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Strategy for combating student stress

The return from the fall break means that students across Copenhagen will start working towards end of semester exams. With days spent locked away in libraries with heads in books, stress expert Thomas Milsted tells University Post that there are ways of conquering the difficult times ahead

Although we all have experienced stress in our lives, very few people actually understand it. Ahead of his university stress-depression seminars starting next week, former lecturer and now General Secretary of Stress Think Tank Thomas Milsted says that it is much more scientific than people often expect:

»Contrary to popular belief, stress is not a psychological phenomenon. It is a science that can be measured by the amount of stress hormones you produce, which then materialises as something linked to our emotions and feelings«, he says.

Stress is often linked to how we feel or act in the present, but it’s biological impact can start at a very early age. Studies suggest that people who have been through serious problems in childhood can suffer long after the event, generating more stress hormones than is normal. This known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Young females are the most prone to stress

The increasing interest in stress studies mean that counselling options have become more readily available. Much like depression counselling, Thomas says that people who are most likely to take stress therapy are young females:

»Young women are driven and very ambitious, but they are also wary of failure. The brain reacts to this mild fear by exaggerating it, turning the emotion into genuine anxiety, and further into stress«.

»It’s all about how you feel. If you are angry at a computer for not working properly, or how you would like it to, the brain convinces us that we are the problem. We take these issues personally and this causes stress«.

How to cure stress

Alongside counselling techniques including somatic psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Thomas believes that individuals suffering from stress can make gradual changes to their outlook on problems and difficult situations:

»It’s a question of being pragmatic. People need to expand their consciousness and realise that if you approach new situations with anxiety, you will, of course, be more prone to stress. Simply put, be positive, unafraid and try not to make too many long term, unrealistic goals«, he states.

Another key way of reducing your stress levels is through relaxation techniques. Thomas suggests that meditation is a key way for people to combat all forms of personal problems. He says:

»Meditation makes you more attune to your body, and studies have found that daily solo sessions will clear your head, focus, and let you make rational decisions rather than emotional ones«.

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