• Fact Sheet: Stress

    You’ve heard it before. “Stress is normal. Everyone gets stressed out at times.” These comments are true, but there’s no denying that stress can affect how you function on a daily basis. In general, it can be defined as a response to a demand that is placed upon the person. An extra burst of adrenaline can help you finish a project, perform well in athletics, or meet different challenges. These are the positive aspects of stress. The added mental alertness that we experience subsides when the challenge is over. You relax, and move on to the next event.

    Stress can be hard to define because it means different things to different people, and reactions to stress vary tremendously. Although positive in some instances, many people perceive it as a negative feeling rather than a positive one. If the person can’t return to a relaxed state, the stress becomes negative.

    College students often speak about their stress, and there are multiple factors that contribute to their stress levels. Academic demands, family, relationships, living environment, work, social concerns, financial issues, and more - together with deadlines that must be met - all contributed to the feeling that students define as “feeling overwhelmed” much of the time. It can affect you both physically with symptoms such as increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, muscle tension, and an impact on your immune system, and it can lead to psychological distress.

    Signs and Symptoms of Stress:

    • You often feel nervous or depressed.
    • Minor problems upset you excessively.
    • You aren’t satisfied with the small pleasures of life.
    • You can’t stop worrying or thinking about problems.
    • You feel inadequate or often experience self-doubt.
    • You are frequently tired.
    • You feel disorganized and sometimes confused.
    • Your judgment is poor.
    • Your concentration is poor.
    • You have become more forgetful.
    • You experience angry outbursts over minor issues.
    • Your sleeping and eating patterns have changed.
    • You experience chronic pain, headaches, backaches, or other physical symptoms.

    Additional information about stress may be found on our Web-Based Resources directory.