Stress is a critical part of the human experience, but few actually know how to properly manage stress and its entirety. Despite carrying a negative stigma, stress can be viewed differently depending on situational circumstances. Negative stress is the mental drain that manifests through changes in mood, behaviour and bodily responses. In academia however, stress is not always a negative experience as it has the potential to be applied positively. Positive stress can be utilised as an opportunity to push students of all ages to reach their full potential.
Stress management can be broken down into general essential categories such as, organisation, nutrition and balance. However, to ensure their efficacy, students must be mindful of negative stress symptoms, study in an efficacious manner and avoid overloading themselves.
Managing Stress Through Proper Organisation
Organisation is the most important step to managing stress, the cliché remains true, “if you fail to plan – you are planning to fail”. This first step into organising oneself in an academic environment can take many forms, these can include, reading ahead on content for the term, recording and tracking assessment due dates and developing a personalised study schedule allows for a balance between schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. Undertaking any or all of these organisational activities provides students a significant advantage as it incorporates revision into their lives on a consistent basis and allows for learning consolidation and reduces stress stemming from academic performance.
These first steps provide students an advantageous opportunity for academic growth as well as a decrease of negative stress, however, the decrease of stress felt by completion of these tasks can be enhanced with further academic success by the addition of proper time management.
By beginning exam preparation weeks prior to exam dates allows for a student to prepare study documents, co-ordinate exam studying with exam dates and assessing what they need to work on. Going forward, preforming practise assessment, thinking of appropriate exam strategies on top of revision further prepares the student for the exam environment.
Underpinning the organisation is the ability to study and prepare effectively. Despite sounding obvious, developing successful study strategy is something that can only be accomplished on an individual basis. Effective study comes from the combination of adapting a positive growth mindset, creating a designated studying area, setting goals, managing your time and using studying strategies that coincide with your learning language and that works for you. Repetition of these positive habits lead to being able to decrease the impact of negative stress and boost academic performance.
Why Nutrition and Good Routine Can Help Reduce Study Stress
Studying’s potential for producing positive outcomes and reducing stress can be drastically improved through the consuming nutritious foods, ensuring consistent and adequate sleep, as well as plenty of physical exercise. It is widely recognised by both schools and scientists alike that, proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise, significantly improve the ability to recall information, reduce stress, increases focus and concentration and improves cognition, etc. With the foundation of a consistent and efficacious studying schedule, ensuring time for these components to be completed, maximises a student’s ability to simultaneously learn and understand class content and reduce their individual stress.
Maintaining balance, is a crucial skill for students to have. This is not only for balancing sleep, exercise and good food with schoolwork, but also balancing socialisation. A student’s ability to maintain equilibrium between studying and socialising is a skill that many have difficulty with.
We all know that given the opportunity, the majority of students would rather spend time with friends and loved ones rather than spend hours revising schoolwork. This need to socialise is part of our human nature, however, socialising is not as detrimental to study as one might think. Socialising allows a chance to relax, refresh, and develop relationships, all of which have positive impacts within an academic environment and can be effective in reducing stress. Furthermore, socialisation can be a motivating factor for students who would choose to be able to spend their leisure time free of any underlying pressure from looming due dates. However, balance, is key when it comes to schoolwork and socialising. Schoolwork is generally considered the higher priority, and therefore any social events should be scheduled in where they will not conflict with either assessment due dates or designated time for study or assignment work that cannot be made up for within a close timespan.
Overall, stress’s negative impacts can be negated with the proper organisational, time management skills and physical and mental nourishment. By turning stress into an advantageous and positive experience student are able increase favourable outcomes, increase their capacity to learn, and gain skills that facilitate extra-curricular activities and socialisation into their life in a manner that will not lead to an increase in stress. Moreover, organisation and time management skills can not only be useful in classroom and examination environments but are skills that if understood can serve into adulthood.
How to Avoid Study Stress
Stress management is also about recognising the symptoms of experiencing negative stress, which may occur within varying degrees of severity. Negative stress can manifest in changes in behaviour, mood or in extreme cases impact students physically and should not be ignored by student, teachers or parents. Symptoms of negative stress may include, sleeping problems, tiredness, muscle tension, indigestion, anxiety, social withdrawal and irritability. In severe cases, students may gain or lose weight or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
The negative stress that students experience is often the result of neglect of schoolwork, perceived unpreparedness for one or more assessment/s, or as a result of receiving a mark that they feel does not reflect the amount of effort put in. In order to avoid or reduce the effects of negative stress, maintaining organisation with schoolwork and other commitments, constant consolidation of covered content and mindfulness of due dates as well as personal goals, are indisputable methods of using stress in a constructive and beneficial manner.
Avoiding overworking and cramming large amounts of revision in short amounts of time is one of the best things a student can do to reduce their stress levels. The panic and anxiety of long nights before assessments due dates is something most of us have experienced, in a desperate attempt to retain just a bit more information. However, some research suggests that the negative impacts of late-night cramming outweigh the perceived benefits of an extra night’s worth of revision. The combination of lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, can lead to mental and physical exhaustion, that can have detrimental effects on the student’s performance in an exam or in writing an assignment. This is not to say that any and all revision done the night before a due date can lead to academic disaster. The study done on the night before should be considered final preparation and consolidation on study already completed weeks before the due date. Furthermore, cramming not only causes physical and mental exhaustion but can lead to exam anxiety and false confidence, which may also lead to negative impacts on assessment performance. Naturally, the pressure that is felt on the eve of the assessment is immense and is often the most stressful nights of the academic year.
In order to reduce this, students should consider organising themselves at the beginning of each term, setting aside time on a regular basis to study, identifying studying techniques appropriate for both the subject assessed and that is effective for the learning language of the student.
Develop Good Study Habits and Stress No More!
The maintenance of optimal study performance as well as reflection and evaluation are vital to the student’s academic performance and management of stress. Many students are aware of the necessities of the aforementioned methodologies of study and work diligently for their academic rewards, however they lack the ability to properly de-stress and utilise their time once the assessment is over. Academic burnout is a phenomenon that is experienced by many students and can have many harmful effects on a students’ future. Academic burnout has three main causations, a combination of overstudy, poor social environments and rigidity when it comes to study regime. This may be a result of family pressure, peer pressure feelings of insecurity or association of academic performance to personal identity. Each of these components can directly cause stress and can cause other negative psychological outcomes. The ability to unwind and calmly process and evaluate your results after assessment is vital for increasing or maintaining academic performance. This provides a chance to properly ready oneself for the next term. Fortunately, the holidays provide students the chance to properly unpack the pervious term and hit the ground running in the next term.
If you or your child struggles with study stress our team of tutors can help your child develop the right habits! Contact us now and find out how our academic personal training is more than just tutoring, but more a whole study transformation!