Every university student understands what it means to be stressed. Whether it comes from receiving a poor grade or from failing to prepare for a test the next day, stress and college always seem to intertwine. This is especially true for pre-med students, who must excel in their academics to stand a chance at obtaining admissions into medical school.

However, stress is not always a bad thing. Can stress actually be good for you? Janet DiPietro, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins believes it to be true. “Think about your daily life – when do you get things done? When you have a deadline, when you have to perform. You want some stress to help you do your best.”

The problem comes when the stress level exceeds one’s threshold. When stress level is high and enduring, it can cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, and heart disease. If you believe you are suffering from high stress, take to action some of the tips listed below. Let’s make stress productive, not detrimental. 

1. Do not procrastinate

There is a reason why this is at the top: it is the main reason that students’ stress levels are so high. When you procrastinate, you will undoubtedly face a heavy load of stress. You’ll become overwhelmed at the amount of material you need to digest and it’ll discourage you from studying at all. Studies show that if you manage your time well, you not only perform better, but you face lower levels of stress. Moral of the story? Do not procrastinate.

2. Make sure to socialize

Socialization is absolutely critical to combat high levels of stress. Social support is often associated with the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which functions to bring down anxiety. In addition, spending time with peers, friends and family can help direct your energy outward and not inward. Socializing can also help motivate students by strengthening a sense of purpose. So please, go out with your friends, join a study group, or go to office hours. Do anything that will surround you with people who can help you.

3. Go get some exercise

The Mayo Clinic writes, “exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” So what should you do the next time you feel your stress level is increasing? Take a jog, throw the football, punch a punching bag, or do some yoga. Do anything that can release those endorphins.

4. Eat a balanced meal

Research has shown that a healthy diet can help fight off high levels of stress; however, an unhealthy diet can contribute negatively to stress. Avoid caffeine, skipping meals, and binge eating. Instead, try eating breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables, and milk. It is also important you drink a lot of water. WebMD has a more detailed list of foods you should eat and avoid.

5. Sleep

Pre-med students are notorious for not getting enough sleep. However, sleeping 7-8 hours a day will do wonders not only on your stress level, but your academic performance. When a student sleeps only a couple hours a night, he or she will become easily agitated which can contribute to even more stress. Study daily, finish your assignments early, and manage your time well so that you can obtain a healthy dose of sleep.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ProspectiveDoctor. Follow ProspectiveDoctor on Twitter @ProspectiveDr

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