Experiencing some of the stress-related symptoms or answering "yes" to a few questions is normal. However, if you experience a large number of stress symptoms or you answered "yes" to a majority of the questions, you are likely experiencing a high level of stress. Take time out to develop effective stress-management techniques. Many coping strategies that can aid you in dealing with your college stressors are described in this chapter. Additionally, your school's counseling center can provide valuable support.
Symptoms of Excess Stress
Physical Symptoms Emotional Symptoms Behavioral Symptoms Dry mouth Anxiety or edginess Crying Excessive perspiration Depression Disrupted eating habits Frequent illnesses Fatigue Disrupted sleeping habits Gastrointestinal problems Hypervigilance Harsh treatment of others Grinding of teeth Impulsiveness Problems communicating Headaches Inability to concentrate Sexual problems High blood pressure Irritability Social isolation Pounding heart Trouble remembering things Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs Stiff neck or aching lower back
Weekly Stress Log
Now that you are familiar with the signals of stress, complete the weekly stress log below to map patterns in your stress levels and identify sources of stress. Enter a score for each hour of each day according to the ratings listed below the log.
1 = No anxiety; general feeling of well-being
2 = Mild anxiety; no interference with activity
3 = Moderate anxiety; specific signal(s) of stress present
4 = High anxiety; interference with activity
5 = Very high anxiety and panic reactions; general inability to engage in activity
To identify daily or weekly patterns in your stress level, look at the average of your hourly stress rating at the bottom of each column or your average daily stress rating at the end of each row. For example, if your scores for 6: 00 A.M. are 3, 3, 4, 3, and 4, with blanks for Saturday and Sunday, your 6: 00 A.M. rating will be 17 ÷ 5, or 3.4 (moderate to high anxiety). Finally, look at your average weekly stress score at the bottom right of the table. Your weekly average will give you a sense of your overall level of stress.
Identifying Sources of Stress
External stressors: List several people, places, or events that caused you a significant amount of discomfort this week.
Internal stressors: List any recurring thoughts or worries that produced feelings of discomfort this week.