Doing Individual Analysis Helps to Avoid Academic Stress, Says Expert
If a situation or action is too much for you, it will be so difficult, tiring, or upsetting that you cannot cope with it. This was the submission of Dr. Olubukola Ajayi, the Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University.
While delivering a lecture with the topic, ‘Doing Too Much Means How Much? Tips for a Healthy Living in an Academic Environment’, Dr. Ajayi, who is a lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, said the major problem among undergraduates was that they had goals and targets, and in the course of achieving these goals and targets they encountered stress.
Stress, he said, was a psychological strain or distress resulting from exposure to unusual or demanding situations known as stressors, with some of the common types of stress being Time Stress (worry about time including academic time table for lectures and exams), Anticipatory Stress (worry about the future, which could be vague, e.g seminar presentation among students), Situational Stress (when you are in scary situation you have no control over), and Encounter Stress (this involve round people, worry about interacting with a or group of people).
Dr. Ajayi highlighted factors that could induce stress as situation or events that put pressure on one, like parental choice against students’ choice; one’s reaction to being placed under pressure; and personality. Stress, he noted, could cause mental health problems and mental health problems could also cause stress. Other risk factors, according to him, were death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, increase in financial obligation, getting married, moving to a new home, chronic illness or injury and emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem).
While stating that maintaining academic excellence was a big stress among undergraduates, the Guest Speaker urged students to do individual analysis to avoid academic stress. “Begin to search who you are and where you belong to. Your profession does not determine your success in life,” he said.
He enumerated signs that a person may be experiencing stress as poor judgement, difficulty in concentrating, lack of assertiveness, irritability, aggressiveness, depression, loss of sense of humor and breathlessness. Also listed were: eating too much or too little, smoking or drinking alcohol more than usual, restlessness (like you can’t sit still), being tearful or crying, to experience panic attack, muscle tension, blurred eyesight or sore eyes and grinding one’s teeth or clenching one’s jaw among others.
On what to do to cope with stress, Dr. Ajayi said that one should understand the cause (etiology), practice relaxation techniques, improve his/her diet, quit smoking, avoid alcohol, avoid caffeine consumption, do regular exercise, avoid regularly working long hours, design convenient time to read, look after oneself, confront the problem, find some distraction, express yourself and talk to one’s psychologist.