“There is a misperception that other students are doing more or better than you are. But chances are, people around you are struggling just as much as you are.”
– Dr. Yong Sue Park, staff psychologist, Engemann Student Counseling
Adapting to the pressures of college can be stressful. The Stress Relief Clinic in Engemann Student Counseling offers individual consultations to reduce negative stress, as well as drop-in lunchtime workshops every Thursday packed with tips for lowering stress. Students can assess sources of stress and learn strategies to reduce them. The clinic offers body-mind tools such as biofeedback and mindfulness classes, and its weekly series of Stress Fitness Workshops arms students with new skills to reduce stress—and to meet fellow students.
The Office of Wellness and Health Promotion also hosts daily Happy Hour yoga and therapy dog sessions, and is open to students who just want to relax in a massage chair with a cup of tea.
Visit the Stress Relief Clinic in ESHC 304 and OWHP in ESHC 203.
Did You Know?
More than one-third of U.S. college freshmen reported feeling frequently overwhelmed by all they had to do – “The American Freshman,” (2014), Higher Education Research Institute.
Is there such a thing as “good” stress?
Most of us think of stress as a negative, but it really is a natural state that allows us to act and respond quickly, which can be beneficial under the right circumstances. Short-term stress (running for a bus, completing a task) can heighten performance. When you run from one stress event to another without a break to relax and recover, stress can turn chronic, which impairs normal functions of the immune and digestive system and increases susceptibility to conditions like depression.
Bodies in motion, bodies at rest
Stress is a natural and necessary biological response that we all know about. When kicked into gear, it can help the body respond quickly to situations. But just as important as the “fight or flight” response is the “rest and digest” state when the body returns to a state of recovery and regular function.
“It’s natural to struggle with questions about our purpose in life and with the stress of meeting all the demands we put on ourselves,” said Yong Sue Park, PhD, staff psychologist in Engemann Student Counseling. “A lot of it stems from anxiety about the future. Students are worried about what they’re going to do after graduation and in their career.”
It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this struggle, Park said, and to seek out social connections. Some students have a hard time letting their guard down, reaching out for support, or sharing with peers. That can lead to a feeling of imbalance, where students act like things are going well when they’re not. Some students will withdraw and isolate themselves, so they do not get the support they need. “Social isolation really aggravates stress and anxiety,” Park said.
If stress feels overwhelming or if you are living with grief, past abuse, homesickness or a mental illness, make an appointment with Student Counseling Services at (213) 740-7711 (UPC) or (323) 442-5631 (HSC), or call your primary care physician listed on your healthcare insurance card.
If you are concerned about the well-being of a fellow Trojan, share your concerns anonymously at Trojans Care 4 Trojans (TC4T) to initiate a follow-up call or visit.
Three Tips to Manage Occasional Stress
- S.T.O.P.: Stop; Take a few Breaths, Observe the present, and Proceed with a positive activity.
- Half-smile: Holding a half-smile for 10 minutes positively impacts your mood.
- Mantra: Create a simple, affirmative saying. Repeat it during times of stress and focus on the meaning of the words. For example, “I have enough, I do enough, and I am enough.”