» By Linda Sapp


We all create our own stress. This semester it would be a good idea to identify how we are doing this.

Some people tend to lose their perspective and, instead of thinking in a positive way, begin to set up mind traps.

Many students enter final exams thinking, “If I don’t get an A on this exam, I might fail the course.”

Then the anxiety builds up, and it’s possible to actually make a lower grade given the additional stress.

Teresa Prendes-Walls, counseling psychologist at Student Counseling Services, called this process “catastrophizing.”

Prendes-Walls said she believes students should be realistic and change the way they think.

“Eat well, get more sleep, be around friends and get out of your room,” Prendes-Walls said.

She shared her view of other things we can all do, such as going for walks, taking breaks, studying with friends, designing a schedule and getting exercise.

Exercise can sometimes be blamed for causing tiredness, but this is the opposite of what exercise can do for people.

When people walk or participate in sports or any other exercise, the heart rate and metabolic rate increase to release endorphins in the brain.

People will tend to feel a sense of euphoria and calmness, which helps focus and general well-being. Exercise does not make people feel tired.

It is important to know what causes stress — then it is easier to determine what helps and what doesn’t.

At this point, people are able to stage a plan to reduce the stress.

During finals, students need to take care of their bodies. If a student starts to worry about exams, it is important to breathe deeply and slowly.

Take time to enjoy a daydream about the things that are enjoyable and refocus back on the exam and how well it will go.

During finals there are also a lot of distractions both on and off campus. Learn to say “no” to others if you start doing more for them than your time allows. Students can benefit by doing things at which they excel and making a list of their strengths.

If you have any health problems, don’t ignore the symptoms because that may only lead to more stress. If all else fails, seek assistance from a professional if you are unable to deal with the stress level.

Try not to “cram,” but if you do, don’t forget about the Pre Cram Jam at the Foy Center at 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.

They will offer a photo book and snow globes in which to put the pictures.

There will be an oxygen bar available to help with relaxation. Students will be able to smell flavors and enjoy food, smoothies and inflatables, among other attractions.  This is a great opportunity to be around others and get out of the dorm to take a break.

Stress is a normal part of life, but the true secret to dealing with stress is learning how to manage it. Some stress can be beneficial, but too much stress is where problems erupt. Never ignore stress.

Good luck with finals, and congratulations on reaching the end of another semester. TAS