How to Break Up with your Stress

Among college students, there's one word that always seems to be on the forefront of conversation...stress. 

Whether it's the demands that come with college academics or the struggles of #adulting, it's normal to feel that all-too familiar stress creeping in. 

The problem is when your relationship with stress extends beyond test weeks and approaching deadlines- when it stops being productive and becomes toxic

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For a long time, I equated stress with success. From a young age, I have always been the classic overachiever. Whether it was working hard for the gold star on my homework or surrendering to the pressure of upcoming deadlines- I would always justify my toxic relationship with stress. Being stressed out motivated me to do my best, so my stress became the sole source of my achievements. 

However, it soon began to take an emotional and physical toll on me. Instead of motivating me to work hard and go above and beyond (as it once had), the stress became overwhelming and paralyzing. I realized that my automatic response to "how are you doing?" became "I'm stressed." It started to control and define me. It grew toxic. 

So, I decided to try something new. I stopped saying "I'm stressed" and switched to "I'm busy." I started to take control, and organize and re-prioritize my life. I realized that I had been mistakenly declaring it as the source of my productivity, when really it wasn't. All along, it was my passion, inspiration, ambition, and determination that had allowed me to succeed.

I used to think that being an overachiever meant I had to be stressed. I used to think that breaking away from my stress would not allow me to achieve all that I wanted to achieve. I let stress define me.  

Stress is not meant to be permanent. It doesn't define or benefit you. It's not what you need or deserve. A positive approach to success, one that is focused on self-love and healthy living, is much more beneficial in the long-run. 

If you too are in a toxic relationship with stress, remember: you are worth more. Don't let stress become your automatic response and take a permanent hold on you. Take a deep breath and go easy on yourself. Focus on the good. Aim to be inspired, motivated, encouraged. Stress doesn't hold the key to your success; you do.