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Mental Health

When Your Stress Becomes a Problem & What to Do about It

Everyone gets stressed. We most likely are all (at least a little bit) stressed about something in our lives right now. Whether it’s schoolwork, your roommate, or that cute person who left you on read, there are plenty of stressors in our lives as busy college students.



If you’ve taken a health class or learned anything about stress, you know that there is good and bad stress. For example, me being slightly stressed about a paper due next week is good because it forces me to do the assignment. The bad stress can be caused by the same exact cause of good stress, it’s just stress in a greater amount. So, someone could be stressed about their same paper that I am stressed about, but they are having trouble eating and sleeping because of it. Therefore, it can be tricky to know when your stress isn’t just plain ol’ stress anymore and when you should get help.


When looking at the example of how two different people feel stressed from the same paper, it might be obvious that the person who is not eating or sleeping needs help. It might not be as obvious to the person experiencing that stress. If the person doesn’t communicate with others about this stress, they might think that everyone is this stressed over the paper, and that once the paper is done the problem is done. That is not the case most of the time because there are always going to be stressors in life, and the way we deal with them is important.

Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be able to cope with stress perfectly all the time, but it is important to keep a healthy balance.  



But how exactly do you tell if your stress isn’t healthy?


Ask yourself this question: Is it inhibiting me from functioning normally in my day to day life? 


If you answered yes, managing stress is a skill that you need to work on, but don’t worry you don’t have to do it alone.


Although this question is a good thing to ask yourself, if you didn’t answer yes, it doesn’t mean that stress is not something that could be worked on. Keep in mind that when stress is inhibiting your daily life, it’s safe to say the stress has gotten out of hand. To prevent it from going this far, be aware of your response to stressors and how extreme it is. If you are concerned, even just a little it never hurts to ask for help. 


What’s next?

Now that you know your stress is unhealthy, reach out. If you’re a student at WSU, there are a ton of (free!) resources right at your fingertips. 


One that I highly recommend is the counseling services in the IWC. It’s free and they make sure to do their best to set you up with a good match. They also have other events and resources in the Wellness Complex in general, like Winston, a therapy dog, and yoga classes. 


Something that really anyone can do is reach out to their friends and people they trust. Talking to somebody about the thoughts running through your head can make them seem a lot less scary. Reaching out for help doesn’t make you weak, in fact, it makes you strong because you realized you needed help and proactively sought it out. 


While I encourage seeking help, sometimes you need some coping skills you can use yourself. I highly recommend these two:


1.  Journaling 

Jot down whatever is in your mind. Do so without judgment, let yourself be as raw as possible. This is for you.


2.  Mindfulness (or meditation in general)

This is a sort of meditation technique in which you ground yourself on your breathing. There are tons of resources out there that cover mindfulness as well as videos walking you through the process. 


I know that stress can make us overwhelmed and pretty sh*tty but it doesn’t have to. Happy Stress Awareness Week!




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Grace Jacobs

Winona '22

Grace Jacobs is a freshman at Winona State majoring in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Early Childhood. She has worked with kids since she was a kid herself and loves every moment of it. She is from Elk River (which many people haven’t heard of) and was on the speech team there for a couple years and was very excited when she made it to State. This is her first year in Her Campus, and she is very excited to pour her heart into articles on such a great platform. She enjoys painting, writing, hammocking, and hanging out with her friends.
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