Combat Stress and Anxiety by Focusing on Your College Education
There’s no shortage of stress in the world today. Between record unemployment, social unrest, and a raging global pandemic, a new source of anxiety is borne daily in 2020.
College might not be your first idea of a stress-relieving activity. Most of us have heard friends or family members complain about the anxiety associated with studying, writing papers and taking final exams. How could attending college possibly reduce stress?
The Good Kind of Stress
You may be surprised to learn that not all stress is of the harmful kind. Some psychologists describe stress as a burst of energy that advises you on what to do when you’re confronted with a challenging situation. It’s your body’s way of telling you that something must be done—something needs to change. That’s the kind of stress that’s most often associated with attending college. And as you’ll learn, working toward a rewarding career can greatly reduce your stress in the long term.
We might be tempted to suppress our stress with drugs or alcohol, binging on TV, or procrastinating about making bigger life decisions. These diversions may make you feel better in the short-term, but the stress always returns. That’s your body’s way of telling you that you can’t keep doing this forever. If you can relate with a stress that’s sustained, nagging, and unmotivating, it’s time to act.
Long Term Goals Can Help Reduce Stress
When you have a long term goal—like graduating from college—minor stress is actually useful. It tells us to do things like “review those notes,” or “get to class on time.” Without those reminders, you’ll struggle to achieve the greater goal. Learning to accept this type of stress is healthy, and it can lead you to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
Achieving Your Full Potential
A famous American psychologist named Abraham Maslow developed a theory called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—a pyramid-shaped diagram of all the needs that humans should work toward achieving. At the bottom are simple things like food, water and a place to live. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, a fancy way of saying ‘achieving your full potential.’
It’s impossible to guess your own full potential, but we know that setting and working toward long term goals is a crucial part of getting there. Ambitious goals aid in concentration, stress reduction, and allow us to accomplish more in life. When we achieve these goals, we move closer to becoming our ideal selves, or self-actualization.
Attending college can also provide perspective for some of life’s smaller stressors. With a steadfast focus on the future, daily anxieties just stop mattering as much as they used to. You may dislike your job, but knowing you’re working toward a fulfilling career can put your mind at ease. With your eye on the prize, the grind of balancing work, family and school begins to take on more meaning. Often, students find a burst of motivation to keep working hard toward their career goals, even when faced with daily stress.
College Grads Experience Less Stress
Research suggests that not only do college graduates stress less, but they also tend to lead healthier, more satisfied lives. And it’s easy to see why; higher education pushes students to think in new ways, make new connections and gain useful new skills. Accomplishing these tasks leads to greater stability in several forms:
- Financial Stability – College graduates make an average of $1 million more in their lifetime than those who attended high school only. They are also more likely to have the means to purchase a home.
- Career Satisfaction – 55% of college graduates reported being “very satisfied” with their careers, versus just 40% of non-graduates. If enjoying your career is important to you, you’re more likely to achieve it with a college degree or diploma.
- Confidence – Confidence stems from accepting yourself and believing in your abilities. What better way to develop skills and self-worth than completing training for the career you’ve always wanted?
Stop Stressing — Start Studying
The world is a stressful place, and that won’t change when the pandemic ends. But by establishing and working toward big life goals, like a college degree or diploma, your stress levels could greatly decline.
Whether your ambition is a bigger paycheck, a new skillset, or a career you can be proud of, IBMC College is the perfect place to start in northern Colorado. Visit your local campus for a stress-free tour today.