Dealing with stress

Do you regularly suffer from stress? Recognise the signs in yourself and learn to relax. Get some exercise or do relaxation exercises. And maybe mindfulness training is for you.
What is it? 

It is important to remember that stress is a form of the basic emotion fear. So it is good that you have an idea in the back of your mind of what fear entails and how it works.  


Fear is one of the basic emotions and has an evolutionary function namely protecting ourselves. Without fear, we might put ourselves in high-risk situations with all the consequences that entails. However, through our upbringing history, past and experiences, we develop a "blueprint" of situations and things we should be afraid of. 


For example: In principle, a look from a student in class is not very threatening. However, it can be perceived as threatening (you get stressed by it) if you have learned in your past that this can be dangerous. Think of someone who has been bullied and condemned by others. 


In the latter case, we note that there is no threatening stimulus but only a trigger for you that causes this stimulus to be perceived as threatening by you. Often it is then your thoughts that cause this; "She looks at my hair and she thinks it's ridiculous...". 


Stress while studying is usually triggered by these internal thoughts that make you alert and/or anxious. 

Ambience photo Fontys
These are common thoughts: 
  • "If I fail this test I will disappoint my parents"
  • "Others do this so easily, why can't I do this"
  • "If I fail then my student debt will rise"
Manifestations of stress:

Physically and in behaviour:

  • Poor sleep
  • Physical complaints (neck, head, back, intestinal complaints,....)
  • Procrastination
  • Working hard or just getting demotivated
  • Drug use/alcohol consumption
  • More or less appetite

Emotionally and cognitively:

  • Increased or decreased libido
  • Crying fits
  • Listlessness
  • Restlessness
  • Dejection
  • (hyper)Energetic
  • Loss of concentration