Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Feeling Stressed? Good! But Stay Calm
We want to be in the middle of that bell curve when stress leads to increased attention and interest, but right before it causes strong anxiety.
As you climb toward optimal performance, you have to stay calm because once you lose your cool, well, that can quickly lead to a "complete meltdown." So what do successful people do to stay cool?
Travis Bradberry over at Forbes.com offers us some insight about how successful people stay calm.
Appreciate what you have. "Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn't merely the 'right' thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%." Remember, 99 percent of the world's population, alive or dead, would love to be a college student in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Avoid asking what if? "Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go." At least wait until after you've taken your last final - for now just study.
Stay positive. "Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free." What are you going to do after finals? Going on a vacation, going home?
Disconnect. "Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7." Turn the phone off - I mean power it down - and then go for a walk while looking at nature, not your cell phone screen. Remember, the best studying is done in 30-minute stretches surrounded by small breaks.
Limit your caffeine intake. Yikes! This would be tough. How about no caffeine after 2:00 p.m., so you can . . .
Sleep. Studies have shown that adolescents (and some of you are not far from adolescence) need as much sleep as toddlers. Your bodies and brains are changing so fast that your body needs time to recharge. No studying until 3:00 a.m. - try studying some every day.
Squash negative talk. Especially interior negative talk. This is a bad habit some of us fall into. So take a gossip break, no badmouthing others, no badmouthing yourself. It just leads to a negative attitude.
Breathe. Yes, take a deep breath instead of destroying your computer after you hit delete instead of save. BTW as soon as you open a new document save it, and then save it often.
Use your support system. You should have quite a support system by now. If you can't remember the assignment, there's an email tool inside all your class websites. Use it.
I bet there are a lot of successful college students out there. What do you do to stay calm in the face of stress?