Living: Boundaries reduce stress

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By Neven Jones

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Stress is on the rise for many students this time of year because of midterms.

Student development Professor Suzanna Borawski said it is common for students to be stressed during important exam periods.

Stress is the body’s automatic response to physical and mental demands placed on it.

Borawski said moderate levels of stress might improve performance and efficiency.

When stress is seen as a positive force rather than a negative one, some stress can be a positive, Borawski said.

“This is my body’s natural response to a challenge and my body is preparing for it,” she said. “That adrenaline that’s being released is giving me that energy to face whatever challenge I need to face.”

Too much stress, however, can cause an unproductive anxiety level.

Being able to identify the source of stress can help minimize its effect.

Work, school, finances or relationships can cause stress, she said.

Deep breathing helps calm people psychologically and physiologically, thus reducing stress levels, Borawski said.

It is also important to have a good support network, such as friends, family, peers, professors and tutors.

It is important to know when to ask for help, she said.

Because many students have family responsibilities in addition to schoolwork, setting personal boundaries can help reduce stress.

Students should be able to say “no” to family and friends when they need to study.

Borawski said, “It’s OK to say no and set those good boundaries.”

Another way to reduce stress is through exercise because physical movement helps release adrenaline, and meditation or prayer will help focus the mind.

“Finding a hobby that enriches your soul and makes you happy can also help to recharge those batteries,” Borawski said.

But if one’s stress is chronic and causing anxiety, mood swings or depression, it needs to be addressed by a professional.

This college offers students free counseling sessions. Set appointments in the Balditt Counseling Complex on the first floor of Moody Learning Center.

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