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Stress 101: Dealing with Academic Stress

Just from the standard schoolwork that students must manage and study, there is a lot to be learned. Add to this their parents, friends, and family members who put a lot of pressure on them. In addition to their expectations, their post-educational aspirations should also be taken into consideration. To this, you also need to take into account the fact that students have to deal with matters relevant to their social and personal life outside of the classroom.

Academic stress is the type of stress that students have the most control over, giving them the opportunity to deal with it and manage it so that it has a less negative effect on them. Academic stress is described as “a student's psychological state resulting from continuous social and self-imposed pressure in a school environment that depletes the student's psychological reserves” (Zhang, 2022).

What most people don’t recognize or take more seriously is that excessive academic stress may have harmful consequences for students' mental and physical health, including substance usage, sleep quality, and academic performance, among other aspects (Pascoe, 2019). Nevertheless, there are several strategies that students may use to deal with, control, and minimize their academic stress. Let’s know more about the strategies!

Acknowledge the Problem

Students must first recognize that their stress is a concern that has to be confronted with and not disregarded if they are to overcome it. Due to their level of involvement and distress, students may not even be aware that they need assistance; some may even be in denial about it. The first step in making improvements in handling stress better is acknowledging that there is a problem.

How Do You Recognize When the Stress is Too Much?

According to The Jed Foundation (2021), here are some indicators of excessive stress that some of you or someone you know may be experiencing:

Find the source of stress:

  • Is it a particular class or type of work?

  • Is it an issue of time management and prioritization?

  • Do you have too much on your plate?

  • Is it due to family expectations or financial obligations?

Pinpoint how that stress is affecting you:

  • Is the stress preventing you from sleeping?

  • Is it making you take longer to do the work or paralyzing you from even starting?

  • Is it causing you to feel anxious, unwell, or depressed?

Common Signs that You Need More Support

According to JED (2021), knowing when stress becomes overwhelming and negatively impacts your general mental health and well-being is crucial. Here are several indicators that you might require assistance:

  • Insomnia or chronic trouble sleeping

  • Inability to motivate

  • Anxiety that results in physical symptoms (hair loss, nail-biting, losing weight)

  • Depression (not wanting to spend time with friends, making excuses, sleeping excessively)

  • Mood swings (bursting into tears, bouts of anger)

Start From Within

Starting to work on changes you can make to yourself and your lifestyle is the best course of action. Among the many self-management techniques you may use are:

  • Focus on What You Can Control – You are not in complete control of everything that is happening to you. It is preferable to begin by concentrating solely on the things you can control and leaving the things you cannot manage alone. Overanalyzing situations you can't control won't help you.

  • Make To-Do Lists – You may handle your responsibilities in a more structured way by making to-do lists. This would show you what you can put off for another day as well as help you organize your priorities and what has to be done on specific days. Your tasks won't intimidate you if you can clearly see what has to be done.

  • Time Management – Knowing what has to be done when and how to manage your time effectively will be beneficial to you. Your mental and physical health might thrive from having set aside time for work and breaks to focus on activities other than schoolwork.

  • Create a Rewards System – You would be more motivated to continue working if you gave yourself a reward, whether it be monetary or as simple as having time to relax and breathe in between academics.

  • Forgive Yourself – Making mistakes and not being perfect are very normal. It wouldn't be beneficial for you to dwell on any errors or shortcomings you may have made in the past. What's important is your ability to grow from it and try again.

Seek Support: Communicate

Simply letting your frustration out in a constructive way is a great approach to really getting clear of it. Never bottle your feelings inside; instead, talk to those you trust and who you know will encourage you and offer you empathetic and supportive input on your situation. This would not only allow you to express yourself, but it would also steer you toward any additional support you might need.

Get Professional Help

As Wizeprep (2020) puts it, professional assistance is not just accessible to individuals with mental disorders or persistent problems. Psychologists are there to assist each and every one, from just listening to what you have to say to providing guidance and counsel to those who struggle with self-control. Everyone can benefit from therapy. They are there to assist you, so don't be hesitant to steer to get the assistance that is more appropriate for you.


O'Connor Professional Group. (2021). 10 Tips to Deal with Academic Stress | Teen Mental Health OPG.

Pascoe, M. C. (2019). The impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth.

Polstra, M. (2020). How to Support your Friends through School Stress. Wizeprep.

Student Stress 101: Understanding Academic Stress. (2021). The Jed Foundation.

Zhang, X., Gao, F., Kang, Z., Zhou, H., Zhang, J., Li, J., Yan, J., Wang, J., Liu, H., Wu, Q., & Liu, B. (2022). Perceived Academic Stress and Depression: The Mediation Role of Mobile Phone Addiction and Sleep Quality. Frontiers in Public Health, 10.

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