’s Student Health and Counseling Center, explained, “Neuroscience tells us that stress incites arousal of our limbic system (fight or flight) through the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and other mechanisms.”

Each student has different stressors and needs, so each must also be treated accordingly. The SHCC considers this with each student.

Additional measures to take to ease stress may be practiced within the comfort of one’s home. Journaling, stretching and meal planning are simple strategies that one can work into their daily schedule. 

Mayo Clinic provides the four A’s for managing stress — avoid, alter, accept and adapt. Planning may help one avoid potential stressors, such as learning boundaries. Altering the environment around you, such as communicating with those around you and managing time, may change the situation for the better. Talking out feelings and learning from one’s mistakes is part of the acceptance process of stress management. Changing expectations and standards finishes the four A’s within the adapting stage.

“The blueprint for humans appears to have some random and idiosyncratic elements. There is no one answer to manage stress and this is why I suggest students take advantage of the Student Health and Counseling Center by meeting with a counselor so that their stress management strategies and responses can be customized for them,” Perfect said.

Student Health and Counseling Center: 503.838.8313 |

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