Coping with Stress

What is stress?

  • A lock of fit between the perceived demands of the environment and the perceived ability to cope with those demands.
  • For example, some people overestimate the demands of exams and underestimate their ability to succeed.  Consequently, they suffer stress and anxiety.

What causes stress?

  • Physical environment: noise, heat, amount of personal space.
  • Too much work to do or badly planned and organised work.
  • Not meeting deadlines.
  • Perceived lack of control.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Poor diet.
  • Too much alcohol.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Being too much of a perfectionist.

How do we react to stress?

  • Physiological: increased heart rate and blood pressure, exhaustion.
  • Behavioural: withdrawal, anti-social, overworking to compensate, drink and eat too much.
  • Physchological: become irritable, depressed, anxious.

Why is stress a problem?

  • Once recent study by psychologists at Coventry University found that more than half of a sample of 'A' level students found exams very or extremely stressful.  Many also reported loss of sleep and appetite, headaches, binge eating and drinking.
  • Stress self evidently causes anxiety.
  • Stress interferes with effective learning.

How to deal with stress 

  • Plan and organise your work.
  • Work regularly and steadily.
  • Get fresh air and exercise.
  • Do not cut yourself off.
  • Eat regularly and sensibly.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Have some fun.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Talk to parents, friends, teachers if things are getting you down.
  • Get academic work in perspective.  It is not all there is to life!