How can we avoid stress and anxiety as students? Treating yourself better and being less self-critical is one suggestion you might want to consider. The reason is that blaming yourself for all of the bad in your life and in the world around you can cause deeply negative feelings.
Psychologists say that people have more anxiety if they think that worrying is a good thing. It looks like the same might hold true for negativity and sometimes depression.
So if you try to be nice to yourself and to think positively about the world around you, and if you avoid falling victim to the assumption that harsh self-criticism is positive, you might also avoid experiencing the kind of stress and sadness common to university students.
It’s especially important for us as students to pay attention to the way that we think and talk to ourselves. We’re susceptible to these harmful feelings because of the stressful situation that we find ourselves in, namely the demands of higher education.
Stressful events in people’s lives play a major role in shaping how we think and feel about ourselves too.
If the transition to school life is a difficult one, we might try to find a way to explain feeling stressed. When students blame themselves for stressful events, whether inside or out of school, they become vulnerable to depression.
Why doesn’t being harsh on yourself help with grades and motivation? Because self-blame can cause self-doubt, and a big sign of stress and anxiety is a lack of motivation.
Other things to look out for include poor sleep (which can cause bad moods) and changes in eating habits. So if being nice to yourself can help in avoiding stress and anxiety, well what other sorts of things can I be doing? What if being nicer to myself isn’t enough?
Brock University has resources for students who are experiencing this difficult issue, or who just need someone to talk to about events in their lives that they’ve had trouble coping with. Counselling services on the fourth floor of the tower is there for students in these situations, as well as for students who want counselling for other personal reasons.
Social support, even from friends you can confide it, has strong evidence to show that it helps combat stress. If you’re really hurting and need more support than you can get from counselling you can also go to Student Health Services near academic south, where they have a psychiatrist on-site, a mental health nurse, and can provide you with community crisis lines available 24/7.
Even if you’re someone who has a hard time being positive, and you find that you’re experiencing stress and anxiety, there is help out there, and you can find it. There is always someone willing to help.
All it takes to be positive is adding the word “not” to “it’s hopeless” (and to seek appropriate professional help). There’s no reason to beat yourself up no matter how bad things get or how badly you wanted that grade I’m no expert, but I’ve experienced depression myself.
There’s strong evidence that negative thinking patterns (like self-blame and harsh criticism of yourself and the world) cause stress and anxiety.
I’ve only just started trying to lighten up on myself, and it really makes a fundamental difference in how you feel about yourself on daily basis.
Like me, you might find that when you start treating yourself a little better, that you feel less anxiety in social situations. Or maybe we’ll both have learned first-hand that there are people working at Brock who truly are there to look out for your well-being. Whatever the case may be, I hope that you find a way to be stress-free this school year.